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When Does a Truck Driver Have to Inspect Cargo? Albuquerque Trucking Accident Lawyer Explains

Understanding When Truck Drivers Need to Inspect Cargo: Albuquerque Trucking Accident Lawyer Shares a Secret to Win Unsecured Cargo Cases!

Large commercial vehicles like 18 wheelers, flatbeds, semi tractor trailers, and other big rigs haul cargo.  Big cargo.  That is what they do.  Most companies do a good job at it too.  But unfortunately many trucking companies will cut corners, not follow the law, or simply not care how they secure their cargo.  Some do not inspect their cargo at all after the truck leaves the dock. Our Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer knows that unsecured cargo or improperly secured cargo can lead to awful New Mexico trucking accidents which result in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.  This is because cargo falling off of a fast-moving big rig becomes a wrecking ball on a highway or interstate like I-10, I-40, and I-25.  Cargo can easily shred through other vehicles it hits, or create deadly roadblocks for other vehicles behind a tractor trailer. 

Generally speaking, whenever cargo falls off of a large commercial vehicle like a semi tractor trailer, box truck, flatbed, or other 18 wheeler, it is usually the fault of the truck driver and trucking company.  This means that victims who are hit by falling debris, collide with fallen cargo, or who are otherwise injured by an unsecured load being trucked by a big rig may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.  Compensation could be for pain and suffering, lost wages, lost future earnings, medical bills, property damage, future surgeries, loss of dependency from spouses and children, and other damages.  Call the Albuquerque trucking accident lawyers at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. if you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been wrongfully killed in a New Mexico trucking accident by unsecured loads or falling cargo.

When Truck Drivers Must Inspect Their Cargo

Large commercial trucks haul significant cargo.  This cargo is a threat to the health and safety of all people on or around the roadway.  This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted certain regulations which apply to all drivers and companies operating commercial vehicles.  These regulations apply in addition to New Mexico law!

When it comes to inspecting cargo, whether it is inside a box truck or tied down on a flatbed, 49 CFR section 392.9 requires a truck driver to do perform certain checks on cargo.  These provide the following:

BEFORE MOVING – A truck driver must comply with federal regulations how to properly secure cargo and a delivery load.  Once that has been performed, the truck driver must perform a full cargo check that all cargo is secured, has not shifted while the securing was going on, and the cargo is safe.  This is BEFORE the truck even leaves the dock!

WITHIN 50 MILES OF A NEW TRIP – Once a truck driver begins driving the 18 wheeler, a truck driver must stop within the first 50 miles and re-inspect all cargo or loads for shifting, damage, or other securement failures.  A truck driver is required to add additional securement devices if necessary to prevent the cargo from moving.

CHANGES OF DUTY STATUS – A truck driver can only be “on shift” for 14 hours before being required to have 10 hours “off shift.”  If in the middle of a delivery, the truck driver must reexamine the cargo and all securement devices.

DRIVING FOR 3 HOURS – Once a truck driver has given for three hours, the cargo must be inspected again to ensure there has been no shifting or movement.  A truck driver must again place new securement devices if there are any signs the present devices are failing.

DRIVEN OVER 150 MILES – When a commercial truck has gone more than 150 miles, a truck driver must again get out of his or her vehicle and inspect the cargo to ensure there are no shifting, damaging, or other signs that additional securement devices are needed.

How to Prove an Unsecured Cargo Case: Albuquerque Trucking Accident Lawyer

When cargo or an unsecured loads falls off of a semi tractor trailer, the first thing that must be done is an investigation into when and if the required inspections are performed.  These must be noted in the truck driver’s logbook.  If they are not, an individual who is injured may be able to prove that a violation of the inspection regulations under part 392.9 was the cause of the cargo falling off the truck.  

This makes it very likely that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies.  This is the doctrine where a defendant will be found liable if 1) the defendant had exclusive control over the instrumentality which caused the harm, 2) the incident that happened does not normally happen absent negligence, and 3) the victim did not contribute to the incident.  Where cargo falls off of a truck and directly onto another vehicle, or falls off of a truck and another vehicle cannot avoid the cargo in the roadway before colliding with it, it is likely that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur will apply in a New Mexico trucking accident. 

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or wrongfully killed in a New Mexico 18 wheeler wreck by falling cargo or unsecured loads, please call our Albuquerque trucking accident lawyers at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. to learn how we can help you today by dialing (505) 883-5000.  We handle cases throughout New Mexico, including in Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Roswell, Farmington, Hobbs, Lordsburg, or anywhere else in the state, including Albuquerque where our law office is located. You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

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