Incorrect Cargo Handling on Tractor Trailer

Improper cargo securement cases are a frequent cause of serious highway accidents. Changes in speed or direction can affect improperly secured loaded cargo to move and lead to potentially catastrophic consequences. The failure to properly secure cargo can also lead to highway spills which leaves debris that causes accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates very specific laws regarding cargo containment. This article outlines the requirements of cargo shipment and the consequences of cargo securement failure.

Requirements for Cargo Securement

Cargo securement rules apply to a variety vehicles including trucks, tractor trailers, semitrailers, and full trailers. In addition to regulations established by the FMCSA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, and the Texas Department of Transportation make rules governing cargo transportation. While numerous regulations exist concerning cargo securement, here are some of the primary laws that dictate the transportation of cargo:

  • Control. The use of damage or weakened components to secure cargo is prohibited.
  • Inspect. Drivers are required to inspect containment devices “within the first fifty miles after beginning a trip” and make any required adjustments.
  • Load Limits. Various load limits exist for tie downs and other securement devices.
  • Materials. There are certain types of materials including logs, coils, and pipe that require certain types of confinement.
  • Maintenance. The various components of a vehicle must be properly maintained to ensure that cargo does not become weak or damaged during transportation.
  • Speed. Cargo must be secured to withstand certain speeds. Securement devices also must be secure enough to remain in place and properly contain shipment while a vehicle is in motion.
  • Shifting. Cargo loads must be “contained, immobilized, or secure” to prevent shifting that would affect the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability.
  • Weight Limits. Various weight limits based on the type of cargo being transported.

In addition these requirements, to avoid potential accidents that could lead to legal ramifications, it is recommended that trucking companies take additional steps to secure cargo. The analysis of a licensed engineer who can determine the logistics of shifting cargo might also be a good idea. It might also be a wise idea to employ the services of a securement expert like a former truck driver.

The Consequences of Improper Cargo Securement

Regulations concerning proper cargo containment help to keep drivers safe. These regulations have greatly helped to reduce the number of automobile accidents. When accidents do occur, the responsibility usually lies on the motor carrier and driver rather than the shipper. If a legal case does occur, the court will likely review evidence including driving logs.

When improper containment accidents occur, you have the right to an attorney who will ensure that you can construct the strongest case possible. If you or a loved one has been injured by in a cargo securement accident, contact our law firm. Call 409-838-1000 or email our lawyers to schedule your free initial consultation.