Delivery trucks are used to transport and deliver cargo all over the world. They have to conform to certain rules when it comes to maintenance of vehicles and loading, transporting and delivering goods.
A delivery truck collision can be caused by a number of factors, such as a distracted driver, poor vehicle maintenance, driver fatigue and malfunctioning parts. Improper weight distribution of cargo is one of the main factors that can cause a delivery truck collision on the road.
This article will discuss how improper weight distribution can lead to a delivery truck collision and who is legally liable if this event occurs. If you experience a wreck caused by a dangerously loaded vehicle, a truck accident lawyer in Houston may be able to help.
Table of Contents
Delivery Trucks Have Cargo Weight Limits
The weight limits for delivery trucks are set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The weight will vary by type of truck, size, model and whether it is a single axle or tandem axle vehicle.
Large trucks or 18 wheelers will have a maximum weight of 80,000 pounds, of which the maximum cargo weight is 34,000 pounds. The FMCSA also gives every driver a handbook telling them how to properly load and secure cargo on a delivery truck.
Risks of Overloaded and Improperly Loaded Trucks
Overloading occurs when the truck is so heavy that it exceeds the weight limits put forward by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
It has been mandated that the vehicle’s identification plate should mention the maximum allowable weight by type of axle as well as the maximum permissible gross vehicle weight. Both truck drivers and loaders should pay attention to these details.
Truck Loads Can Be Improperly Balanced
Unbalanced loading means the load is unevenly distributed. This can put extra pressure on the vehicle’s axles, tires, frame and suspension. If any of them fail, it can cause a collision.
Too much weight on the front portion of the trailer will result in the brakes being more sensitive than normal. When this happens, that can cause the trailer to swing out wide during transport, leading to a jackknife accident.
If there is too much load on either side, that could result in a rollover accident. Rollover accidents can be incredibly dangerous for the truck driver and other motorists, as the vehicle’s trailer may take up multiple lanes of travel and cargo may spill onto the roadway.
Trucks Can Be Underweight
A truck not carrying sufficient weight can also have performance issues. If a truck’s weight is not properly balanced, the truck’s braking may perform differently than expected. Particularly in adverse weather, this can increase the chances of the truck skidding. A driver may lose control of an underweight commercial vehicle in heavy rain or on icy roads.
Liability in Truck Crashes Involving Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Trucks
It is often the case that the company that owns the truck is also responsible for loading it. If negligent loading causes a traffic accident, anyone injured may potentially be able to sue the trucking company. However if a third party was hired to load the truck, they may share partial liability for the collision or even be entirely responsible for the collision.
It is important to note that the truck driver can also be held liable for improper loading, even if they did not personally load their vehicle’s cargo. This is because federal regulations require that truck drivers inspect their vehicle and make sure that cargo is securely loaded before starting their journey.
Drivers in the U.S. have to inspect their cargo after the first 50 miles of a trip, and then after every 3 hours or 150 miles, or whenever he or she makes a change of duty status. They may be held liable if they fail to comply with these requirements.
Improper loading can lead to catastrophic delivery truck accidents.Trucking companies must take all precautions possible to ensure that proper regulations are followed regarding the loading and inspection of cargo. Doing so substantially reduces the risk of serious collisions.
Article Last Updated: December 12, 2023.