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The danger of overloaded trucks

When traveling the roads of North Carolina, drivers may want to be on the lookout for trucks carrying heavy loads. Overloaded trucks can make it more difficult for the truck driver to control the vehicle; in fact, overloading is one of the leading causes of truck accidents.

Various state and federal regulations limit the weight of cargo that trucks can carry, but overloading still occurs. In addition, trucks are sometimes improperly loaded or cargo is improperly secured. Any of these situations can throw a truck off balance and increase the risk of rollover.

A truck driver's ability to safely operate a truck is compromised when the truck is overloaded. An overloaded truck requires more braking distance and can go downhill faster than normal. Emergency situations that could normally be handled safely by a driver may be more difficult to handle when the truck is overloaded or off balance from a heavy load.

Fleet managers can address the problem of overloading by making sure that drivers are trained on proper loading techniques and that the right vehicle is always chosen for the job. It is advised to use trucks with payloads that are more than sufficient for the loads they are intended to carry. Costs could be kept down by choosing a different type of vehicle with the same payload.

When overloading is the cause of a truck accident, the trucking company might be liable for any damages to persons or property. Even if a driver was personally responsible for the overloading, the driver's employer may be liable under vicarious liability, which holds an employer responsible for the actions of their employees.

SOURCE: The Law Dictionary, 'Three Conditions Required for Respondeat Superior," Christi Hayes

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