Capps, Cantwell, Capps & Byrd

An overloaded truck with a new driver could spell disaster

As a motorist concerned with safety on a busy highway, your first instinct would be to stay away from an 18-wheeler with overloaded cargo. The problem is, you would probably not see danger coming.

Trucks with overloaded cargo can be off balance and hard to control. If a new, inexperienced driver is operating the big rig, the potential for trouble increases.

Shifting cargo

A truck that is overloaded violates various state and federal laws, but the owner of the truck may feel that carrying more cargo in anticipation of a bigger payday outweighs the risks. Safety is a major concern. A sudden sharp turn or lane change may cause cargo to shift. The truck then becomes off balance and is subject to rollover, an accident no motorist wants to be near.

Training is essential

A company that observes the rules and is concerned about safety must ensure that a new driver undergoes proper training, which includes learning the correct loading procedures. Imagine that a new driver is operating an overloaded truck on a steep incline with a busy intersection at the bottom. Because of the overload, braking distances will increase. The inexperienced driver may not be able to apply the additional braking force that is needed in time, and a terrible crash at the intersection might be the result.

Maintenance issues

Carrying excess cargo also causes premature wear on equipment. For example, uneven load distribution can adversely affect the truck’s axles. Tires will also run hotter and therefore wear out sooner than they should. Maintenance costs and operating expenses will obviously increase when trucks are routinely overloaded.

Liability increases

If you are the victim of a truck-car crash, an investigation will determine how the accident occurred and who is responsible for your injuries. Investigators will look at the maintenance records of the truck. They will look at the training the driver received, and much more. Your personal injury attorney will need to be very thorough in discovering where the fault for the accident should lie: An overloaded truck can result in liability on many fronts.

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