An overloaded truck is one of the most dangerous types of vehicles you may encounter on the road. If a tractor-trailer, semi-truck or big rig is carrying a load that is too heavy for the vehicle to safely transport, or if a truck is carrying an oversized load without a proper permit, this can create the perfect breeding ground for disaster. An overloaded truck will be more difficult to maneuver, will take longer to stop and may even result in brake, steering or suspension system failure.
If you were driving and were involved in a collision with a large truck, one of the issues to consider is whether the truck may have been overloaded or imbalanced. An improperly loaded truck could mean that fault will lie with the truck driver or trucking company, not on your shoulders. With a truck accident lawyer at Pacific Attorney Group to investigate the cause of your accident and represent your interests in your insurance claim or lawsuit, you can rest assured that any negligence on the part of the trucking company or truck driver will be exposed so you can seek maximum compensation for your injuries.
Understanding Overloaded Truck Hazards
According to regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the weight of a commercial truck should not exceed 20,000 pounds per axle, usually to a maximum of 80,000 pounds for an entire vehicle. With special permits, however, some trucks may be able to weigh more than 80,000 pounds. There are also certain roadways and bridges where lower maximum weights are in place because the roads cannot support more than a certain amount.
When the cargo on a truck exceeds the vehicle’s maximum weight limit, is not in compliance with federal regulations or exceeds the weight for a road, this can cause an accident. The following are some of the most prevalent dangers associated with overloaded trucks, making them more prone to be involved in traffic accidents:
- The weight in an overloaded truck will shift to the rear of the vehicle, taking weight off the front of the vehicle and reducing the driver’s ability to safely steer the vehicle.
- An overloaded truck will take longer to slow down and come to a complete stop. This is particularly dangerous on steep hills, where the truck may begin traveling faster and faster out of a driver’s control.
- An overloaded truck will be more difficult to maneuver in emergency situations, like debris in the roadway or sudden changes in traffic.
- An extremely heavy truck load, exceeding the vehicle’s limits, will put undue pressure on the brakes. This can even result in brake failure in some cases.
- A truck that exceeds the weight capacity of a road or bridge could cause the road to collapse.
- Too much weight on a truck could result in the tires bursting, even while the truck is in motion on the highway or other roadway.
- An overloaded truck has a higher center of gravity, and this can increase the chances of a rollover.
In addition to these factors, an overloaded truck may cause a more serious collision due to the higher force of impact. This may mean that a victim or victims’ injuries will be more severe and may result in loss of life.