What Are California’s Safety Regulations For Trucks Carrying Produce (And Spilling It All Over The Place)?

From time to time, we stumble across stories and photos of trucks spilling food and fluids on the road, causing motor vehicle accidents and wreaking havoc on highways. In fact, you may have even witnessed a commercial truck carrying produce spill fluids or food in front of your vehicle, and probably thought to yourself, “Wait are there any safety regulations for commercial trucks transporting produce?”
This is the question our Los Angeles truck accident attorney from Compass Law Group, P.C., has recently received from one of our readers named Sam, who luckily managed to avoid a car crash when cucumbers and other vegetables fell from the cargo of a commercial truck driving in front of his vehicle in Los Angeles.

When cucumbers land onto your windshield…

“It was a joyful Friday evening for me. I was driving home from work, listening to Imagine Dragons’ new album, when, out of the blue, a huge commercial truck merged into my lane. I mean, merging into my lane would not be a big deal even though the way the truck did it clearly violated traffic laws. But what happened next sends shivers down my spine to this very day… The truck was loaded with cucumbers and other vegetables, which were not covered, and I have a reason to believe that the truck was overloaded with the produce. I remember thinking to myself, “Wait, what if a cucumber falls from the truck’s cargo and splashes onto my windshield?” And right when I was thinking it, it happened. A few cucumbers fell from the truck and one of them landed onto my windshield. Clearly, I lost control of my car and nearly crashed into a vehicle driving on my left. By a miracle, I managed to regain control of my car and avoided what could have become a devastating multi-vehicle crash caused by a truck… But what if I did get into an accident because of the cucumbers? Would I be able to hold the truck driver liable for the accident? And are there any regulations for commercial trucks carrying produce? Aren’t they required to cover the fresh produce or, at least, refrain from overloading their cargo to prevent spillage? Kind regards, Sam.”

California’s safety regulations for covering, securing, and loading of truck cargo

“Thank you for your question, Sam,” answers our truck accident attorney Los Angeles. First and foremost, we are very glad that you managed to regain control of your vehicle in a timely manner and avoided a collision. We do understand why recalling this incident sends shivers down your spine.
Clearly, the way the truck was loaded was against the law, as California has established strict regulations for commercial trucks transporting fresh produce to prevent spillage. Failure to comply with these laws may lead to debris on the road, or worse, motor vehicle accidents involving injuries or fatalities.
Under California law, truckers are prohibited from operating trucks with improperly covered, secured, or loaded cargo. A truck’s cargo must be covered, secured, and loaded in a manner that prevents spills, drips, leaks, sifts, and falls. There is an exception to this rule, as the only contents that are allowed to fall from a truck’s cargo are feathers from live birds and clear water (but only when the amount is adequate).

Can a trucking company be held liable for spillage of food?

In your particular case, the truck driver and his or her trucking company can be held liable for spilling cucumbers on the road. Even though the incident did not lead to a motor vehicle crash, the trucking company is still responsible for the costs incurred to clean up the mess caused by the spillage of food.
Both the truck driver and his/her trucking company have the responsibility to ensure that their cargo or fresh produce is properly secured, loaded, and covered. Clearly, the vegetables were negligently loaded onto the truck in your particular case, which means the truck driver and/or his or her trucking company failed to comply with California’s safety regulations for commercial trucks carrying produce.
If you or your family member were injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by spillage from a truck, consult with our Los Angeles truck accident attorney from Compass Law Group, P.C.

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