Most traffic collisions involving a truck result in devastating injuries and tragic losses. Sadly, according to the United States Department of Transportation, there are over 500,000 commercial motor vehicle accidents every year. Many of these collisions are due to trucking companies and businesses overloading or improperly loading vehicles. For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets strict loading guidelines that all trucking companies are legally required to follow. Unfortunately, it's rare to find a trucking company that isn't willing to cut corners just to make a profit.
Properly loading a truck isn't like playing a game of Tetris. Loaders need to be careful about how much cargo is being loaded and how heavy the items are. If there is an uneven distribution of weight, the truck could easily tip over and injure innocent drivers. Even standard maneuvers like changing lanes or turning the truck can become dangerous if the vehicle's cargo is unevenly distributed.
Unfortunately, an accident can still happen even if the truck is carrying an acceptable and balanced amount of weight. If the cargo isn't properly secured, it may come loose and topple inside (or outside) the vehicle. Not only does this affect the distribution of weight, it can also startle the driver and cause him to swerve into another lane.
"Overloading" occurs when a truck is so heavy that it exceeds the weight limits imposed by the FMCSA. Of course, weight limits vary depending on the type of truck being utilized. Truck drivers and cargo loaders must adhere to the vehicle's identification plate, which lists the maximum permissible gross vehicle weight and the maximum permissible axle weight. If a truck is overloaded, it may experience mechanical failure due to the extra weight. For example, if the driver's brakes fail, he may not be able to avoid a preventable collision. Also, the extra weight could impact a trucker's control when he is driving down an incline. In a worst-case scenario, he may rear-end another vehicle on the road.
Trucking companies and cargo companies know that an improperly loaded truck is incredibly dangerous to all drivers on the road. However, this doesn't stop them from disobeying the FMCSA's regulations in order to meet deadlines and increase their profits.
If you've been injured in a truck accident, contact the Montana truck accident attorneys at Odegaard Miller Law, PLLC. Our firm has been representing the residents of Montana for over three decades. We have a comprehensive understanding of federal trucking laws, and we want to help you recover the damages you need to safeguard your standard of living.
We fight for the rights of accident victims. Contact Odegaard Miller Law, PLLCat (406) 259-2222 to schedule a consultation.