It’s been a while since we read an amusing story about a truck cargo spill, so many of you will be thrilled to read about this saliva-inducing incident that took place on an Arizona highway.
But before we get to the meat and potatoes of the recent truck cargo spill, it is important to note that not all cargo spills are amusing or funny. “In fact, when a commercial truck is inadequately loaded or the cargo is improperly secured, the cargo spill can cause a devastating motor vehicle crash involving injuries or even fatalities,” warns a Phoenix trucking accident lawyer at Lorona Mead.
Chocolatey cargo spill on a highway in Arizona
Earlier this month, an improperly loaded truck spilled chocolate all over an Arizona highway, making the scene look like a river of chocolate… literally. The cargo spill was caused by a tanker roll-over. The tanker had been carrying a 40,000-pound load of liquid chocolate, which was heated to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (in case you are wondering, 40,000 pounds is equivalent to about 3,500 gallons).
The chocolate was spilled on the pavement and into the ditch near the highway. The truck cargo spill occurred on Interstate 40 east of Flagstaff. There was so much chocolate that authorities had to close the westbound lanes for four hours.
“Why did they close those lanes?” you may be wondering. Well, for starters, to prevent hungry and thrill-seeking motorists from diving into the river of chocolate to take selfies. And, obviously, to clean up the mess, because, as you can imagine, chocolate on the surface of the pavement can make the road slippery and wet, which, in turn, can cause more car accidents.
Federal regulations for securing and loading truck cargo
Truck cargo spill accidents are not as rare as you think. And the vast majority of them are not as amusing and fun as that chocolatey cargo spill in Arizona. Our experienced trucking accident lawyer in Phoenix says that there are strict federal rules for preventing cargo spill accidents.
Almost two decades ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposed a series of cargo load limits as well as required standards for loading, securing, and bracing cargo for trucks.
Under federal law, it is illegal to operate a commercial truck unless its cargo is properly secured and loaded to prevent cargo spills. Federal regulations for loading and securing cargo include but is not limited to:
- Proper use of tiedowns and other equipment;
- Cargo placement and restraint;
- Adequate maintenance and inspection of the truck cargo before and during the trip;
- Performance requirements depending on the type of cargo carried;
- Anchor points; and
- Many more.
Liability in truck cargo spill accidents
In case you were injured in a truck crash caused by cargo spill, determining liability may not be as easy as you might think. That’s because the truck driver may not be the only party responsible for inspection, maintenance, management, and operation of the truck. Typically, a trucking company may hire a third-party contractor or assign a special employee to load and secure truck cargo.