Determining if a truck is too heavy is not arbitrary. State and federal regulations limit the maximum weight for tractor-trailers. Plus, manufacturers have tonnage limits for their vehicles. Adhering to those limits is critical. When overfilled, semis cause more damage and are more likely to be in an accident. Carrying excess weight makes it more likely that a trucker will rear-end other drivers, jackknife, rollover, or have a runaway truck. When you are in a wreck, consulting a lawyer familiar with overloaded/overweight truck accidents in Sandy Springs is essential. Our experienced team of 18-wheeler crash attorneys at The Hammers Firm could help you pursue legal action against the responsible party.
Truckers must comply with state and federal regulations regarding the cargo they haul. According to federal law, depending on the number of axles, a tractor-trailer can tow between 42,000 and 48,000 pounds. Combining the cargo with the cab and trailer means the total amount can be up to 80,000 pounds. Under Georgia Code § 32-6-26, the maximum single axle weight is 20,340 pounds, and the maximum tandem axle weight is 40,680 pounds. Any heavier, and it is an oversized load, which requires special permitting.
In addition to laws, manufacturers provide tonnage limits for their vehicles. A driver should comply with the lowest amount, whether from the state or federal regulations or the manufacturer’s limits. To help drivers comply, there are weigh stations throughout the state. While these stations can help flag violators, they cannot catch every noncompliant vehicle.
Truckers can obtain oversized load permits, although they come with restrictions: Special permits expire after ten days, and operators can only drive during daylight hours. Even special permits do not negate truck manufacturer limits, though—while a trucker may haul heavier shipments, they are still responsible for any accidents caused by an overloaded or overweight truck wreck in Sandy Springs.
Overloaded semis on the road are more likely to be in an accident. Hauling too much can make the tractor-trailer more difficult to stop, requiring a greater braking distance. Overweight trucks are also more likely to speed or run away in downhill stretches. They can be more challenging to steer and experience tire blowouts, resulting in rollovers, spilled cargo, and even jackknives. Because of their excessive weight, they are also likely to cause more severe damage in a crash.
Distracted driving and other kinds of driver negligence are some leading causes of trucking accidents. Truckers are typically responsible for complying with all regulations. Employers who make their drivers work long hours can be held accountable for poor driving behavior.
Drivers and trucking companies are not always responsible for overweight loads. A third group—such as a loading company, warehouse workers, or other contractors— fills most trailers and may be liable when an oversized load contributes to an accident. A proactive Sandy Springs lawyer can investigate who was responsible for packing the trailer in an overweight trucking accident.
Tractor-trailer collisions are more complicated than other wrecks. They get even more complex when they involve third parties, such as loading companies or warehouses. Consulting with a lawyer who has experience dealing with overloaded/overweight truck accidents in Sandy Springs is essential to protect your legal rights. Our team could investigate and determine whether improper packing contributed to the crash. Schedule a consultation with one of the seasoned legal professionals at The Hammers Firm today.