Winchester, TN Unsecured Loads Lawyer
In 2012, a judge sentenced a truck driver to eight years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, stemming from an accident that occurred four years earlier. The trucker was driving a flatbed, and when he entered a curve, a 42,000-pound bulldozer shifted, fell off his truck, and landed on a car. The two women in the car died from their injuries.
That tragic crash illustrates just how dangerous unsecured or improperly secured loads can be. Sometimes, unsecured loads are attributed to judgment errors or inexperience. But negligence and a complete disregard for safety are to blame for many crashes caused by unsecured loads.
If you’ve suffered a crash injury because of an unsecured load, you could be entitled to compensation for your financial losses, medical costs, and psychological trauma. Don’t wait to ask for help. Call the law office of John R. Colvin today to request your free case consultation: 1-931-962-1044.
Dangerous Trucks on the Road
In August, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance released results from its International Roadcheck, a 72-hour annual enforcement campaign. About 62,000 commercial trucks and buses from the United States, Mexico, and Canada were inspected; of those, 40,944 underwent the most stringent 37-step “Level I” inspection.
Level I inspectors ordered about 1,500 vehicles out of service, due to violations of cargo securement standards. Inspectors found cargo that was leaking, improperly secured, and completely unsecured.
Following a fatal crash in California in 2015, when a cargo container fell onto a bicyclist and killed him, a Teamsters spokesperson said truckers who are paid by the load, not the hour, may cut corners in order to make more deliveries. She said companies that employ drivers have a responsibility make sure drivers are following safety laws. But some companies don’t care about safety – and some even pressure drivers into breaking the law.
Poor Corporate Attitudes
State and federal laws limit load weights for commercial trucks, and weight is also specific to certain types of vehicles. Carrying an overweight load is not only illegal, it also can raise the risk of a crash due to rollover or mechanical failure.
In 2016, a judge ordered Indiana-based trucking company Marten Transport to pay back wages to a trucker it fired two years earlier and to reinstate him. The trucker had refused to accept a load from a shipping facility because it was 40 pounds heavier than the weight permitted by federal law.
The judge found the firing, based on those grounds, was illegal.
In 2011, an administrative law judge ruled in favor of a trucker who was fired after refusing an overweight load. The cargo he picked up weighed in at 360 pounds more than the state-specified weight limit, so he demanded that the shipper remove part of the cargo to meet weight restrictions.
Companies that pressure drivers into taking shortcuts with safety are putting their own drivers, along with other motorists, at risk of serious harm.
When a load isn’t properly secured, it can shift inside a truck during lane changes and on curves and increase the risk of a rollover crash. Tanker trucks are especially at risk for this type of crash, because there’s no way to keep liquid from moving inside a cargo tank. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that full tanks minimize the “slosh and surge” effect that can occur when tanks are only partially full.
The FMCSA says that driver error is to blame in 78 percent of rollover crashes and that 1 in 5 cargo tanker crashes occur due to driver inattention.
The Effect of Unsecured Load Crashes
When an unsecured load falls into the road or causes a truck to overturn, motorists may not be able to react quickly enough to avoid a crash. Most unsecured load crashes happen on highways, which means multiple lanes of traffic may be affected, and many vehicles may end up colliding with roadway debris or the truck.
A regular passenger car that crashes into a commercial truck is likely to suffer severe damage. Many collisions of this type permanently disable occupants of cars or result in fatalities. For those injured, and for the survivors of loved ones who die in crashes, it’s terrible to learn that the accident could have been prevented if the driver or the driver’s employer had simply followed safety rules.
John R. Colvin stands ready to help if you’ve suffered an injury or lost a family member in an unsecured-load crash. Our office handles injury cases on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing up front for representation. Our legal fees come from any settlement you may receive. So don’t wait – contact us online, or at 1-931-962-1044, to request your free, no-obligation case consultation.