You know it can be scary to drive around large commercial trucks. Whether you are on the city streets or the highway, these monstrous vehicles can be daunting. If you get into an accident with one, you could suffer catastrophic injuries and even death. Truck accidents can happen for various reasons, but one of the most dangerous is improper loading.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict rules regarding cargo securement and loading. These rules are not only designed to keep cargo secure but also to prevent dangerous collisions. Keep reading for details on FMCSA rules and how improper loading can cause accidents.
FMCSA laws and regulations include:
● Trucks must secure cargo with proper materials, such as tiedowns, shoring bars or dunnage.
● Trucks must secure cargo that might roll with chocks, wedges or cradles.
● Trucks must use a minimum number of tiedowns according to the weight and length of cargo items.
● If cargo extends beyond the rear or sides of the truck, there must be multiple warnings and colored lights indicating an oversized load.
The FMCSA developed these rules after multiple years of research on cargo regulations, motor carrier practices and recommendations by industry experts.
How accidents happen
When truck drivers do not follow these rules, there are multiple dangerous scenarios. For example, an overloaded truck may experience mechanical failures. If there is uneven distribution of a load to one side or it causes the truck to be top-heavy, the truck may tip over when turning or changing lanes. Improper securement may cause cargo to move around, leading to a change in weight distribution that affects the way the tractor-trailer handles.
Trucking companies and drivers are responsible for knowing and following these rules. Violating these regulations can have disastrous effects. If you notice an oversized load, uncovered cargo or insufficient tiedowns on a truck, be careful and practice defensive driving techniques.