The overwhelming majority of freight moved across South Carolina and the United States is moved at least part of the way by truck. Since improperly loaded cargo is a major of tractor-trailer accidents, every one of the 15 million transport trucks in operation on American roadways is a potential public safety hazard. Erratic drivers can be noticed and avoided by motorists, but shifting cargo inside a trailer is a hidden risk to travelers.
Cargo loaded unevenly is much more likely to shift during transit than properly loaded and evenly distributed loads. Shifting is most likely to occur during evasive maneuvers or abrupt lane changes and is closely associated with rollover crashes. When a big truck flips after a load shift, there is no braking or steering, putting every motorist in grave danger from trucks weighing up to 80,000 lbs. Spilling cargo is also a major risk associated with rollover events.
Truck drivers do not normally assist in loading their trailers, but motor carriers are required to ensure that every load transported is properly loaded and secured. Sometimes this is done by the driver physically inspecting the load, but often a certification is made by the company loading and sealing the trailers. A finding of direct liability against the trucking company and indirect liability against the loading company are not uncommon following load shift accidents. For cargo transported on flatbed trailers, the driver must inspect and make sure the load is properly secured and tied down before departure and periodically inspect the load during transport to maintain safe transport conditions.
Tractor-trailer accidents are typically complicated events with a series of contributing factors. Qualified truck wreck lawyers are familiar with trucking regulations and may work with safety engineers and other consultants to ascertain the exact cause of accidents. An experienced lawyer may be able to assist in holding companies responsible for unsafe shipping practices.