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It's a rare event, but when it does occur, cargo shift is one of the most dangerous events in contributing to truck accidents, according to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). More than driver fatigue, more than brake problems, even more than a trucker performing an illegal maneuver, when a cargo shift occurs, an accident is likely to follow. Indeed, cargo shift has the highest risk factor of any of those evaluated by the FMCSA.
Tractor-trailer trucks have a very high chassis, especially in the trailer. This makes balancing a truck very important. The majority of a tractor-trailer truck's mass is in its cargo, but all of its ability to accelerate, stop, and maneuver is at the ground, in the tires. When a truck attempts to maneuver, the force of that maneuver must be transferred from the ground, through the truck, to the load. When that load is not properly balanced, the cargo can tip or come loose during even the slightest maneuver, which can lead to a truck accident.
Truck drivers are given primary responsibility for ensuring a truck's load is balanced by inspecting the cargo before the trip and at regular intervals when driving. However, others share responsibility when an unbalanced truck load leads to an accident. Trucking companies have a responsibility to train their drivers to properly inspect and re-inspect cargo to ensure it is properly balanced on the truck bed. Loaders and others who help prepare the cargo may also share responsibility.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident caused by unbalanced or shifting truck cargo in or around Sarasota, Florida, the Luhrsen Law Group can help you pursue compensation from all responsible parties. Please contact us today for a free initial case evaluation today.