Driving next to a semi-truck can be daunting, and for good reason. These massive vehicles can turn deadly when driven improperly. Yet, it is not just how a truck is driven that can cause a devastating truck accident, as how a truck is maintained and how cargo is secured can also play a role in safety. Additionally, these matters, when improperly handled, can serve as the foundation of a personal injury lawsuit.
So, what are the cargo securement rules for big rigs? It depends on the cargo being secured. Generally speaking, though, cargo must be secured by tiedowns, blocks, or another restraining device. These methods of securement must firmly immobilize the cargo, and the truck bed most be large enough to hold the cargo in question. For cargo susceptible to rolling, chocks, wedges, and/or cradles must be used, and these devices must not be able to become loose during transit.
Specifically speaking, more or less restraining devices may need to be used depending on the cargo's weight and length. For example, cargo that is shorter than five feet in length and weighing less than 1,100 pounds can be secured by one tiedown. However, if the cargo is between five and 10 feet in length, or if it is shorter than five feet but weighs more than 1,100 pounds, then two tiedowns must be used. An additional tiedown must be utilized for every 10 feet of cargo length thereafter.
Why is this important information? It is critical for those who have been harmed in a truck accident caused by loose cargo because any violation of these regulations may be evidence of negligence not only on behalf of the trucker, but also by the truck company. Getting to the bottom of these issues can be tricky, though, often requiring extensive legal know-how. Therefore, those considering pursuing a personal injury due to a commercial vehicle accident should consider discussing the matter with a qualified legal professional.
Source: FMCSA, "Cargo Securement Rules," accessed on May 27, 2017