Truck Accidents and Unsecured CargoHeavy trucks play an essential role in transporting goods across the country, and trucking companies and drivers have a responsibility to ensure that these goods or materials are adequately secured in the truck to keep other motorists safe. Most of us have had an uneasy feeling when driving behind a heavily loaded truck.
As drivers and passengers on the road, we want to trust that truck loads are safely and properly secured. But this isn’t always the case. AAA performed a study of commercial and personal vehicles that found that more than 200,000 accidents occurred over four years as the result of road debris. Unsecured cargo can cause anything from dings or dents in a vehicle to serious injuries.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extensive rules for drivers and trucking companies on how to properly secure loads. The specific requirements depend on the type of cargo that is being transported. Under the regulations, cargo must be secured so that it does not:

  • Leak or Spill—materials on the road can cause hazardous driving conditions and result in accidents. Chemicals or other hazardous materials can be flammable and possibly cause an explosion on the road.
  • Blow off or fall from the vehicle—cargo falling off a truck has the potential to strike another vehicle causing serious injury or fall into the road where a driver has to swerve to avoid it which can cause multi-vehicle accidents.
  • Shift upon or within the vehicle— the excessive shifting of cargo in a truck can lead to instability and affect the maneuverability of the vehicle. This can lead to a truck rollover.

New York Law
Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 380-a, trucks transporting loose cargo such as rocks or gravel are required to have some kind of cover or tarpaulin over the open part of the truck to prevent any substances from falling out of the truck. This law protects others on the road from flying rocks and other loose debris.
Who is Responsible for Unsecured Cargo?
Parties who may be liable for accidents involving unsecured cargo include:

  • The truck driver who has a responsibility to inspect a load before driving.
  • The driver’s employer who is responsible for properly training the driver and is bound by federal regulation.
  • The manufacturer of the truck who has a responsibility to ensure that there is nothing wrong with the truck that would prevent a load from being adequately secured.
  • Companies involved in the distribution chain who have a duty to load and secure the cargo properly.

Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you’ve been injured as the result of unsecured cargo, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español