While tractor-trailers transport enormous amounts of cargo on Florida roadways, large trucks that are overloaded or improperly loaded can cause horrific trucking accidents. There are strict state and federal regulations that limit the maximum weight of a fully loaded semi-truck and that dictate rules for securing a load. If trucking companies, shippers that load cargo, or commercial drivers fail to exercise reasonable care for the safety of other people on the road, the consequences can be permanent debilitating injuries and wrongful death.
Exceeding Maximum Weight for Tractor-Trailers and Cargo
When large trucks are overloaded with cargo, the excessive load can increase both the probability of a trucking accident and the severity of injuries. Overloaded trucks tend to be less responsive when drivers must maneuver to evade obstacles or stop because of an interruption in the flow of traffic. The maximum weight of a fully loaded tractor-trailer traveling on Florida roads is forty tons depending on the type of large truck. Commercial trucks transporting excessive loads also tend to be prone to crashes because of excessive wear on brakes and tires.
Drivers of 18-wheelers and their employers often disregard safety regulations that impose weight limits on fully loaded commercial vehicles. Overloading a big-rig creates a significant risk of catastrophic injuries that cause impairment of mental faculties, dismemberment, paralysis, disfigurement, and wrongful death. Basic physics dictates that any collision involving a large truck will generate more energy. Further, trucks with excessive loads will generate more force on the human body of passenger vehicle occupants because of the direct relationship between vehicle weight and the force of a collision.
Shifting & Unbalanced Loads Can Result in Potentially Deadly Cargo Shifts
A Large Truck Causation study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that loads that shift during transit contribute to more than one in ten collisions involving large trucks. Cargo that was not properly secured during transit caused 2,316 single vehicle big-rig crashes and 65 multi-vehicle collisions during a one-year period.
Federal regulations establish requirements for properly securing cargo because a load that shifts during transit can cause the driver to lose control of the big-rig. Commercial carriers must use appropriate cargo containment systems to ensure that loads do not shift and become unbalanced. These containment systems must be calculated to resist forces caused by the following:
- Deceleration while driving forward
- Lateral acceleration
- Deceleration while backing up
When commercial drivers and trucking companies fail to exercise reasonable care when balancing a load on a large truck, they put other individuals on Florida roadways at-risk of serious injury. Liability may be based on a lack of reasonable care or a violation of federal regulations regarding proper securing and balancing of loads. The trucking company can be financially responsible for an unbalanced load based on the following:
- Insufficient training of individuals loading commercial vehicles
- Negligence by drivers and other employees involved in the loading process
- Inadequate investigation of a truck driver’s background resulting in drivers lacking experience
- Deficient practices for safe loading
Unsecured Cargo Falling from Large Trucks
While inadequate loading or containment systems can result in an unbalanced load, the prospect of cargo falling into the roadway can present an even more dangerous scenario. Large heavy items or projectiles can fall off of a commercial truck and crush a vehicle or penetrate the windshield of a vehicle. In other cases, debris can fall into the roadway and create a dangerous obstruction or a slippery stretch of roadway. When cars attempt to divert around these obstructions or lose traction with the roadway, multi-car collisions can occur as motorists attempt to evade hazards and/or maintain control of their vehicle.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Catastrophic Injuries and Wrongful Death in Trucking Accidents in Southeast Florida
If you or a family member has been injured in a commercial trucking accident, our Florida Semi Accident Injury Lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.