When commercial trucks are overloaded, dangerous accidents can occur. These accidents can cause serious injuries and even deaths, and the party responsible for overloading the vehicle could be held liable for the damages that result.
Federal and state regulations provide strict weight limitations to prevent dangerous conditions that are likely to lead to injuries and accidents. These weight limits can apply to several areas of the vehicle. For instance, the maximum weight of a cab and its trailer cannot exceed 80,000 lbs in Georgia and in most other states. Additionally, the state of Georgia allows no more than 20,340 pounds on a single axle connected to low-pressure tires. On top of these requirements, every vehicle and trailer has its own gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) in order to maintain a certain level of performance and safety.
Unfortunately, truck drivers, trucking companies, and contracting distributors overload vehicles all of the time. Because of these parties’ efforts to maximize profits, the safety of everyone else on the road becomes compromised. Major accidents can occur as a result, creating the need for victims to hire an Atlanta truck accident lawyer to recover money for their medical bills and other losses.
The following 4 scenarios point out the risks an overloaded semi-truck can pose for everyone driving around them.
1. Worse Braking Performance
A semi-truck can already take over 500 feet to come to a complete stop from 65 mph when loaded to its 80,000 lb capacity. Heavier loads can compromise this braking distance further, making it harder to predict whether the truck will stop in time to avoid certain obstacles or maintain the flow of traffic. This uncertainty can cause truck drivers to make incorrect assumptions, leading to a greater risk of collisions.
2. Higher Risk of Catastrophic Mechanical Failure
Vehicle manufacturers put weight limits on their equipment for a reason. They cannot guarantee the integrity of the vehicle’s structure past a certain weight load. An overloaded semi-truck may, therefore, experience a sudden blowout or brake failure on the highway. Steering or transmission systems may also fail, leading to a situation where the truck rolls onto another vehicle or jackknifes into the path of oncoming traffic.
3. Risk of Infrastructure Collapse
America’s roads, highways, and bridges are already suffering from a lack of needed maintenance. According to a recent report, over 47,000 bridges throughout America are graded as “structurally deficient” and at risk of catastrophic failure.
Overloaded freight vehicles contribute to this degradation and increase the risk of a major structural collapse. The linked news story even mentions a recent incident in Tennessee where an overloaded truck caused a concrete highway overpass to fall apart.
Heavy vehicles can affect bridges, overpasses, tunnels, and even a typical highway road. Any time an overloaded vehicle exceeds the expected weight limit, the chances that a disaster could strike increase astronomically.
4. Heavy Momentum Can Make Bad Accidents Worse
The laws of physics state that heavier objects will carry more force at the same given speed as a lighter object. They also mention that changes in speed will generate inertia, and the force of this inertia is greater when the object being affected is heavy.
These two laws together make many overloaded trucks an unstoppable juggernaut. The vehicles will face more trouble turning to avoid accidents, and any collision they are involved with is likely to generate tremendous forces.
Accordingly, accidents with overloaded trucks tend to cause greater damage to people and property, and this damage tends to be more difficult to amend even long after the accident has occurred.
Work with an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer to Exercise Your Right to an Injury Claim Against Overloaded Trucks
Many people could be at fault for the decision to overload a truck, and each party could potentially be held responsible for the damages an overloaded truck accident causes.
If you have been hurt in a truck accident, it is possible that an excessively heavy load was partially to blame for the conditions that lead to your collision. Revealing a negligent decision to overload a vehicle can significantly improve the chances of a successful injury claim.
Find out more about your legal options and the possibility for a personal injury claim when you speak to an Atlanta truck accident lawyer during a free consultation. You can schedule your free, no obligation truck accident case review now when you call 404-948-3311 or contact us online using our convenient form.