Overloaded Trucks in Indiana
When a truck driver causes an accident by operating a truck that is overloaded or has an unsecured load, it is usually someone else who ends up paying the price. In most cases, the truck driver will walk away from the accident, while the people in the other vehicle may suffer life-changing injuries or death.
Holding Indiana Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies Accountable
State and federal regulations govern both weight limits and proper loading of trailers. When truck drivers or trucking companies don’t follow these rules, the driving public is put at risk:
- Overloaded trucks are mroe difficult to stop. This can result in a truck crossing over the median into oncoming traffic, or rear-end collisions, especially when trucks follow other vehicles too closely or speed up to prepare for long inclines.
- Unbalanced loads can shift in transit, causing truck drivers to lose control or the truck, jackknife, or even tip over at high speeds, causing injuries or death to passenger vehicles.
- When loads are not properly secured, items falling off the truck bed can cause serious injury and death to other drivers around them.
Overloading or improperly loading a truck can make the difference between avoiding an accident and causing one.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,964 people killed and an estimated 95,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks. An estimated 342,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported traffic crashes during 2013. One common reason for catastrophic injuries in truck collisions is a driver’s loss of control of an overweight or overloaded truck.
Both federal and state laws include weight restrictions for trucks. Some states permit trucks to exceed this weight, but only with a special permit, and requires special conditions. If the rules regarding weight and overloading are broken and result in a serious truck accident, the victim or victims can bring a lawsuit for damages.
Truck manufacturers assign a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), and it is noted on a truck’s plate. The GVWR is calculated by rating brakes, axels, frame, suspension, and powertrain. No truck may carry more weight than is permitted by the rating and should not exceed a GVWR of 80,000 pounds, with certain exceptions permitted for intrastate trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains that if a truck does not have a plate, enforcement officers should assume a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident involving a truck in Indiana, prompt investigation is required to determine if overweight, unbalanced or unsecured cargo was a factor in causing the accident. If the truck driver or trucking company was at fault, you are entitled to full compensation for all of the damages you suffered in the accident.