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Dangers of an Overloaded Truck

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Dangers of an Overloaded Truck

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Large trucks such as 18-wheelers and semi-trucks are valuable to both businesses and consumers in the sense that they are able to transport large quantities of goods at the same time. However, with all those goods can come heavy weight on top of an already heavy vehicle. For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued detailed instructions for exactly how to load and secure cargo on a large truck to ensure maximum safety for both the driver and anyone sharing the road with them. Failing to follow FMCSA loading guidelines can result in dangerous situations and even catastrophic accidents. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident with a large truck or 18-wheeler, reach out to a truck accident attorney to learn about your options for recovery.

FMCSA regulations for cargo loading cover the following areas:

  • Distribution of cargo by weight. Physics plays an important role in safely loading up any vehicle, especially a large truck. If cargo in a truck is unevenly distributed, or distributed with more weight at the back then the front, something as simple as making a turn on the road could result in a dangerous loss of control. The FMCSA has published detailed guidelines regarding how to load a large truck for maximum safety, ensuring that weight is evenly distributed throughout the trailer and does not risk the truck becoming top-heavy or having weight overloaded on just one side of the vehicle.
  • Weight of cargo overall. According to the FMCSA, every truck has a maximum allowable weight under which they are allowed to drive. Certain trucks may be able to safely transport less or more than another. It is imperative that truck drivers and trucking companies be aware of these regulations and follow them to a tee when estimating the weight of the truck before heading out on the road. Ensuring the proper weight of a truck’s cargo is so important that weigh stations exist along the side of highways for trucks to pull off and ensure that they are in compliance with state and FMCSA laws regarding the weight of their vehicle.
  • Securement of cargo. Making sure that all cargo is fully secured before setting out is imperative to the safety of the driver and others on the road. If cargo is not secured and shifts during transport, it could cause the truck to list to one side or the other, and even flip over when attempting to turn. Additionally, unsecured cargo can rattle around the inside of the truck, distracting the driver and giving the impression of other mechanical difficulties. Finally, if cargo is not secured (depending on the kind of truck) items could fall off and become dangerous obstacles on the roadway for other vehicles to maneuver around.

Dangers of improperly loaded trucks include but are not necessarily limited to the following:

  • Uneven or excessive wearing down of the tires
  • Uneven or excessive wearing down of the brakes
  • Loss of control when reacting quickly to obstacles in the road or inclement weather
  • Rollovers caused by cargo shifting or uneven weight distribution
  • Jackknifing, occurring when the trailer swings from side to side behind the truck due to uneven or improper weight distribution

These are some of the most common risks associated with overloaded or improperly loaded trucks. Every driver has a responsibility to their passengers as well as everyone else on the road to exercise extreme caution and awareness at all times. Truck drivers are held to an even higher responsibility regarding safe driving practices due to the immense size and weight of the vehicles they operate, and the potential consequences of an accident involving a vehicle of that enormity.

To learn more about the dangers of an overloaded truck, or for help filing a claim after a truck accident, reach out to a truck accident attorney.

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