WGN reported in March, 2018 that a beer truck spilled 60,000 pounds of Busch beer when it overturned on Interstate 10 in Okaloosa County. According to the report, a South Carolina driver veered outside his traffic lane. The truck flipped over on its passenger side. The driver was cited for careless driving.
Why truck cargo spills are so dangerous
Trucks are more likely to cause deaths and catastrophic injuries because their size, weight, and dimensions are no match for other vehicles. They are more likely to overturn because of the location of their center of gravity. Trucks are also more difficult to control. Only experienced drivers with proper training are permitted to drive commercial rigs, semis, and 18-wheelers.
Secured cargo adds to traffic dangers because it adds extra weight to the truck. This excess weight puts more pressure on truck tires, makes it more difficult to brake the truck, and makes it harder to steer the truck. Unsecured cargo adds to control risks because the driver can’t account for the shifting movements of the cargo every time it takes a curve or goes up or down a hill.
When cargo spills from trucks, accidents can happen for the following reasons:
- The release of the cargo can cause the truck to flip over or jackknife.
- The spilled cargo can fly into the windshields and the front, rear, and sides of vehicles nearby.
- Cars that try to avoid the spilled cargo may veer into oncoming lanes of traffic, veer off the side of the road, or strike other vehicles.
- Vehicles may run over the cargo which can cause an accident.
- Multiple-vehicle crashes are very likely – as many cars in all lanes of traffic swerve and collide.
Spilled cargo usually means that police will need to stop traffic or redirect traffic. This delay can inconvenience other drivers for hours.
Trucking companies and drivers have a duty to make sure their cargo is properly secured. Security precautions should follow the secure cargo requirements set forth in the FMCSA handbook. Some of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requirements include:
- Choosing the right blocking, bracing, and securement systems. These systems include:
- Various types of rope such as synthetic or wire rope
- Grab hooks
- Synthetic webbing
- Friction mats
- Using structures and anchor points that are strong enough to withstand specific force amounts
- Proper use of tiedowns
- Securing the cargo for three phases – loading, transportation, and unloading
Trucking companies also need to understand the federal weight and mass limits for their specific type of commercial truck.
When truck businesses and truck drivers fail to use precaution in securing cargo or driving with cargo, they should be held accountable for the devastating injuries and tragic deaths they cause. If you or someone you love was injured because of a cargo spill, you need the help of the respected Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers at Yeboah Law Group. For help now, please phone us at (800) TELL-SAM. You can also schedule an appointment by filling out our contact form.