Understanding the Dangers of Overloaded Trucks
What is an Overloaded Truck?
An overloaded truck is a vehicle that carries more weight than its axles and suspension can safely accommodate.
This type of heavy load can cause significant damage to the truck and the road it travels on. This can also put other drivers at risk due to reduced visibility, decreased maneuverability, mechanical failure and increased stopping distance.
What are the Risks of Truck Overloading?
The sheer size and weight of an overloaded semi-truck 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 an overloaded semi-truck has more weight than it can safely carry, even common actions like turning, braking, and changing lanes can be compromised. Excessive weight of a truck 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.
What Regulations Are in Place Regarding Truck Overloading?
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 heavier truck.
An overloaded truck can cause brake failure, out of control downhill speeds, bridge or overpass collapse, tire blowouts, longer stopping distance, and rollover accidents.
What Are the Signs of an Overloaded Truck?
It can be difficult to identify an overloaded vehicle due to its increased weight, but there are some tell-tale signs that may indicate the vehicle is carrying more weight than it should.
One of the most common signs of an overloaded truck is a sagging rear end. The added weight will cause the frame of the truck to bow or sag in the back. If you see tire tracks that are wider than normal or an uneven wear pattern on the tires are another sign of an overweight truck.
The extra weight can cause the tires to bulge in the middle, resulting in an abnormal tire track width.
Since one side of the truck is carrying more weight than the other, it may result in uneven tire wear.
Another sign to look for when assessing overloaded vehicle is the strain on the truck’s suspension. When a truck is carrying too much weight, it can put excessive stress on the suspension system leading to visible signs of wear and tear.
This includes parts being visibly bent or broken or squeaking noises coming from the suspension components.
Who Is Responsible for Overloaded Truck Accidents in Nevada?
In Nevada, there are several parties who may be held liable for an overloaded truck accident. The driver of the truck is typically the first party to be held liable since it is their responsibility to ensure that their vehicle does not exceed legal weight limits.
Trucking companies can also be held responsible for providing trucks that are overloaded or inadequate in terms of capacity. This includes hiring inexperienced truck drivers, failing to provide proper safety training, or failing to inspect and maintain vehicles as required.
In some cases, other parties such as manufacturers of faulty truck parts, loaders of cargo, or even government agencies can be held liable for an overloaded truck accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Clark County truck crash as the result of overloading, the skilled Las Vegas Truck Accident Lawyers at Shook & Stone can help you understand your legal rights and options. Call us today at 702-570-0000 for a free consultation.