Truck Accidents And Heavy Loads

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Truck accidents are a very serious concern on the highways of the United States and even within city limits. According to the Department of Transportation, an average of 500,000 truck accidents take place across the United States each year. Ten percent of these accidents result in at least one death. Of the 5,000 fatalities that occur due to the truck accidents, 3,600-3,700 of these are the drivers of the passenger vehicles that were in the accident along with the heavy truck. The rest of the fatalities are the truck drivers themselves or other people who get caught up in the truck accidents.

Even with increased efforts by the federal government, such as strict rules and regulations governing the trucking industry, these numbers don't seem to be diminishing. The high number of truck accidents can be attributed to the very nature of these trucks and their applications. Heavy trucks are trucks that weigh in excess of 10,000 pounds. But this is just the qualifying line. In reality, most heavy trucks weigh anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 pounds even without any loads.

Big trucks are typically used to carry heavy loads, which can increase the overall weight of the trucks considerably. These heavy loads, and the resulting weight, are a major cause of truck accidents.

Instances of Truck Accidents Due to Heavy Loads

A truck that is carrying a heavy load needs more space and time for braking than other vehicles. Very often, truck drivers and other drivers underestimate the braking requirements of a heavy truck, which is 40% greater than that of light vehicles. If a truck needs to brake suddenly, due to its heavy load, it needs to travel more distance before it can come to a stop. When the required distance is not available, as is the case in most situations where sudden braking is required, truck accidents (and often, head-on collisions) can occur.

Big trucks that carry heavy loads such as logs, construction beams, etc., pose an even greater danger to people, especially the truck drivers. When a truck carrying heavy loads of logs gets into a head-on collision with another vehicle, it could often be survivable, if not for the nature of the heavy loads. The collision ends up shifting the logs to the front of the truck, where they break the cab guard, enter the truck cab hitting the truck driver, thus resulting in serious injuries or death. In such situations, had the truck not have been carrying such type of heavy load, a major disaster and serious truck accident could have been avoided.

Some trucks, especially tanker trucks, carry heavy liquid loads such as water, oil, gas, chemicals, etc. These liquid loads have a tendency to move and slosh. If the tanker truck is not filled to capacity, or at least to three-quarters of its maximum capacity, then the liquid may slosh around the tanker, causing the heavy load to shift weight, which in turn makes it difficult to control the truck. A truck accident is more likely in these instances.

Many trucking companies also overload the trucks with heavy loads, making them even heavier. Especially if the heavy load is not secured properly, the additional weight can cause problems in handling the truck, which can then result in rollover or braking accidents.

Heavy loads on trucks can end up crushing the truck driver or other innocent people, if not handled correctly and according to the laws and requirements. Even when handled properly, the very characteristics of heavy loads can cause truck accidents, which is why the numbers of truck accidents are so alarming.


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