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Oversized Truck Loads Can Lead To Increased Accidents

Big rig with a reefer trailer.Considering that large trucks are already high-weight and hard to stop and control, adding an over-sized load to the equation can lead to an exponential increased risk for a serious truck accident. These large loads are often wide and may have two or more trailers, creating a monstrous presence on roadways. When the unexpected happens and these trucks have to try to maneuver or stop quickly, the results can be disastrous.

Oversized Truck Accidents

You only need to look as far as YouTube if you want to see the results of these large loads on the highways. Although precautions may be taken with these large loads, they do not negate the fact that they are large and unwieldy, making controlling them difficult at best.

  • Higher chance of fatality. The heavier the load, the more likely it is to be in a fatal crash. Even legal load trucks at 80,000 lbs are over 50% more likely to be in a fatal crash then loads that weigh less then 65,000.
  • Stopping distance is much longer. The stopping distance increases by about 25% for each additional 20,000 lbs over 80,000. That means if an 80,000 lb vehicle takes 300 ft to stop, a 120,000 lb vehicle may take 450 ft, to stop. That is 1½-football fields! 11 people were killed on the Amtrak train in 1999 when a semi-truck could not stop in time for a railroad crossing and it was not even an over-sized load.
  • Lower clearance. In January of 2000, an oversized load truck with both pilot cars and a police escort accidentally got off its approved route and was lodged on a California railway crossing due to low clearance. A train hit the load, causing over $2 million in damages and several injuries.

Regulations On Over-Sized Loads

Lawmakers know these trucks are dangerous and have many regulations on when, where and how they can transport goods. These restrictions alone show how these large cargo loads are perceived as dangerous.

  • Their sheer weight can make them unable to travel on certain highways and bridges that cannot handle them. All their routes must be pre-approved by DOT.
  • Many are too high to be able to go under certain bridges or overpasses. Even knowing this, drivers of these large trucks are consistently getting stuck or causing damage to bridges and overpasses trying to go under them.
  • They need pilot cars to guide them and in most states are not allowed to travel at night.

When encountering one of these vehicles on the road, give them plenty of space. If the unexpected happens, the driver has little control over a load that is over-sized or overweight. The load can shift and even overturn the trailer or entire vehicle if the driver tries to stop or swerve. It is best to try and avoid these dangerous trucks whenever possible.

(Editor Notes: Oversized Loads and Trucking accidents are a problem in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and across the United States. If you are injured as a result of a RI Truck or Trucking  Accident Please contact East Providence Personal Injury Lawyer David Slepkow 401-437-1100)


Article by Chicago Attorney Jonathan Rosenfeld reprinted with permission

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