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Dangers Posed by Overloaded Trucks

by onAugust 29, 2018

At Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, some of the most devastating accidents we see involve large commercial trucks like 18 wheelers. These vehicles also called tractor-trailers and big rigs, weigh several tons and can completely crunch any light passenger vehicle that gets in their way.

Although all tractor-trailers are dangerous, those that are overloaded are particularly so. If you have been injured by an overloaded commercial truck, you should meet with a Toledo truck accident attorney to consider your options.

Too Much Weight

Like other states, Ohio has set maximum loads that trucks can carry. The limits for vehicles in regular operation are:

  • Single axle: 20,000 lbs.
  • Tandem axle: 34,000 lbs. on the Interstate highway system, or 34,000 lbs. plus 1000 lbs. per foot greater than 4 feet
  • Tridem axle: 48,000 lbs. on non-Interstate highways
  • Gross weight: 80,000 lbs.

Certain exemptions apply based on commodity (such as coal transportation or farm vehicles). Although violators are subject to penalties, far too many trucks on the highway are carrying too much cargo.

Specific Risks for Overloaded Trucks

An overloaded truck is much more dangerous to operate:

  • An overloaded truck takes more time to stop when the driver applies the brakes. In some situations, the brakes can fail entirely because of the excess weight.
  • An overloaded truck can suffer more tire blowouts, which makes the truck unstable.
  • A heavy truck is harder to control, especially in dangerous weather conditions.
  • A heavy truck is more prone to rolling over because its center of gravity is much higher.

Furthermore, overloaded trucks can cause more devastating injuries when they collide with passenger vehicles. Catastrophic injuries and even death are more likely to occur when a truck is carrying additional cargo.

Some trucks, like dump trucks, are also dangerous when overloaded. Specifically, cargo might slide off or fly off from a dump truck and strike other motorists on the road, leading to multi-car pileups.

Proving a Truck is Overloaded

To receive compensation after a collision, you must show that the trucking company or driver did not exercise reasonable care when loading the vehicle. In short, you must show that the cargo was not secured properly or that there was too much cargo.

Trucking companies are not anxious to let an injured victim inspect the truck to find out whether it was too heavy. However, your attorney might be able to obtain a bill of lading records to show the amount of cargo the truck was carrying. We can also look for evidence that the trucking company has a policy of overloading their trucks to save money.

Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Toledo

Overloaded commercial trucks are a danger to everyone else on the road. If you have been injured in a collision, you should hold the trucking company or the loading company accountable for their dangerous actions.

To start the process of receiving compensation, please reach out to Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott today. Our Ohio truck accident lawyers will help you build your case against the trucking company the right way. To schedule your free consultation, please call or fill out our online contact form.

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