Overloaded Semi Truck Accidents Lawyer St. Louis

Overloaded Semi Truck Accidents Lawyers in St. Louis and Missouri

A fully loaded tractor and trailer or commercial motor vehicle (CMV) can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That’s more than 20 times the weight of your standard sized vehicle. Truck drivers are responsible for keeping their truck and trailer’s combined weight below 80,000 pounds. There are a few ways around this requirement where a trucking company can adjust the weight of an overloaded trailer, but it involves running with low fuel at all times and sharing the weight of the trailer with the truck.

Overloaded tractor trailers claim numerous lives and leave thousands injured across the United States every year. Trucking companies are responsible for all of the harms and losses they cause from overloadedtractor-trailer accidents. Contact The Overloaded Semi Truck Accidents Lawyers of the Dixon Injury Firm for more information if you have been injured by calling (314) 409-7060.

Overloaded Semi Truck Accident Attorneys in St. Louis

The road is risky enough even if every driver is following the rules and doing their best to be safe. That makes it especially frustrating when professional truck drivers increase the risks to their fellow drivers by getting on the road in overloaded / overweight trucks.

More Mass in a Overloaded Semi Truck Accident Crash

The main reason trucks are so much more dangerous than normal-sized passenger cars is because trucks are so much bigger. Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that when trucks and cars collide, the car almost always loses. Depending on how full a truck is, it can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as a passenger car. It is not surprising that of the 3,852 people that died in large truck crashes in 2015, 69% were in a passenger car and 16% were in a truck (the others were on bikes or on foot).

That stark contrast actually understates the risk to cars, though. In crashes between one car and one truck, 97% of the deaths were in the car. In other words, there is an incredibly small chance that a truck driver will be killed when he or she crashes into a car. For that reason, truck drivers have a responsibility to carefully follow their vehicle’s instructions for safe loading. When a driver hits the road in an overloaded / overweight truck, that only adds to their size advantage making them even more of a risk to smaller cars.

Rollover Risks Increased

Tractor-trailers are vulnerable to tipping over, known as suffering a “rollover” accident, because they have a high center of gravity. This risk can increase dramatically when a truck is overloaded. In one study, the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine found that almost half of truck rollover accidents were caused by drivers going too fast for the conditions, including factors like sharp turns and slippery roads.

The study looked at 108 speed-related rollovers and 26 were caused at least in part by the truck’s load being either too heavy, insecurely fastened, or mounted too high. Load issues have twice as much impact on rollover crashes as any other truck crashes. In 18 of the 26 load-related crashes, the overloads were combined with misjudgment. In other words, if the driver had been more careful when driving his or her overloaded / overweight truck it still may not have rolled over despite being overloaded.

The study went on to point out that poor loading is a pre-operation factor in crashes. That means that by the time an overloaded truck is on the road, the driver has already made the mistake that may lead to a crash. That is different than a driver choosing to drive over the speed limit once he or she is already in the car. There are also some situations where trucks are loaded without the driver’s involvement, and in that case the rollover can be blamed at least in part on the people that loaded it. For the drivers, the study says that trucking companies should give simulation training to their drivers so they can learn about the risk of rollover without first having to actually roll over a truck. Unfortunately, too many companies and their drivers hit the road in overloaded / overweight trucks, and when they cause damage a good lawyer is needed to obtain compensation.

Truck and Trailer Weight Standards for Interstate Driving

The typical semi truck weighs roughly 18,000 to 22,000 pounds including the driver, driver’s personal items, fuel, and other necessities. The empty 53 foot trailer weighs roughly 15,000 pounds and may be loaded up to 44,000 or 46,000 pounds. This means that the average semi tractor and trailer has a combined weight of 75,000 to 80,000 pounds. The weight of these vehicles results in some of those most devastating accidents on our roadways. Here are a few alarming statistics:

  • TruckSafety.org indicates that nearly 30% of trucks are overloaded at any given time.
  • Nearly 4,000 CMVs were involved in fatal crashes in 2014.
  • Large trucks were responsible for roughly 88,000 injuries in 2014.
  • Large trucks were involved in about 346,000 property-damage-only crashes in 2014.
  • At a rate of 2,000 to 3,000 miles per week, the average truck driver may drive up to 156,000 miles per year. The average mileage for a standard vehicle is 12,000 miles per year.

How Trucks and Trailers are Weighed

Both the truck and the trailer must be weighed in order to ensure that they are below the 80,000 pound limit as a pair. This can be done a few different ways.

  • One Axle Weigh Method: Each axle is driven onto the scale to be weighed independently. Those weights are added together to get the total weight of the pair.
  • One Stop Weigh Method: The truck and trailer are driven onto a platform equipped with a series of scales. The scales are connected to an electronic controller that automatically calculates the total weight of the pair.
  • Weigh in Motion Weigh Method: The truck and trailer are driven across a platform equipped with a series of scales that weigh the pair while the truck is moving. The truck must slow down, but it is not required to come to a complete stop.

Drivers of overweight trucks often face expensive fees as a deterrent against driving overloaded. Many of those fees are passed on to the company that employs the driver. Here are some of the fees involved in Missouri:

  • $25.50 for 6,000 pounds or less to $1,719.50 for over 78,000 pounds
  • $7.50 per semi trailer

Additional fees may be charged in accordance with National laws and fees for running with an overweight truck and trailer combination.

Types of Accidents due to Overloaded Trucks

Overloaded trucks pose a risk to the driver of the truck as well as every other driver on the road. Load instability and improper security measures are just the beginning of the issues. A heavy load makes the truck more difficult to handle and stop. An unbalanced load will cause the truck to sway and may cause the trailer to roll over in steep curves.

  • Heavy Loads: A 20,000 pound truck hauling a 50,000 pound trailer with cargo is very common on our roadways. That means that the average tractor trailer weighs in at approximately 70,000 to 75,000 pounds of the 80,000 pound limit. Trailers that are loaded past legal capacity create a dangerous situation for the truck driver and everyone around them.
  • Speeding: Speed limits are set with good road conditions and proper driving conditions in mind. Rain and other inclement weather requires more attention and slower speeds. Tractor trailers are difficult to stop and difficult to control in good conditions – wet or icy roads make it even more dangerous.
  • Flatbed Trucks: Flatbed trucks are often used for cargo that doesn’t require shelter or boxes for protection. The cargo is simply secured with tie downs and other straps. Cargo must be properly secured to prevent it from falling off of the truck and into traffic.
  • Shifting Cargo: The cargo in any trailer has to be secured or it can shift and cause instability with the truck and trailer. Stacks of cargo that go too high or too wide for stability are a danger to both the driver and other drivers on the road.

Crashes resulting from overloaded tractor-trailers are the result of corporations trying to make more money by paying less. Overloading these large commercial trucks allows trucking companies to make less trips, pay drivers less, and save money. Unfortunately, they all too often result in devastating truck accidents which cost lives.

Trucking Accident Prevention Laws are Not New

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created and complied a long list of safety rules that all commercial motor vehicle drivers must obey. These rules and regulations are designed to ensure trucking companies and drivers are using the nation’s roads in a safe manner, and not just to make a profit. Given the devastating nature of tractor trailer accidents, it is important large semi-truck drivers pay attention to all applicable laws and regulations.

How to Find The Right Trucking Accident Lawyers in St. Louis and Missouri

Hiring an attorney after a trucking accident is extremely important. Taking on a large trucking company requires an injury firm with experience and determination to ensure you obtain nothing less than full reimbursement for your harms and losses. These large commercial vehicles must be inspected immediately after the crash to ensure evidence is not hidden or destroyed.

Chris Dixon is an expert at fighting the large trucking companies and their insurance companies in order to make sure that his injured clients are compensated for damage caused by overloaded trucks.

The St. Louis Overloaded Semi Truck Accidents Lawyers of the Dixon Injury Firm in St. Louis can help you gather the evidence you need to get the compensation you deserve for the injuries you’ve sustained during an overloaded truck accident. Contact the St. Louis tractor-trailer accident lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm by calling 314-409-7060 or toll free at 855-40-CRASH, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All initial consultations are FREE and there is never a fee for our services unless we win your case.

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