Unsecured Truck Loads can Cause Major Accidents
Trucks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and drivers who operate large commercial trucks generally have undergone significantly more training than those who drive pickups. Of course, all trucks have one thing in common: they carry cargo.
Unfortunately, our Charlotte truck accident attorneys see too many cases of accidents that were directly caused by that cargo. Anyone who operates a truck needs to know how to properly secure their loads, and motorists who share the roads are advised to learn how to recognize and avoid potential cargo-related accidents.
Smaller Trucks Pose a Significant Risk to Other NC Motorists
Commercial semi tractor-trailers pose a major risk to motorists when their trailers swing into other lanes or suddenly block roads during jackknife accidents. Recognizing the risks, federal and state legislation impose strict regulations to help ensure that their loads are well-balanced and properly secured. A recent report by ABC11 News indicates that NC law may not be taking issues of unsecured loads in smaller trucks seriously enough.
According to that report, falling debris caused about 2,500 accidents over a five-year period. Even though more than 4,400 tickets were issued during that same period, North Carolina penalties for unsecured cargo are among the lowest in the nation. In fact, an instructional brochure produced by the North Carolina Department of Transportation appears to view unsecured loads more as a litter problem than a safety issue.
Recognizing Unsecured Loads Can Help Prevent Accidents
Any heavy object flying off of a truck can crash through other motorists’ windows at high speeds, causing serious injuries or fatalities. In fact, even relatively small objects hitting windshields can startle drivers enough to cause them to lose control of their vehicles. The best way to handle accidents like these is to avoid them. Look for the following signs of potential dangers and take action to help make every trip a bit safer:
- Overloaded cargo: If cargo is clearly visible over the back gate of a pickup truck or extends over the sides, assume that it can fall out.
- No covers or tie-downs: Even items on truck bed floors can pose risks. The wind can easily catch a few bags of groceries and send them flying, and the heaviest mattress can become airborne when it is improperly secured within the truck.
- Loose tarps: Covered loads are generally safe unless the wind can dislodge them, releasing cargo — or even causing a flying tarp to become a major hazard when it hits the windshield of the following vehicle. When motorists see signs that covers are flapping significantly in the wind, they should make an effort to get out of the way.
Victims whose injuries were caused by flying debris need to understand that these claims often require extensive evidence that proves that the debris was the proximate cause of the accident. In some cases, insurance companies and defense attorneys can attempt to hold victims responsible when they lose control over their vehicles.
These accidents often require help from an NC truck accident lawyer with the skills and resources needed to thoroughly investigate all the details. To get the full support you need, call us at 800-948-0577 or use our convenient online contact form.