Tractor-trailers have to be properly loaded and secured, and not just for the sake of the goods arriving undamaged. An improperly loaded truck is a ticking time bomb on the road. An overloaded 18-wheeler is at risk of tire failure, and the weight of the truck multiplies the force of any crash. An unbalanced load can cause the driver to lose control and increases the chance of a rollover accident. If the load is not properly secured, cargo can fly off of or out of the truck, creating havoc and catastrophic injuries to numerous others on the road. When safety organizations like the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conduct roadside inspections of commercial vehicles, improper loading and securement top the list of dangerously unsafe practices uncovered, along with bad or missing brake components and worn-out tires.
People don’t commonly think of the dangers of an overloaded or improperly loaded truck. Truck accidents are complex events, and deciphering the cause of a wreck after the fact can be a complicated matter. At Durham Law Group, our Atlanta overloaded truck accident lawyers bring together years of diverse experience to understand the facts of a crash and build a case that proves what happened and who is at fault. We go to great lengths to recover a significant amount of compensation for truck accident victims left with catastrophic injuries or the loss of a loved one, whether settling a claim out of court or trying a case to a jury verdict. If you or a family member is in need of an Atlanta overloaded truck accident lawyer, call Durham Law Group at 404-845-3434 to discuss your potential claims.
How Much Can Trucks Weigh in Georgia
Since 18-wheelers are such an essential element to interstate commerce, the federal government regulates the trucking industry extensively, including placing weight limits on trucks. State governments also regulate the safety aspects of big rigs traveling through their state as well. In Georgia, the maximum gross weight allowed is 70,000 pounds on four axles or 80,000 pounds on five axles. For trucks on two or three axles, the maximum gross weight equals 20,340 pounds times the number of axles. For tractor-trailers with an actual total gross weight between 73,280 pounds and 80,000 pounds, the maximum total gross weight authorized for the vehicle and the load is determined by a calculation using the state bridge formula.
Georgia’s weight limits and bridge formula roughly mirror the standards set by the federal government. For non-interstate routes, some of these weight limits can be exceeded depending on what is being hauled and where. Georgia county roads have a gross weight limit of 56,000 pounds unless making a pickup or delivery.
What Happens at a Weigh Station
At the Georgia state line and various other intervals along the highway, semi-trucks are required to pull into weigh stations, where they are weighed and inspected. Inspectors may be looking for a number of violations, including illegal shipments or cargo that was not reported accurately, but they will also weigh the truck to make sure it matches the shipping log and is not overweight. Even if a truck is found to be overweight, however, often the worst that happens is that the driver is cited for the weight violation and then allowed to continue toward the truck’s destination with the overweight load. Weigh stations are not a perfect deterrent or remedy for an overweight semi.
Overweight Trucks Are Particularly Dangerous
The dangers of an overloaded truck are numerous. Some of the primary safety concerns include:
- Overweight trucks tend to go uphill too slowly and downhill too fast, posing dangers to other vehicles in both directions.
- An overloaded trailer puts too much stress on the trucks’ tires and brake systems, and they could fail at a critical moment when a properly loaded truck would not.
- An overloaded truck is more likely to roll over due to having a higher center of gravity than the rig was designed for.
- A heavily overloaded truck could collapse a bridge or overpass, creating a catastrophic disaster on the road.
Atlanta Truck Accident Attorneys Holding Trucking Companies and Shippers Liable for Overloaded or Improperly Loaded and Secured Semis
If you have been hurt in an Atlanta truck accident or lost a loved one due to a truck crash in Fulton or Dekalb County, call Durham Law Group, P.C. at 404-845-3434. Our dedicated truck accident attorneys will work to determine the cause of the crash and hold responsible parties accountable to you for the full amount of the damage and harm they have caused. Call anytime for a no-cost consultation to get started with your claim.