Big rigs are dangerous enough when they are not overloaded. These vehicles have long stopping distances and often drivers are drowsy from long hours on the road. Add overloaded trucks to the equation, and the consequences can be truly frightening.

Most trucking and distribution companies are motivated by the bottom line. They may cut corners to make a profit and this can mean overloading trucks.

While there are financial incentives to overload trucks, there are also tough federal loading rules intended to stop dangerous practices.

overloaded trucks

The dangers of overloaded trucks

When a truck is overloaded, it violates many state and federal regulations and may be unsafe to operate. It takes an overloaded truck longer to stop and it may tip over on curves or ramps.

Overloaded or unbalanced trucks are a leading cause of wrecks because they increase the likelihood a driver may lose control of the vehicle.

Overloaded cargo is more likely to shift. Heavy loads may be improperly distributed. If a load shifts during a lane change or on a sudden turn, there is higher risk of a rollover accident.

Even when a vehicle does not exceed payload limits, improper loading may cause a truck to be off balance, making rollover accidents more likely.

In Georgia, the weight of a truck is determined on a “per axle” basis. A tractor-trailer on the roads of the state may not weigh more than 20,340 pounds per single axle according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The Department of Public Safety points out the legal axle weight is 20,340 pounds. If gross weight is under 73,280 pounds and length is less than 55 feet, the tandem weight is 40,680 pounds.

If the gross weight is greater than 73,280 pounds or the truck and trailer length is greater than 55 feet, the tandem weight limit is 34,000 pounds. These limits increase all the way up to 80,000 pounds for a truck with five axles.

For a big rig to be legally operated on Georgia roads, it may not be wider than eight-and-a-half feet, or taller than thirteen-and-a-half feet.

Overloaded trucks often cause terrifying crashes with a high rate of injury. If you have been hurt in a crash of this nature or lost a loved one, please call our Newnan trucking accident lawyers at (404) 913-1529.