From basic consumer goods like food, clothing and electronics to heavy equipment and hazardous substances, tractor-trailers are crucial for moving products across the U.S. According to a 2019 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, over 13 million large trucks transport goods around the country.
Unfortunately, if these oversized trucks are not loaded correctly, catastrophic accidents may occur.
How truck loads cause accidents
There are three significant ways a truck can crash due to load problems.
1. Heavy loads
Manufacturers design trucks with a maximum weight limit. If a load weighs more than this limit, the truck may experience the following:
- Mechanical malfunctions due to excess stress on the engine and other systems
- Difficulty stopping or slowing on steep downward inclines
- Brakes failing to bring the truck to a stop as quickly as needed
2. Improperly secured loads
Trucking company employees must secure goods before transport. When heavy items move, the following may happen:
- Objects can crash into the drivers’ cabs, causing them to lose control
- Loads may fall off the bed and cause a debris field or crush another vehicle
- Shifting goods might cause the truck to overturn
If trucks lose a load of hazardous chemicals, the entire community may be at risk for injury.
3. Unbalanced loads
Unequally distributed loads may cause the brakes, tires and other mechanical parts to wear unevenly, leading to mechanical malfunctions and accidents. An unbalanced load also makes it easier for the truck to tip or jackknife.
Federal laws hold various parties liable
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires transportation companies to follow specific load securing routines. If loads shift and cause an accident, the injured party may file a lawsuit against the negligent parties.
Knowing who is responsible when large truck loads shift and cause accidents allows injured people the opportunity to collect damages.