At one time or another, drivers in Orange County have probably driven near another motor vehicle that is loaded with cargo that appears to not fit properly on the vehicle. If a truck is overloaded or the operator does not secure the cargo, it can cause danger to other on the roadways.
Whether the vehicle is a pickup truck or a tractor trailer with a flatbed, the dangers of not properly securing a load are very stark. For example, if an object falls from the truck, other drivers may have to slam on their brakes or swerve into other lanes of traffic to avoid striking the object.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an object that falls from a truck traveling at a highway speed of 55 miles-per-hour can cause immense damage. At this speed, a falling 20-pound object has the impact force of half a ton if it strikes another vehicle. That kind of impact can not only destroy the vehicle, but it can also cause severe injuries to the people in that vehicle.
A few years ago, a study by the Government Accountability Office found that unsecured loads and debris on the road contributed to incidents that caused 440 deaths and 10,000 injuries in 2010. Truck drivers and anyone else that hauls cargo can avoid this problem by taking appropriate steps to ensure that their load is secure and that the vehicle is not overloaded.
Under California law, drivers can face civil penalties if they fail to properly fasten a cargo load to their vehicle. In addition, if an unsecured load leads to an accident, the victims can file legal claims against the driver that failed to adhere to the law. Likewise, anyone who has lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident involving unsecured cargo can pursue damages against the truck driver and the company that owns the truck or employs the driver.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, "Preventing the tragic consequences of unsecured loads," David Friedman, Accessed on Feb. 25, 2015