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How Does Overloading Contribute to Truck Accidents?

Like elsewhere in the United States, many truck accidents in Missouri can be attributed to poor truck maintenance, speeding, and truck driver fatigue. A fourth factor, however, is contributing more and more to unsafe commercial trucking: overloading.

To address this issue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented regulations that address this growing problem. Commercial trucks must now follow two rating guides: gross combination weight and gross axle weight. These ratings apply weight limits that mean a load should never be more than a truck’s combined rating for both its axles and its load. Unfortunately, some truck companies regularly exceed weight limits and allow their trucks to travel longer distances to reduce operations costs and other expenses. An overloaded truck has an increased risk of being in a truck accident, according to federal regulators.

The risks are threefold. First, an overloaded truck is less able to respond to emergency conditions. This factor alone can cause an accident. Second, too much weight drastically reduces braking ability and means a truck takes longer to stop. In many cases, drivers misjudge their stopping distance and end up being in or causing accidents. Third, overloading contributes to truck rollovers because of load shifting during sudden turns and even lane changes. Federal and state regulators have long known about these problems and have implemented regulations that address these issues. Unfortunately, too many overloaded trucks still travel the country’s public roads and highways.

Violating federal trucking regulations can mean that the trucking company and its driver are risking the lives of other motorists, which means they are committing acts of negligence. In the event of a truck accident, if overloading is determined to be a factor, then anyone injured or the family of anyone killed may be able to hold the trucker and operator liable for their actions.

Source: Automotive-fleet, “Overloading is the No. 1 Danger Facing Your Fleet“, Accessed on Nov. 12, 2014