Driving on the highway with a large truck is scary enough but having to share the road with a trucker whose load is uncovered is even more frightening. Not only might the cargo being carried fall out of the truck, but it could cause a major accident involving another motorist. For instance, if a truck driver is transporting produce from one location to another and it is uncovered, the wind or even roadway conditions could cause some of the produce to spill over and hit the cars driving nearby or behind the truck. This, in turn, could lead to drivers attempting to swerve out of the way of the falling produce and either crash into another vehicle or drive off the roadway.
Now, if you recently witnessed a truck driver operating a vehicle with an uncovered load or your vehicle was the one to sustain damage after contents from an uncovered truck fell from it and hit your car, you should know that there are laws that prohibit this. According to Article 1, Section 23114(a) of the California Vehicle Code, “a vehicle shall not be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is so constructed, covered, or loaded as to prevent any of its contents or load other than clear water or feathers from live birds from dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing, spilling, or otherwise escaping from the vehicle.”
Now, aside from trucks carrying produce and other goods, many also carry and transport aggregate materials, such as sand or crushed stone. When a trucker is transporting this type of material, it must be carried in the cargo area of their vehicle and “the cargo area shall not contain any holes, cracks, or openings through which that material may escape, regardless of the degree to which the vehicle is loaded.” A truck that is used to transport aggregate materials must be equipped with the following:
- “Properly functioning seals on any openings used to empty the load, including, bottom dump release gates and tailgates.”
- Every tire or set of tires must be equipped with splash flaps behind every tire, despite “the position on the truck, truck tractor, or trailer.”
- Center flaps must be placed “at a location to the rear of each bottom dump release gate” given the truck has them.
- “Fenders starting at the splash flap with the leading edge of the fenders extending forward at least six inches beyond the center of the axle that cover the tops of tires not already covered by the truck, truck tractor, or trailer body”
- All vertical sides of the cargo area should be completely enclosed.
- The truck should be equipped with shed boards that are “designed to prevent aggregate materials from being deposited on the vehicle body during top loading.”
Now, although certain aggregate materials may seem harmless, when they fall from a moving vehicle that is traveling at a fast rate of speed, they can cause serious damage to a vehicle and even contribute to an accident occurring.
In the event a truck driver in Sacramento, CA has violated one or more of the laws stipulated above which caused the contents being transported to fall off the truck and hit your vehicle or cause an accident, you are encouraged to contact a Sacramento, CA truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. They may be able to help you file a claim against the truck driver and/or the company in which they work for to recover the compensation to cover the cost of the damage they caused as well as any other expenses that have arisen as a result of the violation.