How Cargo Loading Errors Cause 18-Wheeler Accidents
Each year, commercial trucks carrying cargo ranging from retail goods to heavy equipment travel billions of miles across Texas and around the country. To avoid accidents, this cargo must be properly secured, and trucking and shipping companies are subject to strict federal standards that impose weight limits and other restrictions in order to reduce the risk of dangerous collisions on the road. When they make mistakes, the consequences can be devastating, and those who suffer injuries and lose loved ones deserve to be fairly compensated.
Types of Cargo Loading Errors
Sadly, cargo loading errors are an all-too-common occurrence. From rushing to meet deadlines to failing to understand the principles of safe cargo loading, there are numerous issues that can cause a truck to hit the road with a load that is unsecure. Some of the most common types of commercial truck cargo loading errors include:
- Allowing cargo to shift during transport
- Exceeding the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVRW)
- Failing to properly pressurize liquid or gaseous cargo
- Failing to properly balance the truck’s load side-to-side or front-to-back
- Using defective, worn or torn cargo straps, or securing tie-downs improperly
Types of Truck Accidents Caused by Unsecure Cargo
These and other cargo loading errors can cause accidents in a variety of different ways. At highway speeds, harsh braking, swerving, skidding and other sudden changes in a truck’s trajectory can create a high likelihood of an accident even with properly-secured cargo. When a truck’s cargo shifts or comes lose, the risk of serious and fatal injuries increases substantially. Cargo loading errors can cause and contribute to accidents including:
- Cargo Collisions and Spills – When a truck loses its cargo, the consequences can be disastrous. Lose items and debris on the roadway can create extreme risks for other motorists, as can spills of water, gasoline and toxic substances.
- Jackknifes – Jackknife accidents occur when a trailer’s rate of travel exceeds that of the tractor (or truck cab). These accidents most often occur under harsh braking, and when a trailer is overloaded with cargo or its cargo is not properly balanced and secured, the result is often a jackknife accident.
- Rear-End Collisions – Rear-end collisions can occur when a truck driver is unable to stop an overloaded truck. As with jackknife accidents, rear-end collisions involving commercial trucks often result from a combination of cargo loading and truck driver errors (such as driving distracted or following too closely).
- Rollovers – Loading errors can also increase an 18-wheeler’s chances of rolling over. Rollovers can result from overloading, shifting cargo, sloshing liquid cargo and a variety of other cargo-related factors.
- Tire Blowouts – Like commercial trucks, tires are only designed to withstand a certain amount of load. If a truck is overloaded, this increases the chances that its tires will fail and cause the truck driver to lose control.
Speak with an 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident involving an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation about your legal rights. To speak with an attorney at our offices in Houston, please call (800) 489-2216 or send us your information online today.