When you’re driving on SH 358 and see a tractor trailer pull up next to you, do you feel confident that the cargo inside is properly secured? Do you trust that the items on the bed were loaded with balance in mind? Chances are, you’ve never given any thought to the safety of a tractor trailer’s contents, but the truth is, you probably should.
Possible Cargo Dangers
You’d be hard-pressed to take a ride on any given day and not see a tractor trailer sharing the road with you. These large trucks are loaded with thousands of pounds of cargo that can cause dangerous and life-threatening accidents and injuries if the items aren’t securely loaded or are improperly balanced. In fact, dangerous cargo is one of the many causes of truck accidents for a variety of reasons, including the following:
- Cargo that is stacked too high. You’ve likely seen a flatbed truck that is piled high with cargo such as wood, metal, and even vehicles. You may have wondered why some trucks you’ve traveled near have so much merchandise stacked on their beds. The answer is simple: to save money. Trucking companies will load as much cargo as they can in order to limit the number of trips it takes to complete a haul. Doing so saves money on gas, driver pay, time, and vehicle maintenance. Cargo that is stacked too high can fall over if the driver has to come to a quick stop. That cargo could fall on vehicles around the truck or create the perfect scenario for an accident to occur.
- Spilled cargo. Tractor trailers haul a variety of cargo, including liquids that are flammable or hazardous. If not properly secured, the containers that hold the liquids could fall either on the truck itself or on the road and leak. The spillage could create slippery conditions for other drivers and create accidents. To make matters worse, the liquid could catch fire, creating even more serious, or possibly even fatal, injuries for those involved.
- Improperly loaded cargo. Drivers of pickup trucks can attest to the fact that when their beds contain items that are improperly balanced, driving can become difficult. Turns take more of an effort and abrupt stops can mean damage. The same can be said for tractor trailers. Cargo that isn’t evenly distributed can make turning safely impossible, resulting in rollovers and potentially life-threatening accidents.
How Faulty Equipment Can Play a Role
Truck maintenance is vital to the safety of those on the road, but taking care of a fleet of vehicles is expensive. Trucks that are on the road constantly incur high amounts of wear and tear and need new tires, brakes, and other equipment quite often. Unfortunately, trucking companies don’t always provide the proper maintenance they should, and allow unsafe trucks to haul large amounts of cargo. As you can imagine, these issues can cause serious accidents.
- Faulty cargo securement. Truck drivers rely on a few different types of cargo securement to keep their hauls in place. Tie-downs, webbing, and steel straps are all used to secure heavy items such as boxes, wooden logs, and barrels. A lot rides on the assumption that these securement devices are in good condition and able to perform. If they are faulty, cargo can become loose and fall or fly off of the bed.
- Bad tires and brakes. Tires and brakes work hard on all vehicles, but especially on tractor trailers. They are put to the test every day and log in long hours. As such, the large amount of wear and tear they incur on a daily basis requires constant maintenance. Large and improperly loaded cargo can also cause damage to these items. Loads that are often too heavy on one side can create weaknesses in the tires and brakes on that side, which can become evident when turning or braking abruptly.
Don’t Pay the Price for Truck Driver Negligence
You’re not the only person who relies on a truck driver to properly load the cargo that is carried in his truck. Unfortunately, all the trust in the world won’t prevent you from becoming the victim of an accident. Trusting your insurance company to take care of you in the event of an accident can also lead to disappointment. The attorneys of Wayne Wright, however, will do everything they can to get you the settlement you deserve. Speak to an attorney about your situation by calling 800-237-3334 and find out what you are entitled to.