Overloaded trucks are a menace on local interstates and highways. Unfortunately, greedy companies determined to save money often take advantage of a tractor-trailer’s capabilities, violate the law, and put others at risk.
Reach out to a hardworking tractor-trailer crash attorney immediately if you suffered injuries in an overloaded or overweight truck accident in Houston. You could hold negligent parties liable and secure compensation to cover your lost income, medical expenses, and pain and suffering resulting from your accident.
Federal law limits commercial tractor-trailers to 80,000 pounds when driving on interstate highways. However, depending on the circumstances, Texas Transportation Code §621.101 allows a slightly higher weight on local roads. Other roadways, bridges, and overpasses may only permit trucks of significantly less weight.
Trucking company overhead is high and includes insurance, fuel, vehicle wear and tear, and driver salary. Because of this, companies try to transport goods as efficiently as possible, sometimes overloading a trailer to limit their costs. According to a recent study, overweight trucks account for 25 to 30 percent of trucks on the road.
If a trucker is caught with an overloaded vehicle in this state, they are subject to a few hundred dollar fine. If a truck is overweight by more than 5000 pounds, the fines get steeper and exceed $1000. Even worse, repeat offenders risk jail time. However, the financial incentive to carry more cargo exceeds the risk of a fine in most cases, and trucks continue to haul more weight than the law allows. A seasoned attorney in Houston could investigate the weight limit on the road where an accident occurred and determine if a trucker violated the law.
The weight a tractor-trailer can carry safely depends on how many axles it has, the spacing between them, how many tires support each one, as well as tire size and other factors. Putting too much weight on a trailer could stress the axles and tires, causing a break or blowout. Controlling a truck after this type of mishap is challenging and could lead to a collision involving other vehicles.
Additionally, excess weight can distort a semi’s steering, making it difficult for a trucker to avoid going into adjacent lanes. Likewise, a truck’s brakes could overheat or fail if the trailer’s load is too heavy.
In some cases, trucks could carry appropriate weight but be overloaded. Safe loading requires even distribution of the cargo’s weight. The truck could jackknife or tip if heavy loads shift in a moving trailer. Even if the trucker maintains control, handling this massive vehicle could be impossible with a shifting load, creating a hazardous situation for other drivers and their passengers. With the help of a hardworking lawyer in Houston, an overloaded truck crash victim could collect evidence that proves a truck exceeded weight limits.
An overweight truck is evidence of negligence. Violating the laws that govern semi weight limits is negligence per se. If a skilled local attorney establishes that a truck was overweight, it proves a trucker was negligent.
The trucking company may also be liable. Often, the trucking company determines the load the trailer carries, and the trucker has little choice but to agree to avoid losing their job. An injured motorist could hold the trucking company responsible for their losses in such cases. Likewise, a truck crash victim could pursue damages against the company that loaded the truck. Shoddy loading or stowing more cargo than the trailer can safely haul is also negligence.
Overweight or overloaded truck accidents in Houston are rarely coincidences. Often, these collisions result from greedy truckers or corporations prioritizing profits over the safety of innocent motorists.
Work with a local injury attorney to hold the negligent parties accountable for the losses you suffered. Reach out to us at Roberts Markland LLP to schedule a consultation.