Anything excessive can be damaging. Overloading a truck, especially with unevenly distributed or improperly secured goods, can impact the truck’s performance significantly and lead to catastrophic collisions.
In Georgia, the allowable truck weight on state roads is 80,000 pounds, with an 84,000-pound variance. A recently passed law, House Bill 189, increases it to as much as 88,000 pounds for those transporting agricultural or timber goods.
Unfortunately, even if the trucking industry has strict federal and state regulations, some truck operators still do not comply and neglect overloading’s deadly consequences.
Why overloading can be fatal
The laws of physics explain that the center of gravity is an object’s balancing point. So, a shifting gravitational force due to extra loads can destabilize a truck and potentially result in rollover accidents. When the cargo spills over, it can strike the car behind. Further, if surrounding vehicles try to swerve rapidly to avoid falling debris, the scenario can become a multivehicle pileup.
Overloading also increases:
- The wear-and-tear on mechanical components: The heavy weight’s pressure or force causes strained suspensions, and tire and brake failures
- The time to slow down: The running momentum from carrying an excessive load makes it harder to stop instantly
- The struggle to steer: The excess weight makes it difficult to maneuver and respond to sudden changes
Trucking companies often think that overloading their trucks can reduce operating costs and increase efficiency by cutting down on the number of trips. However, doing so only shortens their trucks’ service life and endangers their employee. It also exposes them to increased liability risks. Thus, they must observe safety and maintenance procedures to avoid unnecessary tragedies and lawsuits.
Why overloading is preventable
Overloading can harm trucks, loads, drivers, owners and other road users. In short, no one truly benefits from this hazardous practice. However, truck owners can prevent it by following payload capacity. Before their trucks hit the road, they can weigh them first. They must also check for signs of overloading, such as rears sagging or rear bumpers scraping the ground. But since it only takes a moment for a tragic crash to happen, affected parties must speak to a counsel who understands their legal concerns and helps them achieve favorable results.