Since the result of a load shift or lost load can be disastrous, correct truck loading and cargo securement is vital for the safety of the trucker and other drivers on Michigan roads.
The key point for any lawyer handling a truck accident caused by a truck load shift must be to understand that such accidents are almost always preventable. Often, working with the right truck accident expert and doing a thorough investigation on how the truck was loaded and by who, is crucial to proving negligence in these cases.
The general rule is that a truck driver is responsible for the load that he or she is transporting. To avoid accidents, the truck driver must have knowledge of the cargo, the cargo weight, optimum placement of the load and proper securement.
Further, the cargo must be inspected by the truck driver during the pre-trip inspection and again after the first 25 miles of travel. More truck inspections are required after driving for a certain amount of time and distance, in addition to when the truck driver takes a break or has a change of duty.
It is only when the load is sealed and the truck driver has been instructed not to open the seal, that he isn’t required to make that inspection. However, sealed loads still can cause truck accidents.
Regarding a sealed load, the shipper who loaded and sealed the truck is legally responsible for the respective crash. These “sealed load” cases are often pursued as strict liability cases against the shipper.
Often the injured party is the truck driver, who is helpless in these situations and at the mercy of the shipper who loaded his trailer.
Experienced truck attorneys should investigate all of the underlying facts.
In September 2002, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published new cargo securement rules, based on the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations.
The rules require semi-truck drivers to change the way they use cargo securement devices to prevent articles from shifting on or in, or falling from commercial motor vehicles. The intent of the requirements is to reduce the number of truck crashes caused by cargo shifting in or falling from commercial tractor-trailers operating in interstate commerce.
The changes may require Michigan truck drivers to increase the number of tie-downs used to secure certain types of cargo.
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