Commercial truck drivers and motor carriers have stringent rules and regulations they must follow; they are under greater scrutiny because of the damage that can be caused by their errors.
In the many years I have handled trucking cases, I have seen many careless acts by professional drivers and motor carriers.
But mistakes like this one are truly shocking.
Last week, an enormous steel beam fell off a semi truck on I-90 in Bellevue, Washington.
This 12-ton beam could have caused fatal injuries. Look at how it shattered the pavement. It’s not hard to imagine what would have happened if this truck’s load—equal to 2 fully-grown elephants—was dropped on a passing car.
How did 24,000 pounds of steel fall off a semi truck on the highway?
Trucking companies are required to have a plan for every trip.
The trucker’s route is planned and checked for clearance. The cargo is weighed, loaded and secured. Everything is inspected.
Without knowing any more details, we can identify at least two clear failures.
- The truck’s cargo was not properly secured.
- No one checked the load—or, no one noticed it was not properly secured.
It’s easy to blame truckers; they are the most visible people in a transport operation. But there are lot of others involved.
Sometimes the folks securing a load are not qualified. Or the loading company doesn’t have a process for considering each and every necessary aspect of securing a load.
Someone failed to do their job. It is sheer chance that no one was killed.
A zero tolerance policy is required for trucking safety failures simply because of the incredible damages that such failures can cause.
Hope is not a plan—each load must have a plan carefully considered and implemented, checked and double checked.
Nothing less is acceptable.
Here’s what happened: