The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) announced that it will focus on cargo securement during its inspections in 2017. These inspections are designed to help ensure that trucks hauling freight throughout the country are operating safely. If a violation is found, the trucker may receive a fine and be required to fix the issue.
What are cargo securement rules? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has various regulations in place that are designed to help better ensure the safety of the nation's roadways. One niche area of regulations involves how cargo is secured within commercial trucks.
Essentially, these rules are designed to reduce the risk of cargo shifting within the vehicle while it is transported. Shifting cargo can increase the risk of a driver losing control of his or her vehicle.
What are some examples of rules that ensure cargo does not shift while it is transported? The FMCSA requires that all cargo securement devices be in working order. This means the equipment cannot have "damaged or weakened components that could adversely affect their performance."
Examples of securement devices include wire robe, synthetic webbing and chains. Essentially, the rules require that all cargo is "firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage (loose materials used ot support and protect cargo) or dunnage bags (inflatable bags intended to fill space between articles of cargo or between cargo and the wall fo the vehicle), shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these." The exact requirements will vary depending on the cargo in question.
What if trucks violate this requirement? The regulation appears to provide a number of options for trucking companies to meet this goal. Unfortunately, violations are not uncommon. The CVSA notes that common examples of violations include a failure to take precautions to prevent a shifting or loss of load, failure to secure equipment in the truck and use of damaged tie-downs with an unacceptable level of wear.
What if a securement violation results in a truck accident? If a violation results in an accident that injures another, the victim can likely seek compensation to cover the costs connected with the accident through a personal injury suit. These types of accidents can involve multiple parties. For example, both the truck driver and the trucking company could be liable for the accident.
This is just one of many considerations to take into account when putting together a claim for a truck accident. As such, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced trucking accident injury attorney to advocate for your interests. Your lawyer will review the details of your accident, better ensuring a successful claim.