In 2009, there were 3,163 people killed in truck accidents across the country. Overwhelmingly, the victims were either pedestrians or other motorists. Passengers of passenger vehicles accounted for 70% of these deaths and bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians accounted for 14% of these fatalities. Load problems – including loads that shift inside the truck or fall out of the truck – are a leading cause of truck accidents in Florida and across the country.
When loads are not secured or are too large or heavy for a truck, the truck is at a greater risk of rollovers. Too-large loads also put undue stress on the vehicle’s brakes and tires, making tire blowouts and even brake failure more likely. A truck that has a too-heavy load or a load that is not correctly secured is more difficult for the driver to control and is therefore more likely to be in an accident. A regular commercial truck, for example, takes 40% more time to stop than a passenger car. When a truck is overburdened, it can take even longer to stop, making accidents harder to avoid.
There are several laws designed to help prevent Florida truck accidents caused by load issues. In 2002, for example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created new rules about securing loads. New rules require trucks to secure cargo in such a way that it does not shift so that it impedes the normal operation of the vehicle. When traveling on public roads, commercial trucks are also required to secure their cargo and loads so that the cargo does not fall, spill, or blow from the truck.
In addition, there are rules in place about the minimum number of tie-downs required to secure a cargo. These rules require that cargos which are no more than 1100 lb and 5 feet or less in length have at least one tie-down. Items up to ten feet require a minimum of two.
Commercial trucks are subject to strict weight limits and weigh stations across the US and Canada require all large trucks to stop and get weighed. Trucks above safe weight limits are subject to fines. As well, trucks carrying unsafe or dangerous cargo are subject to special requirements and limitations. In addition, in cases where a truck carrying a load or cargo that has been unsafely secured causes an accident, victims have the right to pursue legal action against the carrier, and even the driver of the vehicle.
If you have been in a Florida truck accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group to arrange a free consultation to discuss your options and rights. From offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood, the Flaxman Law Group has already helped thousands of personal injury and truck accident victims. Find out what our experience can do for you.