Truck Loading Regulations in Michigan
Trucks themselves are already potential road hazards because of their size. Add improper loading to the mix, it becomes more dangerous to other drivers. Load shift truck accidents are dangerous not just to the truck driver, but to the cargo and other drivers as well. It can lead to serious injuries, and sometimes, even death.
However, trucks are vital in any economy. They are used to transport produce, dry goods, foods, construction materials, and many more. The streets of Michigan are no stranger to trucks, and some accidents involving these road giants.
The correct loading of the cargo is the responsibility of the truck driver. He must ensure that the cargo is properly held in place. He must also make sure that the freight is within Michigan’s allowable load limits for trucks. If the cargo is placed securely and within the load weight limit, the risk that a truck carries reduces.
The cargo must be inspected first by the truck driver before his trip. The load and its harness may be jolted out of place while on the road. He must also perform multiple checking after some time and some distance.
What is a Load Shift Accident?
A load shift accident is a road accident caused by a truck cargo that was not appropriately secured. Load shift occurs when the cargo unexpectedly moves or shifts during transport. It can result in a shift of weight in the truck’s bed. This shift in weight can affect how the truck runs. It makes the truck uneven, making it prone to falling over.
Load shift in an open truck can also cause the security straps that hold the cargo to give up and fail. Spilling cargo in moving traffic is disastrous and can end up in a catastrophic road accident.
Loads which are not properly secured and tied down may cause the following accidents in the streets of Michigan:
- Rear-end collisions. Overloaded trucks have difficulty stopping on time and increases the risk for rear-end collisions.
- Lane Departures. One of the worst things that can happen to an overloaded truck due to load shifts is to fall over bridges.
- Lost Loads. When load shift happens, some of the load may free itself from the truck’s securement system. Packages may bounce off into the road, and may even hit other cars.
Loads that are not secured properly in the truck bed and are overweight carry significant risks for everyone on the road. These type of load shift accidents commonly occur in the following types of trucks?
Proper Truck Cargo Securement
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published new cargo securement rules. The rules specify that truck cargo securement devices must meet the established performance criteria.
Proper tie-downs must be used and must meet the required minimum number. There must be one tie-down in every 5 ft. or less along the length of the cargoes weighing less than 1,100 lbs. For loads weighing more than 1,100 lbs., there must be two tie-downs in every 5 ft. or less. Lastly, all the vehicle’s systems and parts must be fully working and functioning when carrying heavy loads.
Performance criteria of securement systems involve tests of forward deceleration and rearward acceleration. In deceleration, the brakes are applied, and the truck is slowing down. In acceleration, the truck is speeding up. The new rules intend to reduce truck-related crashes in Michigan, due to load shifting.
Sealed Load Trucks
A truck driver is not required to check his load in the following circumstances:
- The load is sealed.
- The driver was instructed not to open the load.
- The shipper who loaded and sealed the cargo is held accountable for the load. The shipper will also be held legally responsible for crashes of sealed trucks.
- The driver is helpless and is usually the injured party in sealed truck crashes. The driver also has no idea how the shipment was loaded in the truck. He won’t be able to check if the cargoes were positioned for the truck’s optimum balance.
Have You Been Involved in a Truck Accident in Michigan? Contact The Clark Law Office.
Call an experienced truck accident lawyer in Michigan right away. Truck accidents often lead to more severe injuries. If you or a loved one sustained injuries from a car crash, call The Clark Law Office immediately.
An experienced lawyer will help protect your rights and preserve the merit of your case. Truck companies have company lawyers, so it is crucial to have your own legal adviser. Call us today for a free legal consultation.