Tractor Trailer Safety: The Importance of Proper Loading

Tractor Trailer Safety: The Importance of Proper Loading

loading-zone-162243-mA recent accident has a large portion of the trucking industry revisiting the importance of proper loading techniques. The massive weight of the large tractor trailers on the road in St. Petersburg makes them a big hazard for other drivers. This risk is further increased when a truck isn’t properly loaded. However, that danger is not just directed at people in passenger cars. It can also have a direct impact on the big rig operator, as was seen in New Jersey.

Police are still investigating the accident that occurred on the highway, when the driver of a flatbed tractor trailer was fatally injured. The steel beams carried by the truck were, somehow, dislodged and forced forward with enough momentum to break into the cab and strike the driver. Fortunately, no one else was injured in this crash, but it does leave many in the industry flabbergasted. The exact reason for why the load was able to get out of control in such a way is not yet known, but it is clear that something was amiss.

This is just one of the examples that exist for why loading regulations are in place in Saint Petersburg and elsewhere. Another scary incident occurred in Washington not long ago. A trucker was crossing the Skagit River Bridge when the load he carried struck bridge supports. It caused the whole thing to give way and a span of the bridge fell into the water, along with two passenger cars.

The problem is that these trucks are approved to carry only so much weight and much of what they carry is so heavy per unit that they cannot fill the trucks, or the load protrudes on either side. Take, for instance, this example from OverdriveOnline:

“An example is the paper industry, which faces challenges of loading paper rolls that can weigh up to 8,000 pounds apiece into a tractor-trailer that is limited to a 48,000-pound payload. ‘Those rolls are not going to fill up the trailer,’ he says. ‘How you put those in is very strategic … One solution is to position the rolls in a zig-zag pattern, with rolls touching to reduce movement and to achieve optimal weight distribution. Rolls can be 7 feet to 8 feet tall and subject to falling,’ Ehrlich says. ‘If two of those rolls topple over at the same time, they’ll roll the entire trailer over. That happens fairly often because of a lack of understanding.’”

The trouble is that packing is a science. When the drivers or the workers of the loading docks are in a hurry, or unfamiliar with the process, it can leave the operator and everyone else on the road at great risk. Imagine how easy it would be for a driver to lose control when a load tips and causes the trailer to jerk to one side or the other. While there are many regulations in place to limit total carrying weight and packing standards, there are always those organizations that overlook the laws or employs inexperienced staff, incapable of properly packing large loads.

If you are injured in an accident involving a tractor trailer, you should speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as you have received proper medical care. It may be possible to collect damages to cover the associated medical and repair costs, as well as any lost wages.