The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has passed regulations applicable to truck drivers throughout the United States, including Ohio. Among the many regulations are very strict rules relating to how cargo must be loaded, how cargo must be secured, and how much a load of cargo can weigh.
All of these federal rules can help to prevent truck accidents from happening by providing steps for truckers and trucking companies to follow in order to ensure safe vehicle loading.
If a trucking company or driver does not follow FMCSA rules, this failure to follow safety regulations could create a presumption the truck driver behaved in a negligent way. This would mean a collision victim would be able to get compensation from the truck crash solely by proving that this negligence was the direct cause of the accident.
How Do Federal Rules on Cargo Loading Help to Prevent Truck Accidents?
FMCSA's best practices for cargo loading can be found in a handbook on cargo that runs for 13 full chapters. The big bulk of the rules relate to exactly how much cargo can be transported and how that cargo has to be kept secure.
All of the federal rules on how trucks are loaded exist for a reason: because it has been determined that if a truck is not loaded properly or if a truck is overloaded, a significant risk of collision is created. In fact, Trucking Info describes cargo loading problems as a major contributing cause of motor vehicle crashes involving trucks.
To help prevent collisions, FMCSA's rules focus primarily on two particular issues related to cargo loading: how cargo is secured so it does not fall and what steps to take to make sure cargo does not shift or move around as a trucker is driving.
The purpose of the rules that aim to keep cargo from falling off a truck is quite obvious. If items simply start falling off the backs of trucks, especially if those trucks are traveling on highways, there is a good chance those items will hit something or someone and cause an accident to happen.
Rules to keep cargo from shifting around are also important as well. If cargo is not packed into a truck tightly enough that it cannot move, or if cargo is not tied down, strapped down, or somehow prevented from sliding around when the trucker is driving, the cargo could suddenly shift to one side or the other and unbalance the truck. This could cause a trucker to lose control and could lead to a rollover accident. The Association for the Advantage of Automotive Medicine indicates that problems with cargo are one of the leading causes of rollovers, so the rules on keeping cargo secure are not to be taken lightly. Stopping cargo from moving around could literally save lives, and truck drivers and trucking companies must follow the rules to keep cargo secure.