Hard braking causes small load to come loose — Could trucker have prevented it?

| May 30, 2014

Preventable0112While dropping off a palletized load of drums for a pool supply shop, truck driver John Doe supervised the unloading process briefly, exchanged paperwork and then ran to the shop’s employee vending area to grab a cup of coffee. 

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When Doe returned to his truck, he saw the shop’s forklift operator loading a 55-gallon drum onto his flatbed. It needed to go across town to the pool supply shop’s other location. So Doe found some rope and secured the drum to a section of rub rail by the rear door. The rest of the trailer now was empty.

Just after leaving the supply shop, Doe was heading down the highway at 55 mph, following another truck. 

Suddenly, a deer came out of the trees to the right of the highway and ran in front of the truck Doe was following. The driver of that rig hit the brakes hard, and Doe followed suit. 

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The hard braking caused the lone drum on Doe’s trailer to break free and slide down the length of the metal-floored trailer. It smashed into the header and damaged it severely. 

Doe’s carrier hit him with a preventable accident warning, which he promptly contested. 

The National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee was asked to make a final ruling and quickly ruled in Doe’s favor, saying he had been traveling at a safe speed for the conditions and was following at a safe distance. The stop was totally controlled, the committee ruled, and Doe had no way of anticipating that the pool supply shop’s rope was faulty. 

This was an adaptation of Overdrive sister site CCJ‘s “Preventable or not?” series, which appears regularly on CCJdigital.com.

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  • Michael Mark McFadden

    Looking at the cargo damage situation… The driver is 100% at fault. When the drum was loaded onto the trailer, he should have thought ahead of that possibility. With that said, a smart trucker (who does NOT have a good strap and E-Trac) would have secured the drum at the nose of the trailer to prevent that from happening.

  • Michelle

    A rope to secure a 55 gallon drum? Really driver?
    I haven’t been flatbedding long, but even I know that’s not considered proper securement.

  • AMR10

    “So Doe found some rope and secured the drum to a section of rub rail by the rear door.”

    Where’s the rear door on a flatbed????

  • Mike

    still think if he had been following at a safe distance he would not have had to brake so hard to dislodge the drum so yes it was his fault.

  • Richard Wilson

    Prevenatble, unsecured load and following to close for the conditions, sorry!

  • Deborah L

    Doesn’t state what type of a chemical was loaded but I doubt if it were flammable, so a chain might have been a better option. At the least 2 rachet straps would be better than 1 item. It seems like too much caution is thrown to the wind.

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  • Jim Kennedy

    What does North American Cargo securement say regarding Percentages and load factors regarding weights and chains?