A Hidden Imbalance Can Spell Disaster
Commercial trucks haul literally tons of cargo in their trailers, and an overweight, overloaded or unbalanced semi is a recipe for disaster. Overloaded trucks are more susceptible to tire failure or brake failure, or to jackknife or rollover due to the higher center of gravity. The driver is much more likely to lose control of a truck hauling an unbalanced load, and overweight rigs can cause the collapse of roads, bridges and overpasses. Overweight trucks go uphill too slowly and downhill too fast, posing a hazard to other vehicles on the road. Sadly for the unfortunate motorist involved in a collision with a semi-truck, the heavier the truck, the more forceful the accident, and the more likely that the car wreck victims will suffer catastrophic injury or death.
Unfortunately, tractor-trailers are sometimes negligently-loaded by truckers and motor carriers in a hurry to get on the road and get to their destination as soon as possible. Even worse, trucking companies have been known to intentionally overload their trucks in order to deliver more cargo in a single trip. The Louisville truck accident attorneys at the Slechter Law Firm hold drivers and carriers accountable for their negligence or intentional misconduct on the Dixie Highway and elsewhere in the state. Our firm fights to see that truck accident victims receive every penny of compensation due to them under the law.
Federal Law Limits Commercial Vehicle Weights And Requires Frequent Checks Of Loads
The gross weight limit for tractor-trailers depends on the number of axles and can range from 20,000 pounds for a single axle truck up to 80,000 pounds for a truck on five axles (the trucking industry is currently lobbying Congress to allow for six-axle trucks that can carry even more weight). An average new car, by comparison, is about 4,000 pounds. In other words, a fully-loaded tractor-trailer may be twenty times as heavy as a passenger vehicle.
Truckers are required by law to conduct load checks periodically to ensure that cargo is properly secured and to adjust the load as needed. Load checks are required before starting a trip, again within the first 50 miles, after any change of duty status, and the earlier of every three hours or 150 miles. Fuel stops, tire checks and en-route inspections are convenient times to conduct a load check, but truckers may extend the time for stops beyond what the law requires in order to deliver their cargo faster.
We Help You To Hold Trucking Companies Liable For Negligently-Loaded Semis
You might think that the weigh stations present at state lines and various intervals along highways and interstates would deter the overloading of trucks, or at least require that trucks found with too much weight would be pulled from service. The fact is that even if a truck is found to be overweight in violation of state or federal law, a common response is simply to ticket the driver and allow the truck back onto the road with its unsafe weight. Truckers and trucking companies remain ultimately responsible for any accident and injuries caused by a negligently-loaded truck.
If you were injured on Kentucky, Indiana or Tennessee roads or highways such as the Dixie Highway in a truck accident caused by an overloaded or unbalanced tractor-trailer, call the Slechter Law Firm at 502-694-5407 in Louisville or email us for a no-cost consultation about how to pursue your claim for compensation.