Obviously, the size and the weight of tractor trailers and other big rig trucks are why truck accidents are incredibly dangerous. The average empty tractor trailer weighs approximately 30,000 pounds. Full truck loads average 50,000 pounds but our truck accident lawyers have seen cases with loads as heavy as 80,000 pounds. Tractor trailer combinations are typically 60-70 feet long and 8-9 feet wide.
Besides the obvious risks associated with a vehicle that is at least 10 times heavier than your vehicle (the average passenger car weights approximately 3,000 pounds), there are also risks associated with heavy cargo shifting during the route. If a load is not adequately secured, it may shift during transit which can cause a truck accident because the imbalance in the load causes the truck to either flip or the driver otherwise loses control of the vehicle, typically during a turn or with the help of a gust of wind.
Federal law places a burden on truck drivers to make sure the load is adequately secured. See 49 CFR Section 392.9. It is generally not a defense under this regulation for the truck driver to claim that someone else loaded the vehicle although shippers, manufacturers, and distributors may also be liable for truck accidents caused by load shifts. This federal regulation also requires the truck driver to regularly inspect the cargo during transit.
Loads are sometimes not adequately secured because the cargo itself is not secured or because it was loaded improperly. This often happens with trucks carrying cargo of varying weights. Obviously, prudence mandates loading the cargo with the heaviest objects on the bottom of the load. Loaders quickly throwing cargo on a tractor trailer often do not see it that way, however.What is the Point of All of This?
Why are you telling us all of this? Are you just trying to fill up more truck accident pages. Well, the point is that these are the kinds of case trucking companies deny because they claim the crash was not the result of negligence. To get the real answers, you have to understand how big these loads can be and how they need to be secured.
- Get an overview of truck crash claims in Maryalnd
- Risks Associated with Heavy and Unbalanced Truck Loads
- 2013 News Article on Risks of Heavy Trucks
- Maryland Law Governing Truck Drivers and Truck Accidents