I came across an article that very well explained the problem of overloaded big-rigs and the dangers they pose to themselves and other vehicles on our roadways. We often hear about big-rig drivers losing control of their vehicles and slamming into others on the road. Often, these types of accidents result in fatalities. And usually, it’s the drivers or passengers of the other vehicles who get seriously or fatally injured, not the occupants of the big-rigs.
What makes these vehicles lethal on our highways is their size and weight. As this article well states, the greater the weight of the truck, the more likely that it will become a death machine that bolts out of control. Overloaded trucks have an increased propensity to be involved in accidents because the increased weight means the truck cannot stop quickly and is more likely to lose control.
Traffic investigators believed that overloading may have been a factor in a Mission Viejo big rig accident where the truck, overloaded with electronic equipment, lost control and slammed into the back of a family’s minivan, crushing and killing three young children. In that case, the driver was also speeding and the overloading just worsened the situation.
Increased weight also causes greater stress on the truck’s parts and could cause mechanical malfunctions. It could also put the vehicle out of balance especially when it is traveling downhill or in windy conditions. In spite of these dangers and despite knowing that overloading is hazardous to the traveling public, trucking companies continue to overload their vehicles so they can transport more.
This is illegal as well. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates trucking companies, limits the total weight for commercial vehicles to 20,000 pounds per axle up to limit of 80,000 pounds total. That is still a lot of weight, but it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that weight is not exceeded and that the weight is equally distributed throughout the vehicle.
This does not always happen. Drivers face their own pressures because employers set unrealistic deadlines for delivery and the drivers are exhausted any way because many of them are working more hours than they should. As a result, we continue to see overloaded trucks and poorly secured cargo, which falls out of the truck injuring unsuspecting motorists.
Although there are existing laws that discourage overloading, there is no adequate enforcement to back up those laws. So who’s watching out for you and me on the highways? We’re pretty much on our own. The only way to get these overloaded trucks off our roadways is to make it too expensive for the trucking companies. The fear of facing a lawsuit that could shutter their business and lead the way to bankruptcy is what is needed to discourage such callous behavior.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a big-rig accident, please call Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys to find out about your legal options. Often times, when you fight for your rights, you do end up doing a greater good by righting a wrong and holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions.