Serious Accidents Caused by Overloaded Trucks
While the general perception is that trucking accidents are caused by unsafe driving, there are other factors involved in accidents involving large commercial trucks. When an 18-wheeler is too heavy, the momentum of the truck is changed, making it more difficult to stop and more likely to skid out of control during a minor swerve. Even though there are laws in place which dictate weight and height limits, these laws may be circumvented in the interests of getting a load delivered quickly.
Therefore, not only is there the safety hazard of an overloaded truck, the driver is likely exceeding the speed limit as well to get the load to its destination. Recently an entire load of telephone books spilled out onto a busy freeway; the truck was overloaded and the load was improperly secured as well. While this particular accident resulted in no fatalities, there were a number of injuries, minor to serious. Overloaded trucks can cause accidents due to any of the following:
- Tires on the truck that burst from excess weight;
- Worn brakes due to friction caused by the overloading;
- Road collapses from trucks that exceed proper weight ratings;
- Roll-overed trucks whose center of gravity is shifted from overloading;
- Excess weight that adds momentum to a truck traveling downhill and severely slows it down when traveling up an incline.
- An overloaded truck whose weight is shifted to the rear of the truck, making steering much more difficult; and
- Partially loaded tanker trucks carrying liquids that slosh back and forth, upsetting the natural center of gravity of the truck.
In short, overloaded trucks or those with improperly secured loads can be a hazard to all other vehicles on the road. Even though each state has independent control over the legal load limits for trucks, because so many trucks travel cross-country, there are DOT load limits in place as well. Those trucks which are oversized or over the weight limits are required to obtain a special permit, display appropriate caution warnings, drive during specific hours and, in some cases, have accompanying pilot cars in front and back to warn motorists.
Are Weigh Station Checks Enough to Ensure our Safety?
While many cases of overloaded trucks are deliberate, other times they are the result of an inexperienced truck driver. The turnover rate of truck drivers in the United States is extremely high meaning relatively inexperienced drivers may be taking the place of more experienced drivers. Weigh stations are set up at state lines and other places within the states as well in order to weigh and inspect large commercial trucks. The checks are random, meaning many overloaded trucks remain on the road. Even if an overloaded or oversize truck is detected at a weigh station, this does not necessarily mean the truck will be prohibited from returning to the road. Most likely the driver will receive a ticket and be sent on their way, while others could be detained until an overweight permit is issued.
Contact Lundy Law Now for a Free Case Evaluation!
If you notice a truck which looks dangerously overloaded or oversized, keep your distance, especially if the load does not appear to be properly secured. If you were injured by an overloaded or oversized truck, seek legal help immediately. There is usually more than one defendant involved in a trucking accident – i.e., the driver could be at fault, the trucking company may bear some of the responsibility, the manufacturer of the truck could be at fault, or even the maintenance company or loading company could have been responsible for the accident. The personal injury attorneys at Lundy Law are highly experienced in handling all types of trucking accidents, regardless of how challenging or complex. Call us today at 1-800-LundyLaw. We look forward to fighting for your rights, and helping you obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve.