Local reports from Massachusetts, Ohio, and other parts of the country indicate that police have begun to crack down on overloaded pickup trucks, issuing citations and forcing drivers to reload their vehicles before continuing on their journey. Though a significant inconvenience for those pulled over, these actions were necessary to combat the increased accident risk associated with these vehicles.
Pickup trucks can be overloaded in a variety of ways, all of which increase the risk of accident. The most common forms of overloading include exceeding the weight allowance of the vehicle, loading cargo such that it overflows the sides of the bed, and loading cargo that is too long for the bed of the truck.
Overloading the weight allowance is the most insidious of these, as other drivers might be unable to ascertain the overloading until it is too late. Too much weight in the bed of the truck can cause the vehicle to react poorly to braking and accelerating, and can cause difficulties in turning. There is also the risk of structural failure, which poses risks to trailing drivers. The only warning a trailing driver might have of an over-weighted vehicle is that the bed might be closer to the ground than normal. Pickup trucks are rated for weight allowance, and weight allowance should be strictly maintained.
Overloading the vehicle such that cargo extends past the side or back of the truck is also very dangerous to other drivers, particularly at high speeds or on narrow roadways, where passing is already riskier. Though other drivers can see the cargo, adjusting for the increased dimensions can be difficult. Overloaded trucks also pose a higher risk of cargo falling into the roadway, drastically increasing the incidence and dangerousness of accidents.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a truck accident, and overloading was a factor, please consult with an experienced attorney about your case. Overloading is a dangerous practice and people should be held accountable for putting the safety of others at risk.