Truck Accident Causes: Loads that Shift Weight
Maintaining control of a truck is difficult when the weight of a load is
not evenly distributed within the trailer. This can especially be a problem
when transporting livestock or tanks of liquid, as they have a tendency
to move around when the truck turns. Trucks with uneven weight distribution
have a greater risk of causing accidents because they present braking
and maneuverability difficulties, making them more prone to tipping and rollover.
Why is Proper Weight Distribution Important?
The weight carried within a trailer must be distributed evenly across all
of the trailer’s axles and with respect to the truck’s center
of gravity. Using the see-saw principle, truck drivers must ensure that
the weight located in both ends and both sides of the trailer is equal
so that the trailer stays balanced. This also prevents damage to the axles
and tires. The maximum amount of weight an axle can hold depends on its
location on the trailer, but Federal laws limit the maximum weight to
20,000 pounds for a single axle, 34,000 pounds for tandem axles, and 80,000
pounds for the entire weight of the vehicle.
Federal Cargo Securement Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published new cargo
securement rules in September of 2002 for interstate commerce motor carriers.
These rules require motor carriers to change the way they use cargo securement
devices to prevent articles from unsafely shifting within trailers. Motor
carriers may be required to increase the number of tie-downs used to secure
certain types of cargo. Cargo securement systems must be able to withstand
performance criterions concerning deceleration in the forward direction
and acceleration in the lateral and rearward directions. The intent of
the new requirements is to reduce the number of accidents caused by cargo
shifting on or within, or falling from, commercial motor vehicles.
Truck drivers must ensure that cargo is firmly immobilized or secured in
the trailer by using tie downs, dunnage (loose materials used to protect
and support cargo) or dunnage bags (inflatable bags intended to fill space
between articles of cargo or between cargo and the wall of the vehicle)
of appropriate strength, shoring bars, or a combination of these securements.
Have you been involved in a truck accident in San Francisco? Contact Scarlett
Law Group today at (415) 688-2176 for a
free case evaluation.