Overloaded Truck Accidents Pose Danger to Ohio Motorists

Almost 4,000 people died in large truck crashes in 2016, representing a 27 percent increase in road deaths from 2009. There are a number of factors that contribute to unsafe road conditions, including the negligence of truckers and commercial truck companies and their failure to monitor driver fatigue, tire conditions and rig overloading. All of the above can increase the risk of accident, injuries and deaths for American motorists.

When truck accidents do occur, most deaths that result are passenger vehicle occupants, primarily because of their vulnerability in a smaller vehicle. Trucks often weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger vehicles. When trucks are overloaded, a semi’s braking ability is compromised. Even legally loaded tractor-trailers require up to 40 percent more distance to stop than cars, and even longer with poorly maintained brakes or extremely heavy loads. The stopping distance increases with every pound added. Overloading raises the possibility of brake failure.

It is estimated that overloaded trucks account for around 5 percent of the truck accidents on the nation’s roads and highways. When trucks are overloaded with too much cargo, the likelihood of tire blowouts, rollovers and other deadly accidents increases. About one in ten deaths on the nation’s highways is the result of a crash involving a large truck, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Ohio personal injury attorney, experienced in investigating and settling truck and traffic accident claims nationwide. To learn more about overloaded truck accidents & legal claims, call 800.513.2403.

Why Do Truckers Overload Commercial Vehicles?

Federal and state transportation departments have clear weight limits for commercial vehicles, however, truck drivers may be paid by the size of the loads they deliver. Also, trucking companies can maximize profits when they maximize truck loads on each delivery. For these reasons, trucks often push weight limits and even exceed the legal weight limits, endangering everyone on the road.

The Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code are the authorities on the maximum allowable weights on roadway and bridges within Ohio. The Hauling Permit Operational Guide, published by the Ohio Department of Transportation, lists the following guidelines for truck weight limits:

  • Single Axle maximum weight: 29,000 pounds
  • Short Tandem maximum weight: 36,000 pounds
  • Long Tandem maximum weight: 50,000 pounds
  • Short Tri Axle maximum weight: 47,000 pounds
  • Short Quad Axle or Long Tri Axle maximum weight: 60,000 pounds
  • Long Quad Axle maximum weight: 80,000 pounds

The Dangers of Overloading Commercial Trucks

Overloaded truck accidents, or accidents caused by excess truck weight is completely preventable. It is crucial that truck drivers and trucking companies take responsibility and observe the weight limits set forth in Ohio and across the country. Some of the many dangers an overloaded truck can pose to motorists include:

  • Overloaded cargo may shift, making it more difficult for a truck to control the rig.
  • Overloaded vehicles may speed up unintentionally when moving downhill, making it more difficult for the driver to brake.
  • An overloaded truck may cause a bridge or road collapse.
  • Too much weight can cause too much tire pressure and lead to tire blowouts.
  • A truck that is overloaded and going uphill can experience trouble and stall.
  • Overloading a truck raises its center of gravity and increases the chances of a rollover.
  • Increase in weight increases the stopping distance for a vehicle.
  • Too much weight on a vehicle’s suspension system can cause spring, shock or brake failure, handling or steering problems.
  • Overloading a truck with under inflated tires may lead to tire failure.

Legal Action Following Overloaded Truck Accidents

The most efficient way of determining the cause of a truck-related accident is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can investigate with the assistance of accident experts. If a serious injury or death has resulted, victims are likely to be compensated for various damages, medical costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

Trucking employers and transport companies are accountable for their drivers and their on-road behavior. If trucking management or drivers overload their commercial vehicles, they can be liable for contributing to unsafe and dangerous roadways.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a preventable truck accident in Ohio, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.