Commercial motor vehicles are subject to weight limits. Trucks, including their cargo, cannot exceed total permissible weight, which is 80,000 pounds for most commercial trucks. If a truck is too heavy, it is in violation of federal regulations. The overloaded truck could also create a significant collision risk that makes motorists on the roads much less safe.
Can a Heavy Cargo Load Cause a Truck Accident to Happen?
Trucks which are overloaded are dangerous for many possible reasons.
If a truck is overloaded, the excess weight could put stress and strain on tires. When a truck is repeatedly overloaded because a truck driver consistently fails to follow the rules, this stress and strain can be cumulative and the impact on the tires can get worse over time.
As the truck driver is transporting a load of cargo, a tire blowout could happen. A blowout of a tire can cause a truck driver to completely lose control of the vehicle. The truck could become involved in an accident, endangering the trucker and surrounding motorists.
When a truck is overloaded, its heavier size could result in the truck having a longer stopping distance. The extra weight means more momentum for the truck as it moves forward, and the truck brakes have to stop all this momentum in order to halt the truck's forward motion. A longer stopping distance increases the risk of collisions because the truck driver is not as likely to be able to get out of the way if he sees an obstacle in front of him or if the lead vehicle he is following stops suddenly. The trucker could hit other cars if the driver is not able to stop quickly because of the momentum, causing a serious accident.
If a collision occurs with an overloaded truck, the accident could also be more dangerous than other kinds of truck accidents involving truckers who followed the rules and whose truck weighed less. The heavier the truck is, the greater the force and impact that will result when the trucks trucks other vehicles or motorists. If the truck is involved in a rollover crash, which is a common type of collision that The Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine indicates is often caused by cargo loading issues, then other vehicles could be crushed underneath the car's weight.
When a trucker has overloaded his truck and any of these accidents happen, from a rear-end truck crash to a roll-over truck crash to any other type of collision, the truck driver should be held accountable for damages. In some cases, the truck driver's employer could also be sued by victims, and the employer could be made to pay damages either due to its own negligent policies regarding cargo loading or due to the actions of the driver while employed by the trucking company. It is up to victims to show the trucker and/or trucking company should be held accountable for the crash and made to pay for economic and non-financial loss.