Why Overloaded Trucks are Dangerous

What is the big deal with truck weight limits, and what effect can exceeding load limits have on accidents? Have you ever wondered why New Mexico has truck weigh stations? The answers to such questions are significant. The risks of overloaded trucks include:

  • Longer stopping time/distance – each extra pound of weight a truck carries adds to the amount of time it takes for that truck to stop. Naturally that means that it requires a longer distance for that truck to make a sudden stop. If that seems insignificant, consider the difference ten feet could make if a large semi came up behind a compact car or a pedestrian. What would the effect be if the truck was slowed to 10 miles per hour versus 30 miles per hour?

  • Tire failure – increases weight puts more friction on tires, increasing heat, and adding to the risk of blowout. Blowouts on semis are dangerous both for the truck itself and for nearby cars.

  • Tipping/Overturn – a heavier load, especially if it is unbalanced produces a greater risk of load tipping, causing the whole truck to overturn. This is especially of concern in curvy areas.

Obviously, truck drivers put themselves at risk when driving overloaded trucks, but they also risk the lives of hundreds of drivers they pass by every day.

Why Overload Trucks?

If overloaded trucks are so dangerous, why do it? The answer is simple: profit margin. Trucking companies have to pay a driver a set amount to travel a certain distance, regardless of how much he has in his load. Obviously, the more product he has on that load, the more money the company makes. Adding even 2% over load limits increases profits over time. Companies driven to make a profit in tough economic times sometimes make choices of money over safety. People who might be responsible for the overloaded truck include:

  • Truck Drivers – They may not load the truck, but they may have to sign off on a load document and turn a blind eye to the extra weight.

  • Shipping Companies – The companies who contract shipping services may be the ones determining how much goes on each truck.

  • Manufacturers – Whether a manufacturer has its own trucking line or contracts their shipping, they are often the ones responsible for determining how much gets sent out on each truck.

Legal Ramifications for Overloaded Trucks

People get hurt as a result of overloaded trucks. Unfortunately, many of those injured are innocent parties who had nothing to do with the overloaded truck. Although laws are in place to determine truck load limits, there is little enforcement. How many times have you driven past a truck weigh station that was closed? At Killian Davis Richter & Mayle, we represent all sides of the spectrum, ensuring justice, and protecting the innocent. When it comes to overloaded trucks we can help:

  • Injured Persons – If you were involved in an accident and there is a possibility the truck involved was overloaded, call us to find out how we can help prosecute those responsible.

  • Family Members – If a loved one was killed in an accident with an overloaded truck, you should be compensated for wrongful death.

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