SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A flatbed big rig driver died Jan. 4 when sheet metal he was hauling abruptly slid forward, smashed through the cab, and struck the driver.
The cargo slid forward after the driver, for unknown reasons, abruptly slowed his vehicle down while traveling eastbound on Interstate 8 in Harbison Canyon, according to the California Highway Patrol. Steel sheets and heavy-duty grinders crashed through the cab and into the driver.
Authorities have not identified the victim. No other parties were reportedly involved.
Additional details about factors contributing to the accident have not been released.
Commentary on the fatal San Diego, California accident
What a senseless and preventable accident had those responsible for securing the load adequately performed their job. Employers have a duty to protect employees from dangers present in the workplace. Properly securing cargo is of the highest importance and must be undertaken with care. My firm has handled several cases involving the negligent transport of freight. Failing to secure freight properly puts the driver and the general public’s safety at risk. In my experience, freight improperly secured nearly always ends in tragedy.
One of the primary issues, in this case, arises at the time of loading. A detailed investigation must be conducted to determine the company responsible for securing this load and any processes adhered to in properly performing this duty. It is clear something went awry, but it is difficult to pinpoint where that misstep occurred without professional opinions. To complicate matters, this case will likely involve multiple parties, each represented by sophisticated counsel, seeking to shift blame.
It is important to recognize that oftentimes the driver has no part in loading or securing a load. A driver’s role in the shipping process is to move material from Point A to Point B. The party responsible for securing freight properly, typically, falls on the broker or seller that contracted for the material’s movement. A detailed investigation will uncover the roles of each party involved and the accompanying culpability.
I extend my condolences to the family and friends of the deceased and hope for healing in the wake of this tragic loss.
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