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Santa Clara County personal injury attorney truck accident

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of people injured and killed in accidents involving large trucks has risen significantly in recent years. The primary danger is not to the truck drivers themselves, but to the occupants of the other involved vehicles, who account for over 70 percent of the annual fatalities. Truck accidents are dangerous not only because of the vehicles’ large size but also because of the heavy loads they carry. When those loads are not properly secured, they can lead to accidents in a number of ways.

How Unsecured Cargo Loads Cause Accidents in California

Semi-trucks are built to haul heavy weight, but in order to do so safely, they must be loaded properly with their cargo fully secured. When loose cargo shifts in transit, accidents often result because of one of the following reasons:

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San Jose personal injury attorneyIf you are like most people, you probably get slightly nervous driving behind an eighteen-wheel truck carrying cargo. Although it is rare, cargo and debris falling off the back of a truck is extremely dangerous. Motorists who run over cargo can spin out of control and crash, often causing other cars to be involved in the accident as well. Other times, cargo can fly out and hit the windshield or body of a vehicle, damaging it. Trucks can become unbalanced when cargo shifts inside the vehicle and topple over. In the most tragic cases, some motorists are severely injured or even die in accidents caused by shifting cargo.

Federal Law Mandates That Trucks Have Cargo Properly Secured

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the agency which regulates the U.S. trucking industry. In 2004, the agency updated it rules regarding the transportation and securing of cargo in order to reduce the number of accidents caused by cargo shifting or falling from commercial motor vehicles. Cargo must be firmly secured by structures of sufficient strength such as wedges and tiedowns. Additionally, inflatable bags or other materials should be used to fill space between pieces of cargo and the walls of the truck so that cargo cannot move around during transportation. Trucking companies who fail to take appropriate securing measures can be held liable for accidents caused by shifting cargo.

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