The Dangers of Overloaded Trucks on Highways
Commercial trucks transporting goods nationwide are often overloaded to save companies time and money. However, overloaded trucks put other road users at risk, as these vehicles are difficult to maneuver and can cause devastating accidents. Everyone on the road should know why overloaded trucks on highways are dangerous, who is liable for overloaded truck accidents, and when to call an overloaded truck accident lawyer. Our Montgomery truck accident attorneys can help you determine what to do after a trucking accident.
The Alarming Truth About Overloaded Trucks
An overloaded truck is a vehicle that carries more weight than its axles and suspension system can safely accommodate. Overloaded vehicles pose numerous safety risks, so the federal government imposes weight limits on specific vehicles. Federal regulations limit the maximum gross vehicle weight to 80,000 pounds on interstate highways, 20,000 pounds on a single axle, and 34,000 pounds on a tandem axle.
Some states, including Alabama, have exemptions to the federal limits. For instance, state law allows for a gross weight of 84,000 pounds for a six-axle truck-semitrailer on non-interstate highways and up to 36,000 pounds on a tandem axle on non-interstate highways. Oversized trucks must obtain a permit from the Alabama Department of Transportation.
The Real Dangers: Why Overloading Is a Menace
Overloaded trucks pose numerous safety risks because the load shifts the vehicle’s center of gravity, making the vehicle highly unstable and susceptible to rollover accidents.
Furthermore, overloading trucks can put significant strain on the vehicle. The enormous weight of the cargo can damage the truck’s brakes, cause tire blowouts, and stress mechanical parts like the suspension, axles, and transmission. An overloaded truck can also damage the road, increasing the likelihood of truck crashes.
Additionally, overloaded trucks require more time and distance to come to a complete stop. Changes in traffic patterns, inclement weather conditions, and emergencies can prevent an overloaded truck from safely stopping. Other factors that affect traction include speed, tire pressure, and temperature.
Who Is Liable for an Overloaded Truck Accident?
Determining who is liable for an overloaded truck accident requires evidence. A truck accident lawyer will gather and preserve crucial evidence to prove liability for an accident victim’s injuries. However, more than one party may be responsible for causing an overloaded truck accident because the trucking industry comprises multiple individuals and entities. Parties that may be liable include:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Cargo loading company
- The truck’s owner (if not the driver or company)
Tips for Safe Driving Around Trucks
Here are some tips for how to tell if a truck is overloaded. Sagging, bowing, and bulging are the most apparent signs of an overloaded truck. Uneven tire wear patterns and unusual noises from the transmission or suspension are also good indicators that a truck is overloaded.
Other motorists can stay safe when driving around trucks by avoiding blind spots and giving overloaded trucks a wide berth to turn. Drivers should follow trucks at a safe distance and always use caution when passing them.
Contact Our Alabama Truck Accident Attorneys to Learn More
Were you injured in an overloaded truck accident in Alabama? The dedicated lawyers with Stokes Stemle, LLC, can help. Contact our office today for a free consultation with our Alabama truck accident attorneys to learn more about filing a truck accident claim.