Truck Accidents Involving Cargo Spills

Truck Accidents Involving Cargo SpillsIt is understandable why some drivers become nervous when driving alongside commercial trucks. There are so many scenarios where a truck accident can suddenly happen. In addition to the size and weight of the commercial truck, it is difficult to determine the truck driver’s state of mind behind the wheel. The truck driver can be fully rested and attentive, or the truck driver could be drowsy or under the influence while driving. Even if the truck driver is fully attentive, a truck accident can still occur due to the cargo falling or spilling from the truck.

Common causes of cargo spill truck accidents

Like many trucking accidents, truck accidents involving cargo spills are sudden and can cause additional damage to other motorists. These types of accidents are almost always preventable, too. Some of the common causes that lead to these types of accidents are:

Loss of control

Truck drivers can lose control of the truck through equipment failure. When defective parts of a truck break down, such as a tire blowing out, the truck driver may lose control.

Bad weather and hazardous road conditions can also cause a trucker to lose control without warning. Black ice in particular can cause a truck to slide, and snow or sleet could cause a driver to miss signs of potential hazards, like blind curves or steep gradients. In some cases, poor road maintenance (like loose gravel or debris on the road) or road defects (like sinkholes) can also cause a driver to lose control of a commercial truck.

Drifting into another lane

On negligent action that causes cargo to spill from a commercial truck is unexpectedly drifting into another vehicle’s lane. If the drift is the result of intoxication, drowsiness, or distraction, the fault may fall squarely on the driver.

However, a truck driver could fail to notice a passenger vehicle in their blind spots and decide to switch lanes. If this happens, the impact of the collision could be enough to knock cargo loose.


Another common cause for truck accidents involving cargo spills is speeding. Truck drivers responsible for carrying cargo should travel at a regular and safe speed while transporting the cargo. Even if the driver is under a tight deadline, he or she shouldn’t speed while driving with an attached load. Speeding reduces the amount of time for a driver to safely react to any changes in traffic. Should a truck driver have to come to sudden stop, he or she will most likely slam on the brakes, causing the attached cargo to shift. In a worst-case scenario, the truck coupe tip or rollover, spilling cargo across the road in all directions.

Improper loading of the truck

Truck drivers are not the only parties whose actions can lead to a potential truck accident involving spilled cargo. When the employees responsible for loading cargo on a truck do not adequately secure the load, it can cause the cargo to shift while the truck is moving. There are specific, proper loading techniques that employees must follow to prevent the additional weight of the shipment from tipping the truck over. If the cargo contains loose or small parts that can quickly become unattached, the small parts can spill inside the trailer and even lead to a rollover accident.

Turning too quickly

Just like speeding can cause cargo to fall from a commercial truck, taking a turn too quickly can cause cargo to spill as well. When truck drivers turn too quickly while entering or exiting a ramp, going around a curve, or trying to make a turn at a corner, the truck has the potential of becoming unbalanced and swaying over on one side, essentially creating a rollover accident. In addition to a rollover accident, the cargo can become unattached, strike any vehicles surrounding the truck, or a combination of both. accident.

What makes truck accidents involving cargo spills so dangerous?

The damage from truck accidents is already catastrophic and life-threatening for motorists. When cargo also spills from a truck accident, it can widen the net of the damage. Some of the cargo types transported on commercial trucks range from heavy tractor equipment to animal livestock to hazardous and toxic materials. If any of these types of cargo were to fall from a commercial truck and collide with another vehicle, a fatal accident can occur.

But cargo does not need to be big to be deadly. Small pieces of debris or cargo can fall on a windshield or bounce in the road and kick up into a window. Even if the cargo does not piece the glass, it can shatter it, leaving a driver essentially blind (and likely panicked). This can increase the chance that the driver slam on his or her brakes, swerves into another lane, and/or hits another vehicle.

How do cargo spills containing hazardous or toxic chemicals make truck accidents worse?

Any cargo spill can cause additional damage to any surrounding motorists; however, when the cargo on the commercial truck contains hazardous or toxic chemicals, there is other danger that motorists are exposed to on the roads. Truck drivers can transport hazardous chemicals that are highly explosive, flammable, or lethal. Whatever the makeup of the chemical, when other motorists are exposed to the chemicals, there can be serious threats to a driver’s health. Drivers who come into contact with these chemicals can suffer irritation to their eyes, respiratory system, and even their skin.

If you or a loved one are injured in a collision with a commercial truck, The Hayden Law Firm is here to take on your case. We work to secure fair and just financial compensation for your injuries and losses. Please call our offices at 314-480-3100 or complete our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation. We proudly serve clients in St. Louis and throughout Missouri and Illinois.