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Semi-trucks must properly secure cargo to ensure safety

This blog has spent some time discussing semi-trucks and how they can pose a danger to other motorists. Oftentimes, this discussion revolves around the sheer size of big rigs and the driving abilities of their truckers. While these are certainly important aspects, there are other issues related to semi-trucks that can affect motorists' safety. This week, we will briefly look at how cargo securement may come into play.

Semi-trucks can carry a wide-variety of cargo, and oftentimes we do not give it much thought. However, if this cargo is secured improperly, then it may become a hazard by slipping from the truck during regular driving or fly off the truck during an accident. For this reason, federal regulations have been put in place to standardize cargo securement and ensure safety.

For example, tiedowns must be used to secure certain types of cargo. Cargo that is less than five feet long and weighs less than 1,100 pounds needs to have one tiedown. However, if the cargo is longer or weighs more, then additional tiedowns may be needed. Two tiedowns are needed for objects that are between five feet and 10 feet in length, and each additional 10 feet in length will require an additional tiedown. There are also regulations that address where cargo can be placed and additional rules on restraints.

Why is figuring out if there is unsecure cargo important? It may be critical in a personal injury lawsuit, particularly if a trucker's failure to properly secure the load is the proximate cause of the victim's injuries. However, this may be difficult to determine at first glance, which is why it may be important to discuss the matter with a legal professional who can more thoroughly assess the situation.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Cargo Securement Rules," accessed on Oct. 26, 2015

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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