The Dangers of Overloaded Trucks & 18-Wheelers

If highways are America’s blood vessels, then trucks are the cells carrying oxygen all over the nation. Products, equipment, food, and supplies all travel by truck to warehouses, stores, and factories from Alaska to Florida, from Maine to California. The nature of trucking is that the more you can carry per trip, the more profitable the trip will be. As a result, loading a truck as much as possible is key to profitability.

However, overloading 18-wheelers is incredibly dangerous. There are regulations against overloading trucks, and there are weigh stations all over the country designed to ensure trucks are within weight limits. But despite that, trucking companies still load trucks far past the safety point, which endangers both the truck operator and the other motorists on the road.

Why Are Overloaded Trucks Dangerous?

GVWR is ultimately representative of how much a truck can carry before it is no longer able to be safely controlled. With excessive weight, trucks can suffer brake failure or might swerve to cause a jackknife accident. This is additionally a risk with improperly loaded trucks, which is also a risk when trucking companies cut corners.

Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks also result in:

  • Loss of steering control
  • Tire blowout
  • Rollover accidents
  • Longer stopping time required
  • Difficulty driving uphill
  • Unsafe speed going downhill

What’s the Maximum Weight of an 18-Wheeler?

Truck manufacturers must label their vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) on the license plate. The GVWR is calculated according to the suspension, powertrain, brakes, frame, and axle number of the truck. The maximum GVWR for any truck on American highways is 80,000 pounds, except in specific cases involving intrastate trucks. Weight regulations involving GVWR are enforced through weigh stations, but some trucking companies have found a way around enforcement in some cases.

If you were injured in a trucking accident, it’s possible the trucking company illegally overloaded their truck. If that’s the case, then they may be found responsible and financial liable for your injuries. Speak with Clayton, Frugé & Ward today to learn your legal options.

Call (225) 209-9943 to get a free, confidential consultation.