The dangers of overloading big trucks

| Dec 19, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Controlling a tractor-trailer becomes more challenging for truck drivers as their loads get heavier. This can pose a danger to you and others sharing the road with them. Despite safety concerns, a trucking company may use larger trucks with more cargo so that they can deliver goods to and through Illinois faster, making quotas and improving profits. 

The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration works toward reducing collisions and preventing injuries and fatalities involving large trucks with a broad range of safety regulations. These statutes target high-risk carriers with the goal of improving equipment and operating standards. 

Truck overload laws

Trucking companies must comply with FMCSA regulations or risk receiving significant fines. These regulations cover various aspects of cargo loading, such as the following: 

  • Securing cargo firmly by using cradles, wedges, tie-downs, dunnage or dunnage bags 
  • Following guidelines and posting warnings with loads wider or longer than the truck 
  • Obtaining special requirements for transporting unusually large objects, concrete, heavy machinery, logs or steel pipes 

Loads cannot legally exceed the gross vehicle weight rating, which takes the frame, axles, brakes, powertrain and suspension into consideration. 

Danger of overloaded trucks

Evenly distributing the load so that no truck axle must handle too much weight is critical. If the cargo is too heavy for the rig, drivers may lose control. When traveling at highway speeds, the brakes may not have the power to stop in a reasonable amount of time. This can also happen when traveling down an incline. Top-heavy loads increase the likelihood of a jackknife if the center of gravity shifts when navigating turns. 

If the cargo spills onto the road and collides with nearby objects, car crashes resulting in catastrophic injuries can occur. Recovering compensation from a negligent trucking company can help you get the medical care you need. 

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