All truck accidents have the potential to be catastrophic, but crashes are even more severe when the truck’s weight exceeds the legal limit. Overloaded trucks pose a significant danger to all motorists. When a truck exceeds the legal limit as to the weight it can carry, actions such as braking, turning, changing lanes, and the like can become difficult. The excessive weight further increases the force of the truck, rendering it even more hazardous. Overloading can be done due to a variety of circumstances, including increasing the profit of the trucking company.
The Federal Highway Administration’s Freight Management and Operations Department sets the maximum weight limits for all commercial vehicles. States can impose additional weight restrictions. Currently, the federal weight limit for commercial vehicles is 80,000 pounds, equating to a maximum of 20,000 pounds per single axle.
At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, our Atlanta truck accident lawyers understand the importance of safely loading a commercial truck and ensuring compliance with weight limits, both federal and statewide. We have assisted several clients injured in truck accidents due to overloading. When an overloaded truck causes an accident, the trucking company and truck driver responsible for the accident should be held accountable.
The Dangers of Overloading
Truck weight limits are established so that truck drivers can transport their cargo safely. Overloaded trucks threaten the safety of the truck driver and all motorists on the road. An overloaded truck could create the following dangerous situations, among others:
• Tire blowouts;
• Brake failure;
• Loss of control;
• Out of control speed downhill;
• Increased stopping distance;
• Overpass or bridge collapse;
• Rollover accidents;
• Jackknife accidents.
Weight distribution is another key component to safe truck loading. The weight of the cargo should be evenly distributed. An uneven weight distribution could lead to loss of balance and accidents, including rollover crashes, loss of steering control, tire blowouts and more.
Holding Trucking Companies Responsible for Overload Truck Accidents
Truck drivers should be held liable for overweight trucks that cause accidents and trucking companies can be held accountable as well. At times, trucking companies will encourage the overloading of trucks in order to make a particular delivery time or increase profitability.
Truck drivers and trucking companies must keep meticulous records of truck maintenance and the weight of all trucking loads. If you have been injured in a truck accident, consult with a truck accident attorney right away. Your attorney can help to investigate whether overloading played a role in the accident.