The sheer size and weight of a tractor trailer makes any large truck accident serious, but when the truck has been overloaded and it exceeds the legal weight limit, it can be disastrous. When a big rig has more weight than it can safely carry, even common actions like turning, braking, and changing lanes can be compromised. Increased truck weight also results in greater force of impact, which then increases the risk of causing catastrophic injuries. Despite the dangers of overloading tractor trailers, trucking companies continue to do so in order to maximize profits.
Overloading a truck is illegal. Commercial vehicle weight limits have been established by the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Freight Management and Operations department. All commercial trucks are required to obey these limits if they travel on the Interstate Highway System. Most state regulations for truck weight limits align with federal limits, however each state may set their own weight standards for intrastate travel.
The federal weight limit of commercial trucks is 80,000 pounds, with a limit of 20,000 pounds on a single axle. The distribution of weight on axles and wheels is just as important as the total weight of the truck. These limits are in place for safety. Overloading a big rig defeats the purpose of these limits and compromises the structural stability of the truck as well as the driver’s ability to safely operate the truck. An overloaded truck can cause brake failure, out of control downhill speeds, bridge or overpass collapse, tire blowouts, longer stopping distance, and rollovers.
When a trucking company does not obey the legal truck weight limit, and one of their overloaded trucks causes an accident, the company, and even the truck driver may be held liable for damages and losses. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Clark County truck crash as the result of overloading, the skilled Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at Shook & Stone can help you understand your legal rights and options. Call us today at (888) 662-2013 for a free consultation.