The Dangers of Overloaded Trucks

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Accidents involving semis, 18-wheelers, and tractor trailers are often devastating because these vehicles are so much larger and heavier than other vehicles on the road. Because of this risk, truck drivers must take extra precautions to protect everyone around them. However, drivers aren’t the only ones responsible for the truck’s safety.

Multiple entities are involved with the truck and its cargo throughout each trip, including the owner of the cargo and the crew that loads it. These parties must also comply with safety requirements and regulations, such as weight limits established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. However, these crews sometimes ignore regulations and overload trucks. When they do, the results can be catastrophic.

Some of the dangers of overloaded or excess weight on trucks include:

  • Difficulty controlling the truck, leading to overturned or jackknifed trucks
  • Difficulty stopping, leading to read-end collisions
  • Mechanical issues when axles or tires can’t bear the extra weight
  • Unscheduled maintenance and downtime that can put extra pressure on the driver’s delivery schedule and might contribute to reckless driving

Who is liable in an overloaded truck accident?

As mentioned, many different parties are responsible for truck safety, which means that multiple parties might be liable when something goes wrong.

First of all, the truck driver might be liable, even if they were not present when the truck was loaded. Drivers are responsible for checking their cargo periodically throughout their trips to make sure it is still secure, plus they are responsible for driving safely. If the driver failed in either of these areas, they might be at least partially liable. Furthermore, if the driver was present when the truck was loaded and noticed it was unsafe but didn’t speak up, the driver might be liable.

Additionally, the company that owns the cargo on the truck and the crew that packed this cargo might be liable, since they were responsible for making sure the shipment was loaded safely and securely.

The driver’s employer might also be liable under several different provisions. If the driver was acting within the scope of their job when the accident occurred, their employer is deemed “respondeat superior” and might be partially responsible. The employer might also be deemed accountable if the truck’s condition contributed to the accident.

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