The maximum weight allowed for a semi truck is 80,000 pounds, and more than half of this weight is the truck's cargo. This load makes the truck top-heavy, and any shifting while in transit can have disastrous consequences for both the truck driver and the driving public. For motorists driving next to trucks, it's often impossible to see that anything is wrong until it's too late.
This type of trucking accident is usually caused by negligence on the part of the driver for failing to properly secure the cargo on a trailer with an open bed, or by improperly loading cargo inside an enclosed trailer. Here are three ways this can cause accidents:
An overloaded trailer increases braking distance, which makes it more difficult for the driver to react to emergencies such as sudden traffic slowdowns. The truck can't safely negotiate down-hills because the excessive weight may cause the brakes to overheat. Too much weight can weaken the tires and possibly cause a blowout, especially in hot weather.
Poorly Balanced Load
This can happen to enclosed trailers when the truck driver fails to oversee the loading process. The heaviest cargo should be on the bottom with lighter loads placed higher. Failure to do this may cause the truck to overturn when cornering. Too much cargo placed on one side of the trailer can also induce the truck to tip over. If most of the load is at the rear of the trailer, jackknifing can occur.
Poorly Secured Loads
Improper cargo securement on trailers with an open bed such as a flatbed trailer may cause the load to fall off while in transit. This endangers traffic next to, and behind the trailer. These incidents happen because the driver failed to follow the securement guidelines published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Improper cargo loading is a form of negligence, which endangers the safety and lives of the driving public. If a trucking accident injured you, our lawyers can review your case to see who may be liable. For a free consultation, contact us.