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Load securement is an important duty of all truckers

Not all semi-truck accidents involve the actual truck or trailer slamming into a vehicle. Some semi-truck accidents are the result of unsecured or improperly secured loads shifting or flying off the trailer. These accidents can be just as devastating as accidents that involve the tractor-trailer careening into a vehicle. The danger posed by unsecured or improperly secured loads has led to requirements for load securement.

Improperly secured loads can lead to a host of problems. Not only can the cargo and semi-truck sustain damage, an accident that affects innocent people on the roadways can occur. These accidents can lead to serious injuries or loss of life.

Any cargo the tractor-trailer is carrying has to be properly secured, which includes being sure that the weight of the cargo is evenly distributed. All doors, spare tires, tailgates and tarpaulins must be properly secured in a manner that prevents them from sliding or flying off the truck.

In addition to making sure that cargo isn't able to come off the truck, truckers must ensure that the cargo won't leak or spill. They must ensure that the cargo doesn't affect the maneuverability of the truck.

Cargo securement must meet certain requirements regarding the force applied to the securement system. For example, the system must be able to withstand 80 percent of the weight of the cargo when the truck brakes while driving forward. It must be able to withstand 50 percent of the cargo weight when accelerating, shifting during a hill climb, turning or changing lanes. It must be able to withstand 20 percent of the cargo weight from upward force that occurs when going over bumps or coming to the top of a hill.

If you were injured by an unsecured or improperly secured load, you might choose to seek compensation. Learning about the options you have can help you to decide how you want to go about seeking the compensation you need.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Driver's Handbook on Cargo Securement - Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Cargo Securement," accessed Nov. 18, 2015

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