In Washington, there are commercial trucking laws, combined with federal safety regulations, that govern what truck drivers can and cannot do on the road. They are restricted in the amount of weight they can place on their trucks and are told how to load and unload their freights. Truckers who incorrectly load cargo are responsible for thousands of preventable accidents and injuries each year.
How cargo is loaded improperly
The uneven loading and unloading of cargo is a problem when one side is heavier than the other. Commercial truck drivers have to stabilize the weight by following weight limits, known as maximum gross vehicle weights, which are determined by state and federal trucking laws.
Drivers have to stop the trucks completely and activate their parking brakes before loading or unloading cargo. These brakes, along with in-ground wheel restraint devices, prevent the truck from rolling back, especially if parked downhill. Moreover, they have to follow the specific steps of safe dock loading procedures.
Cargo-based truck accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that approximately 4% of motor vehicle accidents are caused by the improper loading of cargo. A single cargo accident may cause serious injuries from broken bones to traumatic brain injury. Some freights weigh several tons and cause life-threatening injuries after falling on top of drivers, warehouse workers or bystanders.
The improper loading of cargo on trucks is a significant cause of truck accidents. There are enough accidents and serious injuries that cause most states to pass cargo securement laws. There are state and federal laws, regulated by agencies like the FMCSA, that provide requirements as to how drivers must handle their freight.