The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded more than 3,900 fatalities and a total of over 104,000 injuries resulting from truck accidents in 2012. One of the most common causes for accidents recorded in this period was overloaded trucks.
There are federal and state laws that guide the loading of tractor trailers. These laws set limits on the weight of cargo that can be loaded on trucks. Trucks may be allowed to surpass these weight restrictions in some states. However, a special permit is required for this.
How Overweight Trucks Cause Accidents
Overloading a truck can result in a catastrophic motor vehicle collision with multiple seriously injured victims. There are many ways overweight trucks can cause accidents. These include:
- The weight may be too much for the tires, causing one or more to burst.
- The weight may cause the vehicle to go down hills too fast.
- The weight may be too much for the truck to drag up a hill and may cause the truck to move too slowly up the hill. Moving too slowly up a hill poses a risk to other road users who may be approaching the truck around blind corners.
- The weight will cause the truck to be more difficult to bring to a stop. The truck may require a longer distance to come to a stop.
- The extra weight puts extra strain on the truck’s braking system especially when traveling downhill. The stress on the brakes may result in brake failure.
- Overloading results in raising the center of gravity of the truck. This increases the risk of a rollover accident.
- The extra weight may be too much for roads, bridges, and overpasses where the truck may travel resulting in the collapse of these structures.
- The extra weight also puts a strain on the vehicle’s mechanisms. This makes the truck hard to control and steer.
Who is Responsible?
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation. One of the first steps in seeking compensation is to identify the parties that can be held liable for the accident. Parties that may be held liable for a truck accident caused by an overweight truck include:
- The trucking company
- The truck driver
- The loading company
- Government officials and entities that are responsible for weighing stations that may have allowed the overweight truck to continue with its journey.
- Shipping companies that are responsible for the loading of trailers.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a trucking accident, please find an experienced truck accident law firm now.