Without commercial trucks and their drivers, the economy would grind to a halt. After all, prompt delivery of goods is necessary for individuals, families and businesses. Still, if a commercial truck driver does not properly secure his or her cargo, your life may be at risk.
While reliable statistics are hard to come by, some estimates put the number of cargo-related accidents in the United States at more than 200,000 per year. Unfortunately, falling cargo may eventually hit your vehicle. If that happens, you may be able to pursue reasonable compensation from the truck driver who either intentionally or negligently failed to secure the load.
When properly loaded, some semi-trucks can carry thousands of pounds of cargo. Some items, of course, are sharp or heavy. Even light items, though, may pose an extreme risk if they directly collide with your vehicle. For example, a 15-pound object traveling with the truck at 65 miles per hour is likely to have an impact force of more than 1,200 pounds. Accordingly, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict requirements for securing cargo.
An unsecured object does not have to hit your vehicle directly to be a risk. On the contrary, if cargo winds up in a driving lane, you may not see it until it is too late to take evasive action. Similarly, you may swerve suddenly, causing your vehicle to lose control. Either way, you may sustain serious injuries from road debris.
While commercial drivers have an obligation to secure their loads, the nature of trucking sometimes makes doing so difficult. For example, truckers often must meet tight pickup and delivery times. They may also run into mandatory rest periods that prohibit working. Regardless, hitting the road without first securing cargo is never acceptable.
Because trucks are essential to the modern economy, you likely encounter a few of them every time you drive. Nonetheless, a collision with unsecured cargo may cause you to sustain significant injuries. Understanding the trucker’s obligation may be the first step in ensuring you recover completely.