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Safe Loading Of Heavy Trucks And 18-Wheelers

The experienced Tuscaloosa 18-wheeler wreck lawyers at Cross & Smith know that proper loading and securing of cargo transported by commercial carriers is a vitally important part of trucking safety.

Large trucks and tractor trailers are charged with the responsibility of carrying large loads of cargo across state and federal highways on a daily basis. The materials carried by large trucks and tractor trailers must be properly and safely loaded onto the trucks and trailers. Otherwise, the load creates a risk of danger that can result in the driver losing control and causing a horrific crash.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations contain detailed and specific rules regarding safe loading of commercial carriers. The cargo must be properly distributed and adequately secured to avoid load shifting during transport. In addition, the truck’s equipment must also be secured and the cargo must not block or obscure the driver’s vision, interfere with the driver’s movement, prevent the driver’s access to accessories required for emergencies or prevent the exit of any person from the cab.

The cargo must be loaded and secured in a manner that prevents it from leaking, spilling, blowing or falling from the truck or trailer. The cargo must also be loaded in a manner so that it prevents the cargo from shifting to such an extent that it adversely affects the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability.

Moreover, cargo must be secured in a manner to meet certain requirements imposed by the federal regulations. The devices used to secure cargo must be capable of withstanding three forces of movement, including a certain amount of deceleration in the forward direction, acceleration in the rearward direction and acceleration in a lateral direction. The devices used must also provide a downward force equivalent to at least twenty percent (20%) of the weight of the cargo if the cargo is not fully contained within the structure of the vehicle. If the load is capable of being stored within the confines of the vehicle, it must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage or dunnage bags, shoring bars, tie downs or a combination of these devices. The devices used to secure the cargo and the components of the vehicle used to secure cargo must be in proper working order with no damage that would affect performance.

The federal regulations also contain general and specific load tie down requirements. The general rules govern all types of cargo except commodities in bulk that lack structure or fixed shape commodities, such as liquids, gravel, gases, grain, and liquid concrete, and are carried in a tank, hopper, box or similar device that forms part of the structure of the vehicle. As a general rule, the cargo must be properly distributed and adequately secured, and must not obscure the driver’s view. It must be tightly secured using vehicle structures and appropriate securing devices. Any cargo that is likely to roll must be held in place by chocks, wedges, a cradle or equivalent device. Cargo loaded in a manner that places it side by side or next to each other and secured by tie downs must either be loaded in direct contact or prevented from shifting while being transported.

The length of the cargo secured determines the number of tie downs required to secure it while in transport. The minimum requirements are if an article is not blocked or positioned by a header board, bulkhead, other cargo or other appropriate blocking devices, it should be secured as follows: One tie down for items five feet or less in length and one thousand one hundred (1,100) pounds or less in weight; two tie downs if the item is five feet or less in length and more than one thousand one hundred (1,100) pounds in weight or longer than five (5) feet, but less than ten (10) feet regardless of weight; and two tie downs if the item is longer than ten feet, and one additional tie down for every ten feet of article length, or fraction thereof, beyond the first ten feet.

The federal regulations also contain specific rules for the loading and transport of certain items, including vehicles, equipment and machinery, rolls of paper, logs, lift containers, demolished vehicles, lumber products, concrete pipe, boulders, metal coils and intermodal containers.

If you, or someone close to you, have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer or 18 wheeler, please call the experienced Alabama truck accident and 18 wheeler accident lawyers at Cross & Smith. The attorneys at Cross & Smith have represented individuals and families in truck accident cases in Tuscaloosa and throughout Alabama. You may contact us online or call our office at (877) 791-0618 for a free confidential consultation.

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"After my husband was injured in a burn accident at work, we felt the accident could have been avoided. I was not sure where to start, but after careful research, we met with Justin Smith and shared our experience. From day one, we felt we were in good hands. Justin and Dell explained everything and kept us informed from start to finish. It was a complicated case that took an outside the box approach. Both Justin and Dell made us feel like part of the team."