Improper Load Ticket
Although commercial trucks are designed to haul large or heavy loads, any failure in the cargo loading process can cause deadly accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 300,000 truck accidents in 2012 causing more than 100,000 injuries and 4,000 fatalities. One of the major leading causes of these accidents was improper loading.
What is Improper Loading Ticket?
An improperly loaded truck is one in which the load is too heavy for the truck or one in which the load is not properly balanced. This adversely affects the driver’s ability to control the truck. Indications that a truck has been improperly loaded include, but are not limited, to the following:
- The cargo is not covered.
- The weight of the cargo is unevenly distributed through the trailer.
- The truck is load exceeds its maximum weight.
- The cargo has not been secured or tied down.
Accidents Resulting from an Improperly Loaded Truck
Accidents that are caused by the improper loading of cargo:
- Jack-Knifing: If heavy cargo shifts in balance, the trailer may swing to one side and cause the driver to lose control of the truck.
- Tipping or Rolling Over: If heavy cargo shifts in balance, the entire truck can tip or roll over to one side.
- Falling Cargo: Cargo that comes loose can fall from the truck cause damage to other vehicles or passengers on the road.
- Spilling of Hazardous Materials: Hazardous materials such as flammable liquids can cause deadly accidents and serious health threats to passengers on the road.
- Tire blowouts: If a truck is overloaded, the extra weight could affect the way the truck drives and lead to a tire blowout.
Federal and State Regulations Governing Improper Load Ticket
Because these types of accidents may cause serious deadly injuries, federal and state regulations have been put into place to provide requirements for the proper loading of trucks.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage (loose materials used to support and protect cargo) or dunnage bags (inflatable bags intended to fill space between articles of cargo or between cargo and the wall of the vehicle), shoring bars, tie downs or a combination of these.”
Under Michigan law, “A person shall not drive or move a vehicle on a highway unless the vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent its contents from dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing off, or otherwise escaping from the vehicle. This requirement does not apply to a vehicle transporting agricultural or horticultural products when hay, straw, silage, or residue from a product, but not including the product itself, or when materials such as water used to preserve and handle agricultural or horticultural products while in transportation, escape from the vehicle in an amount that does not interfere with other traffic on the highway. The tailgate, faucets, and taps on a vehicle shall be securely closed to prevent spillage during transportation whether the vehicle is loaded or empty, and the vehicle shall not have any holes or cracks through which material can escape. Any highway maintenance vehicle engaged in either ice or snow removal shall be exempt from this section” MCL 257.720(1). This offense carries two points and abstracts on one’s driving record.
Both truck drivers and companies are required to follow these rules. If it is found that a truck has been improperly loaded, the driver and company may face serious legal consequences. For more information an improper load ticket or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC Call (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message, we can help you .