Truck Accident InjuryToo Much Cargo: The Dangers of Overloaded Commercial Trucks

February 15, 20240

An overloaded truck refers to a commercial vehicle carrying weight that exceeds legal limits or the manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating. Trucks can be overloaded by weight, height, width or length. Carrying too much cargo puts additional strain on the vehicle’s frame, suspension system, wheels, and brakes.

Dangers to the Truck Driver

Operating an overloaded truck poses many risks to the driver.

  • Excess weight raises the truck’s center of gravity, making it more likely to roll over on curves or during sudden maneuvers.
  • Truck stability also decreases with overloading, increasing dangers when changing lanes or navigating highway ramps.
  • Braking distances are lengthened significantly with heavier cargo loads; this gives drivers less ability to stop quickly during emergencies.

An overloaded truck can also cause brake failure due to excessive brake heat and wear. These braking deficiencies caused by overloading lead to an increased chance of rear-end collisions and multi-vehicle pileups.

With impaired stopping capabilities, drivers have much less margin for error to avoid crashing into slowed or stopped traffic. Even minor concessions in braking performance multiply the risks exponentially for overloaded trucks in busy traffic or congested areas.

The dynamics and physics of hauling excess load create a dangerous braking environment that can rapidly lead to devastating consequences for the truck driver as well as surrounding motorists when reaction time is compromised.

Risks to Other Drivers

Overloaded trucks present hazards for other motorists sharing the roads. They have slower acceleration and impaired ability to overcome inertia. This makes merging and changing lanes more difficult. Heavier trucks take longer to stop, increasing the chance of rear-end collisions. Overloaded trucks are also prone to cargo shifts and spills. Debris from them can be a road hazard, causing surrounding vehicles to dangerously swerve.

Damages to Roads and Infrastructure

Excess vehicle weight contributes to faster deterioration of road surfaces, bridges, and overpasses. Overloaded trucks strain highway infrastructure that was originally engineered for lighter loads. This shortens the lifespan of transportation facilities, increasing maintenance and replacement costs. Unexpected bridge failures and road collapses become more likely over time. Taxpayers ultimately pay the price for overloading damages.

Significant Fines and Legal Consequences

Violating weight regulations brings major fines plus other legal consequences. Most states assess heavier fines the greater the overload. CDL license suspension is possible for repeat weight violations. Trucking companies can be charged and face business interruptions until violations are fixed. Shippers contributing to overloading issues may share legal accountability.

Avoiding Overloads

Loading cargo correctly helps companies stay compliant while avoiding overloading. Well-balanced weight distribution is key, along with packing tighter to reduce cargo shifts. Companies should weigh vehicles frequently, especially before hitting the roads. High-quality equipment (e.g. reinforced frames, lifted suspensions, super single tires) increases safe capacities.

Finally, carrier and shipper collaboration with route planning assists loads in staying within constraints. Applying such diligence delivers goods safely while keeping our infrastructure intact.

Truck accidents are invariably serious. If you have been involved in one, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer from the Mass Injury Group in Boston.

Visit our office at 15 Broad St #800 Boston, MA 02109.

Call now for a free consultation on (617) 263-0860.

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