This morning over in Gary, Indiana, about half-past nine, a semi truck with a full load in a box trailer was on the northbound ramp of I-65, moving onto westbound I-80/94, when a sedan darted in front of the trucker forcing the truck driver to hit his brakes. No one knows what happened to the car, but most everyone trying to drive I-65 today knows what happened to the big rig; actually a 2001 Freightliner semi truck with fully loaded box-trailer.
The truck rolled over. Tipped on that curve in the ramp, and blocked traffic for six full hours.
Luckily, there were no serious injuries. The truck driver and his passenger were not seriously injured. The 40,000 pounds of watermelons were unharmed – they didn’t even roll out of the truck. You may find one of these melons at your grocery this week.
Truck Driver Held Responsible for Tipping Truck
The trucker didn’t escape injury from the Indiana State Police, however: Michael Kangas Jr. was found responsible for the wreck (forget that sedan driver, who was probably late to work) because the troopers found he was driving too fast on that ramp, and that he hadn’t properly safeguarded his watermelons in the trailer.
The trooper’s position: if the watermelons had been stored better, and if the truck had been going slower, the cargo would not have shifted and the truck would not have tipped over.
FYI: Mr. Kangas was driving the cargo of melons from Georgia to Morris, Indiana, on behalf of Exel Transfer and Storage of Green Bay.
Insecure Loads on Big Rigs Can Cause Serious Injuries and Wrongful Deaths in Semi Truck Crashes
The Indiana State Trooper probably knows how dangerous tipping cargo can be to drivers on the roads. Any kind of load, from melons to wood or pipe or car parts, will be heavy. That weight needs to be placed into the trailer carefully, following proper loading procedures.
Failure to follow loading standards means that all that weight — and weight is the key here, no matter what the cargo might be — will be insecure and increasing the risk that the truck driver might not be able to keep control of his rig.
Improperly loaded cargo can get loose and start flying out in bits, into the traffic behind the moving rig. Or, as the I-65 Melon Cargo Flip demonstrated today, without the right balance distribution of weight, cargo hauls can sway inside the trailer and force the entire big rig to fall over, onto its side.
Luckily, today’s accident was only a serious inconvenience and not the cause of a severe injury or death. For those of us driving the roadways with these huge trucks and their heavy cargo, the lesson is to give them lots of room and space on the roadways – better late to work then early to the ER.
Be careful out there.