Unsecured Cargo

Unsecured Cargo Causing Truck Accidents

Unsecured cargo is one of the many causes of truck accidents and is the most dangerous type of truck accidents. An 18-wheeler truck is permitted to carry up to 80,000 lbs. of cargo. If this cargo is not secured properly it can obviously fall off the truck and onto the road causing devastating truck accident crashes as well as simply putting the general public at risk. These accidents not only injure pedestrians and motorists but often result in their deaths. There are Federal regulations that stipulate truck cargos must be secured. Have you or a loved one been hurt by a collision caused by a big rig or truck with unsecured cargo? Call Houston’s Truck Accident Attorney, Walker Texas Lawyer. He will fight for you to receive the compensation you are entitled to.


Statistics on Unsecured Cargo Truck Accidents

According to a 2016 AAA study, debris on the roads led to more than 200,000 crashes between 2011 and 2014. Included in those crashes were more than 500 deaths. This is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has established regulations for allowable weight limits for truck cargos as well as proper procedures for securing such cargos. To help enforce these regulations, weigh stations and truck scales are placed along America’s highways by various regulatory bodies. At these stations law enforcement officials can ensure that truck drivers adhere to all applicable commercial trucking regulations.

Example of accidents that unsecured cargo can cause:

  • Jackknife Accidents – One major reason the NHTSA has established road weight limits is due to a truck’s braking ability. Simply put, heavier vehicles take longer to break. This means the heavier the cargo load the longer it will take the tractor-trailer to come to a complete stop. If the driver has to slam on his brakes, this may cause a cargo load shift. The load could shift in such a way that it would cause the truck and trailer to jackknife. A Jackknife accident can be described as the cab of the truck remaining parallel while the trailer loses control. The trailer then is dragged perpendicular across the highway.

  • Hazardous Material Spills – Truckers responsible for carrying hazardous cargos need to be extremely careful. These 18-wheelers can cause the most horrible accidents. This is due to the fact that accidents involving hazardous cargos can result in the emission of chemical vapors. Additionally, the spilling of hazardous liquid cargos onto the ground or highway can occur. This causes a higher risk of fire or combustion. These hazardous releases not only endanger cars and trucks on the road but can devastate communities.¬† Commercial vehicle drivers must be specially licensed to operate trucks carrying hazardous materials.
  • Overturn Accidents – One of the most common types of accidents is improperly loaded trucks overturning. Often, this is due to a shift in the cargo. Shifted cargo can cause an 18-wheeler truck to become off balance when making a standard turn or a quick stop. Overturned trucks almost always result in serious accidents for anyone next to the truck.
  • Spilled Cargo – Cargo placed on a flatbed trailer has an increased risk of flying onto the road. Typically, this cargo is tied down my tethers or bungees. If these ties have worn down due to use or sun damage, they could break. This could release cargo onto the street. In most cases, this does not end well.
Unsecured Cargo Truck Accident


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the U.S. trucking industry. Recently, they have updated the rules for securing cargo with revised regulations. The FMCSA stated that the intent of the revised requirements is to reduce the number of accidents. Accidents caused by unsecured cargo or cargo shifting. In order to prevent falling from commercial motor vehicles.

In general, the FMCSA requires that cargo be firmly secured by structures of sufficient strength. Items such as tie downs or inflatable dunnage bags that fill space between articles of cargo. Additionally, shoring bars could be used.

Cargo that is likely to roll must be secured and held in place by wedges, chocks, a cradle, or other means that will not come unfastened or loose while the vehicle is in transit.


Specific regulations address such factors as:

  • The load limit of the cargo securement system in relation to the weight of the cargo.
  • Positioning of anchor points and the minimum number of tie-downs used to secure cargo.
  • Detailed requirements for the securement of:
  • Large boulders
  • Roll-on and roll-off containers
  • Flattened or crushed vehicles
  • Heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery
  • Automobiles, light trucks and vans
  • Shipping containers
  • Logs
  • Dressed lumber
  • Metal coils
  • Paper rolls
  • Concrete pipe

Walker Texas Lawyer Investigates Unsecured Cargo or Cargo Spill Accidents

In some cases, a truck’s loss of cargo in an accident is obvious and can be easily identified as a contributing factor in a crash. However, in some crashes, such as a rollover or jackknife, the trucking company may argue that cargo was loosened and shifted because of the crash.

In many instances, it requires an independent truck accident investigation. An investigation by knowledgeable analysts to determine that a cargo shift caused a truck accident. This work includes obtaining and examining truckers’ cargo inspection records. Additionally, the carrier’s bills of lading and other records referring to loading and securing the truck’s cargo. To explain the crash itself, you may need the assistance of experts in mechanical design, engineering, and automotive accident reconstruction. Walker Texas Lawyer has immediate access to these experts. They can assist in any such accident investigation.

Walker Texas Lawyer is experienced in Truck Accident Cases. He does the investigative work required to build a compelling case. He also has settled large truck crashes on behalf of injured motorists in Houston. We help truck accident victims obtain compensation. Compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and for their pain and suffering.

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