Cargo Securement Requirements
We often get calls and inquiries from victims and from other lawyers across the country about truck crashes involving negligent securement of cargo. An injured person may be able to bring a claim for negligent securement of cargo when the load was not properly secured and stabilized either inside the trailer, intermodal container or on the flatbed trailer. These are the most common types of trailers, but there are important differences in between the three.
First, for interstate motor carriers governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), 49 C.F.R. Sects. 392.9(a)(1) – (b)(1-3) addresses responsibility for cargo securement:
“General. A driver may not operate a commercial motor vehicle and a motor carrier may not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle unless –
The commercial motor vehicle’s cargo is properly distributed and adequately secured as specified in Sects. 393.100 through 393.136 of this subchapter.
[T]he driver of a of a truck or truck tractor must –
Assure himself/herself that that the provisions of this paragraph (a) have been complied with before he/she drives that commercial motor vehicle;
Inspect the cargo and the devices used to secure the cargo within the first 50 miles after beginning the trip and cause any adjustments to be made the cargo or load securement devices as necessary, including adding more securement devices as necessary, including adding more securement devices, to ensure that cargo cannot shift on or within, or fall from the commercial motor vehicle; and
Reexamine the commercial motor vehicle’s cargo and its load securement devices during the course of transportation and make necessary adjustment to the cargo or load securement devices, including adding more securement devices, to ensure that cargo cannot shift on or within, or fall from, the commercial motor vehicle —
Reexamination is necessary when the driver makes a change to his/her duty status; or the commercial motor vehicle has been driven for 3 hours; or the commercial motor vehicle has been driven for 150 miles, whichever occurs first.
A Driver Is Not Required to Inspect and Secured Sealed or Intermodal Loads
The Rules [above] do not apply to the driver of a sealed commercial motor vehicle who has been ordered not to open it to inspect its cargo or to the driver of a commercial motor vehicle that has been loaded in a manner that makes the inspection of its cargo impracticable. “
In other words the truck driver and motor carrier are normally responsible to inspect and make sure the load is properly secured before driving the truck. However, if the cargo is in a sealed container (like a sealed dry van or intermodal container) the driver is not required to inspect and secure the load. In that case, the responsibility normally would fall on the shipper or the person who loaded the container before it left the shipping facility.
How Drivers are Expected to Secure Cargo
49 C.F.R. Sect. 393.100 provides that cargo must be contained, immobilized or secured to prevent shifting upon or within the vehicle to such an extent that the stability or maneuverability is adversely affected.
The means of securing cargo are considered to meet the performance requirements of this section if the cargo is:
Immobilized, such so that it cannot shift or tip to the extent that the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability is adversely affected; or transported in a sided vehicle that has walls of adequate strength, such that the each article of cargo within the vehicle is in contact with, or sufficiently close to a wall or other articles, so that it cannot shift or tip to the extent that the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability is adversely affected; or secured in accordance with the applicable requirements of 393.104 and 393.136.
What Should I Do If I have Been Injured in a Truck Crash by a Falling or Shifting Load
Both motorist and truck drivers can suffer serious injuries or death by improperly secured or shifting cargo. You may have a claim against a shipper, loader, or the motor carrier and driver depending on who was ultimately responsible for negligently securing the cargo.
Contact the lawyers at www.wrightlawplc.com truck accident lawyer near me for a consultation.