The Danger Posed by Overloaded Tractor-Trailers
Atlanta Trucking Accident Lawyers Examine Danger Posed by Overloaded Tractor-Trailers
Because tractor-trailers frequently outweigh a passenger car by 25 times or more, collisions involving large trucks often cause permanent injury or wrongful death. Because of the potential for catastrophic injury and horrific carnage, federal regulations impose maximum weight limits to reduce the number and severity of crashes involving big-rigs. The State of Georgia adopted the federal regulations governing commercial vehicles with a weight of 10,001 pounds or more in 1972. Pursuant to these regulations, tractor-trailers must stop at weigh stations for inspection when traveling on Georgia roadways. In this blog article, our Atlanta trucking accident lawyers examine the threat to public safety posed by overweight tractor-trailers.
When commercial drivers and trucking companies overload tractor-trailers, the public is endangered in multiple ways. Some of these increased risks include:
- Tire Wear: The excessive weight causes increased tire wear and tire failure. Blowouts can result in loss of control of the tractor-trailer or a vehicle rollover crash. The debris from a disintegrated tire also can cause accidents when vehicles run over the tire remnants or swerve to avoid hitting the large sections of rubber and steel belts.
- Center of Gravity: When a tractor-trailer is overloaded, the center of gravity of the truck moves upward, which makes the vehicle harder to control and more prone to rollover. Rollover accidents involving a tractor-trailer can block multiple lanes of traffic and cause a multi-car pileup.
- Damage to the Roadway: An overloaded big-rig will cause more wear and tear on the road. Motorcyclists can be endangered by potholes and other defects in the surface of the roadway.
Despite these risks, nearly one in three tractor-trailers and dump trucks are overweight according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Studies indicate that overweight big-rigs are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle collision. The massive weight of an overloaded big-rig can increase the distance it takes to stop the truck, so crashes are more likely to occur when a truck driver must execute an emergency stop. A tractor-trailer weighing 120,000 pounds needs 50 percent more time and space to stop than a truck that weighs the legal limit of 80,000 pounds. Because of the massive force of impact generated by a heavy tractor-trailer, the extra time to stop can mean the difference between a fender bender and a fatal rear impact collision.
While driving an overloaded truck constitutes a violation of trucking regulations, the penalties for a violation do not do much to deter truckers and commercial carriers from trying to ship more cargo to increase profits. If a truck is determined to be 90,000 pounds at a weigh station, the consequence is a fine based on a rate that was established in 1953. The rate is five cents per pound. In other words, the penalty would be an uninspiring $500. The fine is so low commercial carriers have a strong incentive to violate the regulation and pay the fine if they are caught as a cost of doing business. Until more substantial penalties are imposed, overloaded trucks will continue to claim lives and cause severe debilitating injuries.
Contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation
If a Tractor-Trailer accident has left you or a loved one injured, it is important that you consider speaking with a Georgia Tractor-Trailer Accident and Injury Attorney at Montlick & Associates as soon as possible. Tractor-Trailer accidents can leave you with excessive medical bills, lost income, and an uncertain future. At Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, our firm has more than 39 years of experience helping injured individuals from all over Georgia.
If you would like to discuss your or a loved one's personal injuries with one of our Georgia Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers, contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law today by calling (800) LAW-NEED (529-6333) to schedule your free consultation. You may also visit us online at www.montlick.com to complete a Free Case Evaluation Form, and you may also participate in a 24-hour Live Online Chat.
Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333
Toll Free: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
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