Truck Accidents Caused By Unsecured/Overloaded Cargo
By Lynn Fugaro, Staff Writer
Truck accidents are serious business, and considering there are millions of motorists on American roadways every day, it’s not terribly surprising that in 2016, 3,986 people died in large truck crashes with only 17% of those deaths being the truck driver, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).
Of the almost 4,000 people killed in truck accidents in 2016, 66% were occupants of cars and 16% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 27% higher in 2016 than in 2009, which saw the lowest number of truck accident fatalities since fatal crash data began being collected in 1975.
There are many causes of truck accident in the United States:
- Driver error due to insufficient training
- Driver fatigue
- Substance use while driving
- Drowsy driving
- Dangerous and defective roadways
- Distracted driving
- Bad weather
- Poor truck maintenance
- Equipment failure
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is unsecured/overloaded cargo. Overloaded trucks and trucks with cargo problems are responsible for a large number of truck accidents each year. Unsecured cargo can caused damage to other cars on the road when pieces of cargo fall off of the truck and hit vehicles; this can also cause cars to lose control and crash. Injuries from accidents caused by overloaded trucks or trucks with unsecured cargo can be serious resulting in catastrophic injuries and deaths.
Overloaded Semi Trucks
Overloaded trucks are difficult to operate safely, and they are prone to jackknifing, delays in braking, and other factors that make them unsafe for motorists. Legal limits are set on the weight of cargo for trucks, but when a trucking company (or truck driver) fails to adhere to legal limits, they may be liable for injuries or damage that result from the overloaded cargo.
If a truck is overloaded with cargo, it may have mechanical issues because of the extra weight, and mechanical failures could cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Even if the weight does not lead to a complete mechanical failure, the extra weight could still make it difficult stop the truck in time using the braking system. A truck that exceeds the legal weight limit could also be difficult to control when the driver is traveling on an incline. Gravity could pull the truck forward, causing it to collide with another vehicle on the road.
Even cargo that makes the weight limit can be dangerous if it’s not secured properly. Unsecured cargo could easily topple over at some point during the trip, creating a loud noise that could startle the driver and cause him to swerve and lose control of his rig. Unsecured cargo could also affect the distribution of the weight if it begins to shift around. If too much cargo falls to one side, then the truck may flip over the next time the driver turns or changes lanes.
Unsecured cargo could also cause injuries or fatalities if it begins to fly off of the back of the truck. Drivers may not have time to swerve out of the way to avoid cargo that is heading in their direction. If the loose cargo doesn’t hit a vehicle, it could land in the middle of a busy highway and cause a horrifying chain reaction collision that could kill several unsuspecting drivers and their passengers.
If you’ve been injured or a loved one has been killed in a truck accident due to improperly secured cargo or due to overloaded cargo, please contact a truck accident attorney in your area today to schedule a free consultation.