According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 4,000 people died, and more than 100,000 were injured as a result of crashes involving trucks in one year alone. One reason for these crashes is the inability to control the truck due to it being overloaded or overweight. But, can a truck accident attorney help?
The Federal government and most state governments shave laws that restrict how much material and how much weight a truck is allowed to carry. The manufacturers of the trucks take into account the various parts used in the building of the truck, like the axles and brakes and other parts. They then assign a GVWR rating which stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, and that number is posted on the plate of the truck.
Truck drivers are required to stop at weigh stations regularly to ensure they are not over their load limits. When a driver does not do that or fails to lighten the load they are hauling when it is overweight; accidents can happen.
Why Does The Truck Weight Matter?
There are several ways that an overweight truck can go out of control. The weight of the truck may cause the truck to move down a steep incline faster than the driver expects or can control. A truck hauling more than 25,000 pounds does not come to a stop easily. If the truck begins rolling faster than the driver can control, it is going to hit and cause significant damage to anything in its path. That includes cars and passengers.
Distribution Of Weight
Just as putting too much weight on the back of a pickup truck or an automobile causes the vehicle to be off balance, having a load in a semi-trailer that is improperly loaded affects its balance. But when you are dealing with a huge vehicle and thousands of pounds of materials, that balance issue can cause a truck to turn over.
If the truck has to make a sharp turn, it can roll-over, and if an automobile is beside it, it will crush it. This will not end well for whoever is in the automobile.
Some trucks have open trailers. This is a flat trailer that has no sides or top. The materials used for hauling are strapped to the flatbed.
When a flatbed trailer is improperly loaded, it is difficult to strap the load down. It has a maximum height and weight that can be safely secured. If those numbers are exceeded, the load can come loose, and when it does, it can hit the people, automobiles, and structures around it. This can cause monumental damage and loss of life.
Who Is Responsible?
This is a question that is best answered by an attorney. The fact is that any number of people may be responsible. Maybe more than one person is responsible.
The driver of the truck has a responsibility to ensure they are hauling a proper load. The loader of the truck is responsible for not exceeding the limits of the vehicle they are loading. The truck line that owns the truck has a responsibility to keep meticulous records, as does the driver, so there are times they are held liable.
One thing is certain, if you are injured or someone you love is killed because of an overweight or improperly loaded truck, you should contact a truck accident attorney.