What does the physicist Sir Isaac Newton have to do with preventing trucking accidents? Quite a lot, it turns out.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets rules on trucks and how they carry their load. They used Newton’s second law of motion to determine how truckers should load their vehicle safely.
How physics controls the action when a truck’s load moves
When a truck brakes, accelerates or turns, it applies considerable force to any load it is carrying. Truck drivers need to arrange the goods they haul to handle 0.5g of forward deceleration, 0.5 g of backward acceleration and 0.5 g of lateral acceleration.
A poorly loaded truck is dangerous for the driver, and other road uses. If the cargo slops about, it will affect the vehicle’s handling and make it more vulnerable to the wind. If the load is not tied down securely, it could work loose and fall off the back or side. A falling item could hit and kill someone in another vehicle. Even if it misses everyone, it could cause a multi-car accident as drivers try to swerve around the fallen debris.
Trucking companies and drivers continue to violate safety rules
Every two years, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) carries out a three-day check of commercial vehicles to comply with the rules. In 2019 they removed 12% of the trucks they stopped from service due to cargo rules violations.
There is no excuse for loading violations. There is a wealth of technology available to calculate if a truck is safely loaded or not. Equipment for securing these loads has also come a long way. A poorly loaded truck can have devastating repercussions for other road users if cargo becomes loose and causes an accident. If you or your loved ones have fallen victim to a trucking company’s negligence, find out more about your right to compensation for your losses.