Overloading: What's at Stake
Overweight/Overloaded/Improperly Loaded Trucks According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 3,900 fatalities and 104,000 individuals injured as a result of truck crashes in 2012. One common reason for catastrophic injuries in truck collisions is a driver's loss of control of an overweight or overloaded truck.
Both federal, state and provincial laws include weight restrictions for trucks. Some states/provinces will allow for overweigh permits, but only by documented and secured permission. What does this mean for the companies that are responsible for loading outbound trucks? That understanding the amalgamated weight placed in or on an outgoing truck is absolutely critical. All companies, in all industries are responsible for ensuring that (GVWR) Gross Vehicle Weigh Rating are not exceeded. The GVWR is determined by the trailer manufacturer and stamped on a plate secured to the vehicle for reference. Truck drivers are expected to make regular use of weighing stations to ensure that GVWR ratings are not exceeded and compliance is met by state/provincial regulatory administrations. If trailers are found to be overloaded the driver/company may be issued a fine and forced to unload and bay additional weight at the companies expense.
Mass Overloading Offences
Failure to comply with the aforementioned is committing an Mass Overloading Offence It is an criminal offence to exceed a mass limit on a heavy vehicle. Small breaches can be dealt with through penalty notice and fine, while more serious offences could require charges and court attendance.
Charges could be brought against any of the following responsible:
- Drivers employer or prime contractor
- Loading Manager
Accident and Liability
When a truck is overloaded its performance is likely to suffer and present challenges to the driver to maintain control. It may require additional braking force than the vehicle is capable of providing along with product shift during travel put both the driver and surrounding vehicles in danger. Especially on inclines, disproportionate trailer loading that compromises a single axel may lead to a multi-vehicle or roll over accident. Holding trucking companies and drivers responsible for overloading accidents is a significant legal trend in both the US and Canada. Many legal firms specialize in just such jurisprudence and seek retribution when overloading is determined to be the root cause of the accident.