Accidents Caused by Overloaded Trucks
Truck Accident Lawsuits
Overloaded, overweight trucks pose a very serious danger on our nation's roadways. When a truck has more weight than it can safely carry, stopping is much more difficult, and the truck is much more likely to get out of control when swerving to avoid a collision or an animal in the road. Overloaded trucks can damage the brake and steering system of the truck. An overweight truck is an accident waiting to happen, and when trucks are involved in accidents, the results can be catastrophic and deadly due to their massive size and weight.
Trucking Laws and Weigh Stations
Trucking laws determine how much weight a certain commercial truck can carry, how heavy the load can be, what the combined weight of the load and the truck can be, how much weight can be on each axle, and how much weight can be on the tires. The amount of weight is not the only factor to be considered. How the weight is distributed on the truck is also very important to truck safety as distribution of the weight also affects how the truck handles.
We have all probably seen signs on bridges and under/overpasses indicating the maximum weight allowed or the maximum height that can be cleared. These warning signs cannot be ignored as they are there to prevent damage and/or collapse of the structure.
Weigh stations are set up all along the highways in the United States and serve as checkpoints where trucks are supposed to stop, get weighed and get inspected. Weigh stations will check for truck and load weight, illegal cargo, falsely reported cargo, and compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) laws. If an overweight truck is detected at a weigh station, the driver may only be given a ticket. This allows a dangerous truck with an unsafe weight right back on our roadways. Other violators may be detained until an overweight permit is issued or the weight can be reduced somehow.
Overloaded Trucks Cause Major Problems
There are a variety of ways that overloaded trucks are dangerous and cause accidents:
- Tires can burst when there is too much weight.
- Overweight trucks, when going downhill, travel much too fast and are difficult to control.
- The added weight adds momentum which can mean too much stress on the brakes causing brake failure.
- Overweight trucks need much longer stopping distance.
- Overloaded trucks can have the weight shift in the truck causing steering difficulties.
- An overloaded truck is more likely to roll over due to a raised center of gravity.
- An overloaded truck can cause a bridge or overpass to collapse, killing massive amounts of people.
Most of the time, truckers are responsible for the weight of their load. They must ensure that it not only meets the weight requirement but that it is distributed properly and is secured. On rare occasions, a load may be sealed, and the driver is not permitted to look at it.
Ensuring truck load safety is the responsibility of several parties including the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck loading companies, and weigh station officials.
If you or a loved one is a victim of a truck accident, please contact an experienced truck accident attorney for a free claim evaluation.
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