Overweight trucks are a recipe for danger, injury, and deaths on the highways of Georgia.
However, if a truck is improperly loaded, we may not always be able to tell. Even a truck driver may not be aware of the hazard until the vehicle tips over on a curve or during a lane change.
Every year, about 4,000 people are killed in accidents involving big trucks. In 2014, the figure was 3,978, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). More than 100,000 people were injured by big trucks.
Some of these accidents and injuries are caused by a loss of control because a truck has been badly loaded.
Weight restrictions for trucks are included in both federal and state laws. Some states permit trucking companies to exceed this weight, but only if they obtain a special permit.
The FMSCA sets out a stringent set of rules related to the loading of a truck. They require:
- Items that may roll around and move to be restrained by wedges, a cradle, chocks, or another means to prevent rolling.
- The securing of cargo with shoring bars or tie downs. Inflatable dunnage bags are required if there are gaps between items of cargo.
- A minimum number of tie downs related to the length of a trailer
- The working load limit of a securement system that’s at least half the weight of the items being secured.
- Special provisions related to certain types of load such as rocks, gravel, logs, and cars.
Improperly loaded trucks can cause wrecks in a variety of ways. If a truck is overloaded, its performance may suffer.
The big rig may go faster down a hill than the driver expects. The driver may have to brake harder to avoid losing control. The load may also shift. Overloaded trucks can easily flip over on exit ramps and on curves causing rollover accidents. Loads should be distributed so as no one axle on an 18 wheeler is overloaded.
Overloaded trucks are more likely to suffer from tire blowouts or a loss of steering control. Items can fall off of badly loaded trucks causing accident hazards to other drivers.
An improperly loaded truck can also pose a major hazard to the driver. In some cases, cargos like metal pipes have slid forward through a cab when a truck has stopped, killing the driver.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a big rig, it’s important to recover the most you can. Often the insurance company will short change you if you attempt to deal with it directly. Call our experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer at (404) 913-1529.