Missouri Unsecured Truck Load Accident Attorney

Countless tractor-trailers traverse Missouri highways everyday, as they carry cargo across the country. Usually, these trucks pass through the state without incident. But sometimes they cause serious and fatal crashes, due to shifting and unsecured loads.

If you’ve suffered an injury in a crash with a tractor-trailer, talk to the experienced personal injury attorneys at Bley & Evans. We offer free consultations, so you’re under no pressure to use our services when you call us at 844-443-8385.

Crash Causes and Types

In October, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released preliminary findings on fatal commercial truck crashes that occurred in 2015. Of the 3,598 fatal crashes that occurred, “cargo equipment loss or shift” was the primary cause in only two crashes. Most often, some other factor is the primary cause of a crash involving cargo equipment loss or shift.

When equipment shifts in a trailer, or in a cargo tank, a rollover crash may occur. According to the FMCSA, driver error, vehicle condition, and load size are the three primary causes of rollover crashes in tanker trucks. The FMCSA publication, “Keep the Load on the Road – A Driver’s Guide to Cargo Tank Truck Rollover Prevention,” offers more explanation of how rollover crashes occur:

  • Driver error – About 78 percent of rollover crashes involve driver error, and in 90 percent of those cases, some other dangerous event preceded the crash. Those preliminary causes may include drowsiness, inattention, and overcorrecting, when a truck veers out of its lane.
  • Vehicle condition – A poorly maintained vehicle may be more likely to roll over. One study found that 54 percent of trucks in rollover crashes had faulty brakes.
  • Load size – Drivers who are accustomed to carrying full loads may need to change how they drive when their cargo tanks aren’t full. About 63 percent of cargo tanker rollovers involved partial liquid loads, which the FMCSA says results in a “slosh and surge” effect.

Missouri Load-Related Crashes

In 2011, a tractor-trailer driver lost control of his truck on Interstate 44, near Springfield, and crashed, spilling his cargo of 40,000 pounds of mayonnaise on the highway.

Near St. Joseph, a truck carrying cattle veered off U.S. Highway 36 and hit a ditch, resulting in a rollover crash in October 2016. Cattle roaming the highway were the cause of two subsequent crashes, when drivers struck the animals in the road.

Both of these crashes illustrate how driver error can quickly cause a crash. When a driver loses control of a tractor-trailer, regaining control may be impossible, and trying to regain control too quickly can cause cargo to shift and force the truck onto its side.

Vehicle Maintenance Problems

Each year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts a commercial truck and bus inspection, called Roadcheck. The three-day effort involves inspections of thousands of vehicles and their drivers, and the “Level 1” inspection category is the most thorough. In October, the CVSA released results of its June inspection, which found:

  • In Level 1 vehicle inspections, 21.5 percent of trucks were placed out of service (OOS) for violations.
  • The top OOS violations included brake systems (27.4 percent), tires/wheels (18.5 percent), and brake adjustment (18.3 percent).
  • Of trucks carrying hazardous materials, 13 percent were placed OOS for violations.
  • The top OOS violation category for hazardous material trucks was shipping papers (27.6 percent), followed by loading & securement (26.2 percent).

Most drivers were found to have no violations, but of the roughly 4 percent placed OOS, almost half had violated federal hours of service rules that limit driving time for safety reasons.

Company and Driver Negligence

Trucking companies that don’t maintain their fleets as they should, or that force drivers to violate federal drive time rules are putting all drivers in danger. The odds of a crash increase with each known risk factor. For example, an inattentive truck driver may not necessarily cause a crash, but if that driver is also sleep-deprived and driving a rig with poor brakes and worn tires, a crash is more likely.

Help for the Injured

When the occupant of a passenger vehicle collides with a tractor-trailer, the results are often serious. Severe and disabling injuries may occur in such a crash, leaving victims with substantial and ongoing medical costs. And some insurance companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying crash victims for their medical costs, loss of income and associated expenses.

If you’ve been injured in a crash with a tractor-trailer and need help getting the insurance settlement you are due, call us today at 844-443-8385, or fill out our online contact form, to request your free, no-obligation consultation.