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How Dangerous is an Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Truck?

It seems like we see massive 18 wheelers every time we get behind the wheel of our comparatively puny cars. These trucks are a necessary part of transporting goods all across the country, and have strict regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on how much weight their trailers can carry at any one given time. They provide all commercial drivers with a handbook that outlines how to ensure that their vehicles are safe and properly maintained, including how to properly load and secure cargo.

18 wheelers can weight up to 80,000 pounds, and 34,000 pounds of that comes from a fully loaded trailer. The trailer alone weighs more than 10 passenger cars combined, so the FMCSA’s strict regulations are necessary to keep everyone on the road safe. When they aren’t followed by the people loading the cargo, the trucking companies, or the drivers themselves, it puts every driver sharing the road at risk of being involved in a catastrophic crash. Some of the most common issues loading cargo include:

  • Overloaded Trailer: The FMCSA sets weight limits for a reason. While not all trucks have the same limits, an 18 wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. If the truck is loaded up with so much cargo that it exceeds this limit, it can put a dangerous amount of stress on the vehicle itself, potentially putting enough stress on the mechanical components of the truck to cause system failures. Even if the truck holds up under the increased weight, the truck’s brakes may not be able to stop the truck in time to prevent a collision.
  • Poorly Distributed Cargo Weight: Even if the truck’s weight falls within the acceptable range, if the cargo isn’t distributed properly it could turn every corner into a hazard. When the weight is overloaded to one side or the other, or if the trailer is too top-heavy, just changing lanes on the highway has the potential to cause the entire vehicle to flip over and cause a crash.
  • Unsecured Cargo: No matter how well the cargo is loaded into the trailer, it can still shift during transit if it isn’t properly secured. Falling cargo can make a loud noise that may distract the driver, and changing weight distribution can alter the way the vehicle handles, especially when going around corners which would cause the same problems as poorly distributed cargo weight.

It’s the trucking company’s responsibility to make sure their drivers understand all FMCSA regulations, and it’s the responsibility of both the driver and the people in charge of loading the truck’s trailer to make sure that the cargo is safely and securely loaded. If any of these partied fail, it put’s everyone sharing the road with the truck in danger of being involved in a catastrophic and potentially fatal crash.

Contact The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. today if you or a loved one was injured in a truck crash. Our New York truck accident attorneys have more than 50 years of experience handling these types of cases, and are committed to helping victims secure the compensation they need to pay for their medical bills and any other damages resulting from their injuries. Call us at (212) 577-9325 to speak with one of our truck accident lawyers, or fill out the form on our website to tell us more about your case.

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