Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

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When it's okay to cry over spilled milk (or other cargo)

Every motor vehicle accident scene has the potential to be a complicated mess, thanks to debris, injured parties and increasing levels of traffic congestion in the area. When a tractor trailer is one of the vehicles involved in the crash, it can take "mess" to a whole new level.

Commercial vehicles are typically hauling tens of thousands of pounds of cargo. When a truck crashes, this cargo can spill, creating an additional and troubling hazard for people in the area.

Think about this: If a truck crashes with another vehicle and overturns, cargo can be rattled, displaced and spill out. Liquids can seep into the ground; boxes and other products can fly out onto the road, creating unavoidable hazards for other drivers; livestock can get loose and run away or attack bystanders. If the cargo is toxic, there is an even more serious risk to people in the area.

Because of all the damage that can be done by spilled cargo, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has very strict rules and regulations regarding what can be transported via truck and how it must be secured.

Unfortunately, not every truck driver and company complies with these rules as closely as they should. They take short cuts in securing items, overload a vehicle or carry things they should not be carrying. And the people who ultimately pay the price for these failures are the people who wind up sharing the road with an improperly loaded or secured truck.

Failure to comply with state and federal trucking regulations is not just a troubling safety violation; it is also a reckless and negligent act that threatens the lives of other people. In the event that a cargo spill leads to serious damages, the parties responsible for the spill can and should be held accountable for the devastating toll their mistake has taken on others.

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