Commercial Trucks or Non-Commercial Vehicles and Falling Cargo: What are Florida’s Rules About Securing Loads?

Commercial Trucks or Non-Commercial Vehicles and Falling Cargo

Commercial Trucks or Non-Commercial Vehicles and Falling Cargo: What are Florida’s Rules About Securing Loads?

Falling loads from commercial trucks or even non-commercial vehicles can cause serious personal injury accidents. Falling cargo has enormous force when it comes off a moving vehicle. Even something that weighs as little as 20 pounds can have an impact force of over half a ton when it falls off a truck or vehicle travelling at 55 miles per hour.

Large commercial trucks transport all sorts of goods across the nation every day. While the transport of goods is of significant value and is necessary, loose cargo presents a serious danger to those on the highway.

Think about it.

Large commercial trucks transport large, heavy objects —cars, construction materials, metal, steel, heavy pipes and more. If these items come loose while the truck is going down the highway, the impact will be enormous and the damage catastrophic.

And while it cannot be denied that commercial trucks pose the largest danger to highway users, they are not the only vehicles that carry cargo.

Non-commercial vehicles, like pickup trucks or cars, can also pose a serious danger if their loads come loose. Whether it is furniture, luggage, or junk—it does not matter. The impact from articles flying off a moving vehicle into oncoming traffic is deadly.

And the danger is real.

Falling cargo cases frequently involve death or cause catastrophic injuries. These cases are difficult and complex and require retention of experts as well as experienced truck accident lawyers.

Commercial Trucks and Loose Cargo

Commercial trucks or big rigs (18-wheelers, semi-trucks, etc.) must, of course, obey all state laws, but they are primarily regulated by the federal government.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), promulgates rules and regulations governing all aspects of the commercial trucking industry.

The FMCSA mandates that all cargo be secured in a number of different ways to prevent forward, backward, or sideways movement, and even has rules on how to secure  commodity-specific loads.

Different rules apply to different cargo, but all cargo securement systems must meet the FMCSA’s minimum requirements.

All commercial vehicles that carry cargo that are operating in interstate commerce must comply with the FMCSA rules.

Non-commercial Vehicles Must Properly Secure Cargo in Florida

Florida’s laws regulate drivers of non-commercial vehicles who carry loads on Florida’s highways.

Florida’s statutes require all drivers of trucks, cars, and SUVs, to secure any cargo properly. This means that whatever the cargo is — dirt, sand, lime rock, gravel, silica, or other similar aggregate or trash, garbage, or any inanimate object or objects—must be kept from escaping from or falling off the vehicle.

The willful failure to comply with the law which results in death or serious bodily injury to another is considered a criminal traffic offense punishable according to law.

Who is At Fault for Falling Cargo Accidents?

As you can see from the above information, in Florida, a non-commercial owner or driver will be held responsible for failing to properly secure cargo.

With regard to commercial trucks, while the truck driver is ultimately responsible for checking that his load is properly secured, as with other causes of truck accidents, there may be other parties that may be liable as well. For example, most of the time the truck drivers does not load the truck. Rather, there may be a separate company that loads the truck. In addition, the trucking company that the driver works for could also be liable.

As noted above, the FMCSA governs commercial trucks while they are in transit on the public highways. But commercial trucks and their drivers are also subject to state laws and other laws like OSHA. As a result, the number of potential defendants in a trucking accident case can be many and varied.

Hiring a trucking accident lawyer is important in any truck accident case because these personal injury cases can be complicated and difficult to pursue.

Injured in a Trucking Accident? Don’t Wait. Call Us.  

John Fagan and his experienced team are dedicated to helping those who have been injured due to the negligence of another. Contact us now for your free consultation or simply call our firm at: 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park. We have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.

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