You were sure that the semi driver who hit you had been on the road too long. You have read so many news articles about tired truckers, and he was swerving and drifting in and out of the lanes—that means he had momentarily lost control because he fell asleep, right?
Maybe not. In some cases, swerving and drifting isn’t the fault of the driver, but rather the cargo shifting from side to side in the trailer. This swaying creates a fishtail effect that is hard to control—and may swing the trailer into vehicles alongside before the danger can be corrected.
Poorly Loaded Trucks Can Cause Dangerous and Illegal Accidents
There are many laws and regulations in place to prevent accidents caused by improperly loaded trailers. This includes prohibiting overloading a vehicle beyond its weight capacity, as well as making sure the load is properly secured and balanced so that it will not shift during the journey.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the driver of a semi-truck is primarily responsible for a poorly loaded vehicle. In fact, FMCSA prohibits drivers from operating a commercial motor vehicle unless:
- The commercial vehicle’s cargo has been evenly distributed and properly secured.
- The vehicle’s doors, tailgate, tailboard, tarps, ropes, spare tire, and any other equipment used to fasten the vehicle’s cargo are secured.
- All cargo and other objects do not obscure the driver’s view in any direction, interfere with the movement of his arms or legs, prevent him from taking action in an emergency, or prevent him from making a ready exit from the driver’s compartment.
Loading Companies and Carriers Can Also Be Responsible for Your Crash
It’s not just the driver who can be held liable for a crash. All parties who are involved with the loading, maintenance, and transporting of commercial goods are responsible if a badly loaded truck causes an accident. A driver who has not been properly trained in loading a vehicle may share liability with his employer. A loading company must secure cargo so that it will not shift or affect maneuverability, but also load it in a way that will prevent cargo from falling, spilling, blowing, or leaking from the vehicle.
In many cases, multiple parties can be held liable for the costs of an injury and loss of a victim’s working ability. To find out who could be responsible for paying your medical bills and your vehicle repairs, contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111.