Truck accidents are obviously more dangerous than car collisions involving regular passenger vehicles. This is mainly because of the weight of a truck. If you look at how much trucks can weigh, you often see 80,000 pounds listed. This is because there is a federal regulation that dictates that a truck can be loaded up to that weight. However, even if the regulations are in place, some trucking companies try to maximize profits and go way over this maximum weight. If this happens, we are talking about overloaded truck accidents.
The Maximum Weight Federal Regulation
Whenever a truck uses the interstate, federal trucking regulations have to be respected. This includes the already-mentioned regulation of having a maximum weight of 80,000 pounds. Higher weights can only be allowed when special waivers are in place.
The maximum weight limitation exists because:
- Highway wear and tear are minimized.
- The other cars on the road remain safe since too heavy trucks are not present.
- Bridge damage is prevented.
The Profit Factor
The big problem is that trucking companies make money based on how much they transport from one destination to another. It is safe to limit truck weights but this does reduce how much a company can make. The same goes for the independent truckers that are often paid based on cargo load. Tailer empty space basically means more money could be made.
In so many cases we see trucking companies and even truckers taking the unnecessary risk of violating the weight regulations. The goal is always to make more money. Law enforcement cannot monitor absolutely all trucks on the road so some do get away with vehicle overloading.
Whenever an overloaded truck is involved in an accident, the party responsible has to become liable and accountable. The victims have to receive compensation for absolutely all losses.
How Do Overloaded Trucks Cause Accidents?
There are different ways in which the overloaded truck can cause an accident. Even if the fact that the truck was overloaded was not the cause of the accident, the crash does become a lot worse because of not respecting federal regulations.
The very common ways in which overloaded vehicles cause accidents or increase their severity are:
- Overloaded cargo causes brake failure since the braking system cannot stop the overloaded truck in the necessary space.
- Cargo shifts inside the trailer, which leads to some sort of equipment failure. Eventually, the truck driver will lose control.
- Overloaded cargo makes the truck overturn or jackknife since way too much extra weight is put inside the trailer.
Responsibility For Overloaded Trucks
In truck accidents involving overloaded trucks, the fault is usually of the trucking company or the truck driver. A huge difference in determining this main fault is the relationship between companies and drivers. When drivers are employers of trucking companies, it is the trucking company that is responsible when it did instruct that the vehicle should be overloaded or it was aware that truck drivers are overloading vehicles. Obviously, several other parties can also be responsible, as is often the case with truck accidents.