workers loading commercial truck

Dangers of Overloaded Trucks in California

By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Crashes involving tractor-trailers tend to have far more serious injuries and loss of life than collisions involving only passenger vehicles. Large trucks have physics working against them because they are larger and heavier than cars. When you add overloaded trucks to the mix, you have an even greater risk of an undesirable outcome.

If you got injured in an accident that involved a tractor-trailer, a California truck accident attorney could help you go after the at-fault party for the compensation you need to rebuild your life. Let’s talk about some of the dangers of overloaded trucks in California. 

Why Does a Truck’s Weight Matter?

The heavier a truck is, the more time and distance it needs to slow down and stop. Also, the heavier a truck is, the greater force it delivers on impact when it collides with something. There are laws that control the maximum weight of trucks on California roads, but some people disregard those rules, betting that they will not get caught. 

Many weigh stations are closed, temporarily or permanently. Also, a savvy truck driver can take a route that avoids weigh stations or travel during the off hours when the stations might be closed. 

Improperly Loaded Cargo

Another issue relevant to the weight of the cargo is whether the cargo got loaded correctly. When the load is too heavy, the truck could be difficult to maneuver safely. If the load did not get balanced properly, the truck could lose control and tip over when traveling at high speed on a curved road. 

Also, the cargo needs to be secured to prevent the load from shifting during transit. If the cargo shifts, it could cause the tractor-trailer to fishtail or lose control in some other manner.   

Loss of Cargo

A truck could lose some of its cargo in transit, particularly if the truck is pulling an open-bed trailer. When the tractor-trailer makes a sharp turn, improperly secured cargo could fly off of the bed onto the road. If the cargo is too heavy for the securing mechanisms, the devices could break or fail, releasing cargo from the tractor-trailer bed.

If these things happen when the truck is traveling downhill, the cargo could fly forward, crashing into the cab and injuring or killing the tractor-trailer driver. On level or uphill roads, occupants of any vehicles behind the tractor-trailer could get struck by flying, heavy cargo, often with lethal consequences.

California Highways and Overweight Cargo

Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo on large trucks is dangerous anywhere, but the unique conditions we find on California highways can make this situation even more deadly. Our streets and highways tend to have traffic congestion nearly 24 hours a day in some cities. 

We have mountains running down the east and west portions of our state. With mountains, you can have high wind, snow, and hairpin turns. When a tractor-trailer struggles to travel through steep inclines in the mountains, an unsecured or improperly loaded cargo can be an accident waiting to happen. In the valleys, we have legendary fog. Any of these conditions could be dangerous with an overloaded truck.

A California personal injury attorney would be happy to talk to you about your case if you got injured in a crash that was someone else’s fault. We are happy to offer a free consultation with no obligation. Contact our office today for help with your case.

About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.