While the severity of injuries and fatalities involved when trucks collide with compact cars are well known, many people do not realize that shifting and lost truckloads also injure and kill a number of people each year.
When trucks brake suddenly or are otherwise involved in accidents, their loads can shift into the cab or elsewhere, injuring drivers, passengers, and other cars. This can be especially dangerous when snow and black ice are on the roads, contributing to a series of crashes and spinouts.
Still, a number of these accidents occur each year simply because the loads that the trucks carry are unsecured, leaving thousands of motorists to run into roadway debris and other objects that they have lost on the road.
Regulations & Liability
When it comes to trucks that carry loads, there are specific regulations governing how these loads need to be tied down and secured, as well as regularly checked to make sure that they are safe. If the loads fall off the truck and cause an accident, the truck driver—as well as the company—can be found liable for the accident, and this includes both drivers and owner-operators.
Transporting Hazardous Substances
Communities surrounding highways are also placed at risk when trucks are carrying (and could potentially lose) hazardous materials. These can cause injuries that go far beyond just an accident on the road, especially when they are carrying flammable liquids, such as gas and oil.
Commonly transported hazardous materials can and often do include ammunition, corrosives, explosives, elevated temperature materials, flammable liquids or solids, gases, hazardous waste, liquid gasoline, marine pollutants, oxidizing substances, poisonous/infectious substances, radioactive materials, and other dangerous materials.
Transporting these materials also involves additional requirements, including having hazmat authority and certified hazmat drivers and compliance with regulations ensuring that only professionally trained drivers are accessing the materials. Specifically, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides for additional requirements related to:
- Cargo training and rollover prevention;
- Special training and education;
- FMCSA HazMat Regulations; and
- HazMat Safety Permits.
The hazardous materials regulations apply to the transportation of hazardous materials in commerce, not only when a hazardous material is present in a package, container, car, or vessel and being carried interstate, intrastate, and by foreign carriers, but also when it comes to the manufacture and maintenance of a package used for transporting hazardous substances.
Contact Our Rhode Island Accident Attorneys
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, truckers racing to beat the federal rules that require rest breaks after driving for eight hours are significantly contributing to the number of accidents involving big rigs. If you or a loved one has suffered in an accident due to a lost truckload, contact our experienced Rhode Island auto accident attorneys to find out how we can help.