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Commercial Vehicles and Spilled Cargo

Commercial Vehicles and Spilled Cargo

Late last year, a collision between a box truck and a semi-truck in South Bend caused most of the westbound lanes of the Indiana Toll Road to close down after the semi-truck’s cargo of coffee pods spilled onto the road. Although one person was initially trapped in his vehicle as a result of the accident and the freeway was closed for a number of hours while crews attempted to clean up the road, no one sustained serious injuries. Unfortunately, most truck accidents and subsequent cargo spills have much more dangerous consequences for both the drivers involved and anyone else on the road, as commercial vehicles transport a range of dangerous products, ranging from gasoline to freight containers. When these products become dislodged and spill onto the road, it puts everyone at risk. Cargo spills often cause multi-car pile-ups, which can have deadly consequences for those who are involved, especially if the materials in question are flammable.

If you were injured in an accident when a commercial vehicle’s cargo spilled onto the roadway, you may be entitled to compensation from the trucking company. Please contact a qualified Rolling Meadows truck accident attorney who can help you collect compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.

Properly Securing Cargo

Commercial trucks are integral to the process of shipping cargo across the country. However, because these trucks are so large, and when carrying cargo are especially dangerous to others on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires trucking companies and drivers to comply with specific safety regulations when it comes to loading and unloading cargo. For instance, all cargo must be immobilized on a truck with straps, ropes, tarps, shoring bars, or tie-downs. In fact, the number of restraints that trucking companies must use is also dictated by federal law and depends on the type and size of the cargo. Generally, the longer and heavier cargo is, the more tie-downs must be used to secure it. In some cases, drivers are also required to use edge protection to ensure that straps do not become frayed or tear or to use wedges, cradles, or chocks to prevent cargo that is likely to roll from shifting during transit.

Unfortunately, even when cargo has been properly loaded, it can still come loose during an accident, especially if the truck carrying it rolls over. For these reasons, the FMCSA also put special rules in place for securing cargo that is considered dangerous, which includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Boulders;
  • Building materials, such as lumber;
  • Concrete pipes;
  • Freight containers;
  • Heavy equipment and machinery that weighs more than 10,000 pounds individually;
  • Logs;
  • Metal coils and paper rolls that weight more than 5,000 pounds; and
  • Vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds each.

When a truck is carrying this type of cargo, drivers are often restricted from using certain roads and must comply with additional loading procedures, which could include regular stops to check the stability of the products. Similarly, drivers who transport hazardous chemicals must place signs on the exterior of their vehicles to warn other drivers of their contents, must monitor the materials according to a specific schedule, and must use certain routes to reach their destination.

Because drivers, cargo loaders, and trucking companies are required by federal law to comply with these rules, those who fail to do so can be held liable for resulting accidents.

Get the Legal Representation You Deserve

To speak with an experienced Rolling Meadows truck accident attorney about your own case, please call the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 today.

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