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Overloading Is a Rule Violation and Safety Risk for Big Rigs

Did you know that overloading is among the leading causes of truck accidents? Overloading cargo violates various state and federal regulations, and yet the practice continues.

Would you know how to spot a potential overload problem involving a big rig traveling in the lane next to you?

Accidents have many causes

Eighteen-wheelers are so much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles that when a collision occurs, it is usually catastrophic, and the occupants of the car suffer the greatest injuries. The truck might have a blowout or the brakes might fail. The driver might be driving distracted, or there could simply be an equipment malfunction. On the other hand, loaders could have overloaded the truck. Shifting cargo can cause an imbalance that increases the chance that the driver will lose control.

Watch for signs

Be aware of any telltale signs that a truck may be pulling overloaded cargo. If you notice that the tires look worn, keep in mind that continuous overloading will eventually cause wear and tear on tires; they will run hotter because of the additional weight and wear out more quickly than they should. If you also notice that the truck has a rear end that sags, overloading is entirely possible. If the truck seems to shimmy or drift in and out of its lane, stay well away; the driver may be having trouble controlling the big vehicle because of shifting cargo.

Overloading creates a liability

The practice of overloading, while in violation of regulations, will also increase operating expenses and shorten the life of a truck. More importantly, it is a safety issue that connects directly to risk management. If the big rig in the next lane crashes into you, the driver, the trucking company and other related parties may be liable for any injuries you sustain. A personal injury attorney will tell you that accidents involving commercial trucks are complex: be there must be an examination of logs and maintenance records and analysis of black boxes. However, reconstructionists will investigate to determine whether a truck with overloaded cargo caused the accident.