Overloading Trucks and Truck Accidents


The goal of most trucking companies is to get the greatest amount of goods transported over the shortest amount of time to obtain the highest possible profit. All too often truckers and truck companies try to overload their vehicles, making them unsafe when travelling at highway speeds. Semi-trucks are already more susceptible to rollover accidents and overloading them with additional cargo may make them even more dangerous. Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks are a danger not only to the truck drivers, but also to all other vehicles travelling on the roads with them. Overloading and improperly loaded trucks is a leading cause of truck accidents in the U.S. today.

Each state is responsible for regulating vehicle loads, but most trucks travel the Interstate Highway system and are subject to Department of Transportation load limits. In cases where loads are oversized, special temporary permits may be issued. Additional markings for an oversize load must accompany the vehicle and in some cases, pilot vehicles must accompany the truck.

Besides overloading, there are other dangerous issues involving cargo transport:

• Improperly loaded trucks – Improper loads can through a truck off balance, making it more susceptible to rollover accidents.

• Half full liquid containers – Tanker trucks ride better when full. Partially full tanker trucks are subject to sloshing which actually moves the center of gravity on a truck, affecting trailer sway. Inexperienced drivers trying to manage a partial liquid load may not be able to drive safely at highway speeds.

• Unsecured loads – If the load is exposed, on a flatbed trailer for example, an improper load may actually fall off the truck, causing damage to nearby cars and impeding traffic.

Improperly secured tools and other items left on the truck can also cause serious harm to other drivers.

Much of the problem with improperly loaded long haul trucks is the lack of experience for many truck drivers. It is estimated that the turnover rate for some trucking companies in the United States is greater than 100%, meaning for every 100 new hires, more than 100 drivers leave the ranks. This inexperience presents itself in many ways; less experienced drivers may result in higher truck accidents, which affect other innocent drivers on American roadways.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there are more than 4,000 traffic fatalities involving large trucks of over 10,000 pounds. Of those only 800 truck drivers were fatally injured, the rest being other innocent bystanders or passengers. Many of these accidents are a direct result of overloaded or improperly loaded vehicles.

Accidents involving overloaded vehicles may be difficult to asses. Once all the wreckage is cleared, experts may be involved to try to determine the causes of the accident. Logs and other information are scanned and examines in minute detail to try to accurately asses responsibility. In some cases a manufacturers defect or design flaw of the truck, or a third party loader may be responsible for the overloaded truck. In those cases, the third party may be held liable for damages.


Source by Sara Goldstein