Commercial trucks’ weight limits are set by federal regulations, with the maximum possible weight being 80,000 pounds (for fully loaded for trucks with four axles).1 Although these weight limits may seem generous and substantial, however, truckers and trucking company may not always comply with them, possibly overloading trucks to try to maximize their own income or profits.
When truckers and/or trucking companies choose to violate federal regulations and overload their trucks:
- They are creating a real and unnecessary risk of collision, as overloaded trucks are far more likely to be involved in accidents than trucks that are properly loaded and in compliance with weight limits.
- They can be held liable in the event their overloaded trucks are in accidents.
At Murphy & Associates, PLC, our Louisville truck accident attorneys are experienced at holding truckers and trucking companies responsible when their overloaded trucks cause accidents and injure our clients. We are dedicated to pursuing justice for those who have been injured by negligence, and we will work tirelessly to help our clients succeed in their financial recovery.
Dangers of Overloaded Trucks: How Overloaded Trucks Can Cause Accidents
Weight limits for commercial trucks have been carefully set by federal regulators to ensure “the safety, productivity and mobility of freight commerce,” according to the Federal Highway Administration. When these weight limits are violated and overloaded trucks are sent out on hauls, some of the specific dangers that can arise include (but may not be limited to):
- Difficulty steering overloaded trucks – Excess weight on trucks can shift the center of gravity back, removing weight from the front tires of trucks. This can make it harder for truckers to steer and control trucks, which can, in turn, increase the risks of collisions.
- Difficultly stopping overloaded trucks – More weight on trucks means that additional momentum and, consequently, the need for more room and braking force to stop trucks. If truckers do not account for this or they are in situations that require immediate braking, there is a far greater risk that an accident will occur.
- Equipment failures – Trucks’ tires, brakes and other vital equipment are not necessarily designed to be able to support excessive weight. So, when a truck’s weight exceeds 80,000 lbs, it’s far more likely that tires will blow out, brakes will fail and/or other vehicle equipment will malfunction.
- Excessive strain on overpasses, bridges, etc. – Certain roadways cannot support excessive weight. When overloaded trucks travel on these roads, the extra weight can increase the chances of road collapses and related accidents.
- An increased risk of rollover accidents – Overloading trucks can throw off the center of gravity for these vehicles, pushing it higher and, consequently, increasing the risk that trucks will rollover if their balance is somewhat displaced.
- An increased risk of fatalities if an accident occurs – The average passenger vehicle weighs between 3,500 and 4,000 lbs. When an overloaded truck (i.e., a truck exceeding 80,000 lbs) is involved in a collision with passenger vehicles, it’s far more likely that the occupants of involved passenger vehicles will sustain life-threatening injuries.
Louisville Truck Accident Lawyer at Murphy & Associates, PLC
Have you been injured in an accident involving an overloaded truck? If so, contact a trusted Louisville truck accident lawyer at Murphy & Associates, PLC for aggressive legal advocacy and experienced help with your financial recovery.
To get professional advice from one of our attorneys and find out more about how we can help you, call us at (502) 473-6464 or email us using the contact form on this page.
We welcome your call or email from anywhere in Kentucky, Indiana, or elsewhere throughout the Midwest or South. All case evaluations are free, and most representations are taken on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us nothing unless we succeed in recovering money on your behalf.
1: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration