What is a Truck Driver’s Duty to Secure its Load?

There are circumstances when even a property secured load may require escort vehicles as an additional extra precaution. A commercial truck operator is responsible for many things when they get behind the wheel of their big-rig. One of their most important duties is to make sure and secure their vehicle’s load properly. A truck’s load that shifts in transit may not only damage the cargo, but even worse, can result in an uneven weight distribution making the vehicle unsafe for operation. Statistics show that shifting loads are a contributing factor in almost one-third of all commercial motor vehicle crashes and jack-knifes.

Truckers Have a Responsibility to Secure their Load

Both truckers and the companies they work for have a responsibility to make sure the load on or in their trucks are properly secured.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that a maximum legal load can only be achieved by properly distributing the center of the cargo’s gravity ahead of the rear axle. If the cargo is not blocked and braced properly, it can shift during transit.  A side-heavy or top-heavy load on or in a truck navigating a turn can cause the truck to roll. Additionally, a load that dislodges from the tractor-trailer on a public highway in heavy traffic can cause multiple vehicle pile-ups; injuries and even death.

Extremely heavy loads, such as stone, salt, soil, granite, or tile should be transported on a specific type of a chassis known as a tri-axle to properly ensure weight distribution and the added support of a third rear axle. The third axle allows the trailers carrying capacity to increase from a gross total of 80,000 pounds to the new weight limits of 20,000 per axle and 34,000 pounds per tandem axle. In most transportation situations, a combination of blocks, chains, and tie-downs should be used together to secure a trucks cargo.

Put Experience on Your Side

If you are involved in a wreck with a commercial truck, do not try to handle all the legal issues involving such an accident on your own.  Contact NYC truck accident lawyer, Michael J. Redenburg at 212-240-9465.