The Dangers of Overloaded and Improperly Loaded Trucks

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Jun 30, 2016

Commercial trucks enable companies to ship products all across the country, keeping the nation’s shelves and pantries stocked. A key part of the transportation process is the actual loading of the vehicles, and if that step isn’t done properly, it can lead to catastrophe. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) details the proper method for loading a truck on its website, and provides a handbook for drivers covering the rules surrounding cargo securement. When these regulations aren’t followed properly, the driver can lose control of the improperly loaded truck and cause a collision.

  • The weight of the cargo is not properly distributed: Whether the cargo’s weight is unevenly distributed to one side or if it is loaded to make the trailer incredibly top heavy, the slightest mistake could cause the truck to flip onto its side. Fully loaded eighteen wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and even if the trailer is perfectly loaded, taking a corner at high speeds puts the truck at risk of tipping. If the cargo’s weight is not properly distributed, this risk only increases.
  • The cargo exceeds the maximum allowable weight: While an eighteen wheeler can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds, not every truck is built to the same standards. Many trucks have a lower capacity, but no matter the make, overloading a truck can have disastrous consequences. The excess weight can cause the truck to break down if it isn’t properly maintained; even if the truck is in perfect working order, the excess weight will adversely affect the truck’s ability to brake, and can put everyone at risk of a collision.
  • The cargo has not been properly secured: Even if the trailer is loaded to an acceptable weight and the weight is perfectly distributed, if the cargo is not properly secured then it is at risk of shifting around during transport. This is incredibly dangerous, both because any loud noises resulting from shifting cargo can distract the driver, and also because the weight may unpredictably shift during transport and may help cause the truck to flip on its side if the driver enters a turn at too high of a speed.

It’s the job of the people loading the cargo to ensure everything is within regulations, it’s the job of the driver to inspect the cargo to ensure that it is safely loaded for transport, and it’s the job of the trucking company to ensure that their drivers are knowledgeable about the regulations. If any of these groups fail at their jobs, it puts everyone who shares the road with the improperly loaded truck at risk.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a truck accident, you will need an experienced personal injury firm to represent you. At Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge, our Nashville truck accident attorneys provide the high-quality legal services that you can depend on in your time of need. With over 100 years of collective experience, we are prepared to fight for you during negotiations and in court. Contact us today to set up a case evaluation.

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