There are laws against overloading semi-trucks, but it remains an issue within the trucking industry that needs to be corrected. It is understandable that businesses want to maximize profits and be as efficient as possible when handling trucking routes, but overloading the trucks is not the answer to this problem as it creates far more risk than it is worth for both the truck driver and everyone sharing the road with them. It’s important to consider the dangers of overloading a semi-truck before those risks become reality.
Lack of Proper Control
Driving a semi-truck requires specialized knowledge and training because these vehicles are long, heavy, and unwieldy in inexperienced hands. It can be dangerous even when the truck is not overloaded if something happens, such as a tire blowout that causes the driver to struggle to maintain control. When the truck is overloaded, blowouts are more likely, and controlling the truck will be even more difficult due to the excess weight. It can also be a problem on significant declines due to the truck picking up too much momentum and the driver struggling to slow it down. The added weight also adds risk to the driver and everyone else on the road because an overloaded truck won’t just be harder to control—it will do more damage if an accident does occur.
Mechanical Failure Risk
Trucks and trailers all have their own gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) which indicates how much weight they can carry to maintain a reasonable margin of safety. When a semi-truck is overloaded, the risk of mechanical failure rises significantly, which will almost certainly cause serious problems. By ignoring the GVWR rating, the safety of the driver and everyone else on the road with them is being outright ignored for the sake of higher profits. If an accident occurs, however, the net loss will be extreme between repairing or replacing the truck and trailer, the goods it was hauling, potential medical bills of the driver and any lawsuits or medical claims made by victims caught up in the accident.
Infrastructure Can’t Handle the Load
According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), 1 in 3 U.S. bridges are in need of repairs or full replacement. In total, there are 43,578 bridges in America that are structurally deficient and pose a risk to all drivers who use them every day. Truckers are already hauling large trailers and heavy loads across these bridges regularly and overloading these trucks only serves to cause more damage to these already-deficient structures that have the potential to collapse at any time. Keeping the loads within the range of the vehicle and trailer’s GVWR rating lowers the risk of causing significant damage to these structures and keeps everyone safe on the road a little longer.
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