Trucks are some of the most powerful, dangerous vehicles on U.S. roadways. These large commercial vehicles often dwarf other cars and trucks, most of which they would seriously damage in any accident. For this reason, trucks are heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
One of the most important rules that the organization set forth was the prohibition on overloading trucks with cargo. Chicago truck accident attorneys know this practice is common among carrier companies who place profits above safety. They are often tempted to pack their vehicles to the max to decrease shipment expenses, and thus increase profits. However, this often leads to trucks that do not maneuver properly or that are prone to dangerous problems.
New Jersey 101.5 reports that an 11-year-old New Jersey girl was recently killed when her school bus prematurely pulled into an intersection. A large commercial dump truck had the right-of-way, but should have had sufficient time to stop in order to avoid the collision. However, the truck was overloaded by 5,000 pounds. This, in combination with a defect in the brake system, caused the two vehicles to collide. Five other students were injured in the crash. Chicago truck accident attorneys understand that these preventable accidents often occur in Illinois.
Cause of the increased danger
According to Automotive Fleet, overloading is the number one danger for truckers and those around them. Overloaded vehicles have reduced emergency handling capability. Braking distance increases, and truck drivers often misjudge stopping distances for their heavier-than-normal vehicles. Depending on how loads are placed, trucks may experience a raised center of gravity as well. This dangerous condition can greatly increase the chances of the truck being involved in a rollover accident. Overloaded hauls are also more likely to shift while in transit, which can cause drivers to completely lose control.
Laws and regulations
Illinois law utilizes a formula to determine how much weight each vehicle can safely handle. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the maximum weight for trucks is dependent on the space between the outer axles and the number of axles on the vehicles. Carriers must also be sure to not overload one of their axles on a multi-axle truck. This can be as dangerous as overloading the entire vehicle. Additionally, no matter how large a vehicle is, even those with five and six axles, no truck may have a maximum weight greater than 80,000 lbs. However, carriers may petition for a permit to allow exceptions to these rules in certain situations.
Those who have been injured in a truck accident may have cause to receive compensation for their damages. Injured individuals should discuss their cases with Chicago truck accident attorneys to ensure that they have the best chance at a recovery.