There are a significant number of federal and state regulations surrounding commercial trucks, and more than a few focus on trucks’ size and weight. That is because overloaded trucks on U.S. roads present a serious danger to motorists. Trucks that are too heavy, too large, and improperly loaded are much more likely to cause accidents than trucks that comply with all relevant size and weight laws.
If you were injured in a truck accident, contact the experienced Ohio truck accident lawyers from Kisling, Nestico & Redick as soon as possible. Working with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of trucking accidents is essential to obtaining the maximum compensation for your injuries. We understand the necessity of preserving evidence, working with independent investigators to determine if the truck was overloaded, and gathering evidence of the improper weight or size to support your claim for compensation. If we are able to discover evidence that the trucker, motor carrier, or another party violated state or federal law, we may have a greater likelihood of obtaining you compensation.
Call us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule an initial case consultation.
How Is a Truck’s Maximum Weight Determined?
Federal law designates how heavy commercial trucks can be based on Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). States can also have their own GVWR regulations, however, most allow the maximum GVWR established by federal law. Some allow trucks to have greater weights on non-interstate highways. In limited circumstances, truckers can obtain permits to weigh more than the federal or state law.
Every vehicle’s maximum GVWR is based on the truck’s axles, frame, suspension, brakes, and other features, which are rated by the vehicle manufacturers. There is an allowable GVWR for each axle, and the GVWR for the truck cannot be more than the combined ratings allowed for each of its axles. However, most regulations call for a maximum weight less than the total figure for all axles. In general, larger trucks with more axles can carry more weight than smaller vehicles with fewer axles.
Trucks also have a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR). To calculate this figure, motor carriers and regulators look at more than the weight of the cab and trailer. They must also add in the weight of the trucker, passengers, fuel, and cargo.
How Heavy Can Trucks Be?
Federal truck maximum weight limits are:
- 20,000 pounds for a single axle, which means there is one set of wheels on the trailer
- 35,000 pounds for a tandem axle, which means the trailer has two sets of wheels
- 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight
- Pounds based on the bridge formula, which is used to protect bridges from too much weight and use.
Ohio truck maximum weight limits are:
- 650 pounds per inch of pneumatic tire
- 20,000 pounds for a single axle
- 34,000 pounds for a tandem axle
- 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight
At times, a truck may have different maximum weights depending on the formula used. For instance, the GCWR may be higher than the weight allowed by the bridge formula. In this case, the lesser amount applies. Additionally, other factors like the highways the trucker will be using, the truck design, or its registration may require a lighter maximum weight.
Overloaded Trucks Cause Accidents
There are weight restrictions on trucks for a reason. Too much cargo on a vehicle greatly increases the risk of a collision. Overloaded trucks usually are not balanced. When a vehicle is not properly balanced, it is hard for a trucker to handle. An improperly balanced truck is an even more serious hazard in poor weather. It will be more likely to slide, tip, and rollover. Overloaded cargo is also more likely to move around and shift, particularly if it is not properly secured. If a trucker is not careful, speeding or taking a sharp turn can move the cargo and increase the risk of tipping or rolling over. Too much weight wears down the truck faster. Over time, it could affect the brakes, tires, and other essentials. Additionally, unnecessary weight can increase the speed of the truck significantly on declines, making it more difficult to handle and avoid accidents.
Overloaded trucks are more likely to cause:
- Rollover accidents
- Runaway trucks or trailers
Size Matters Too
Federal and state regulations do not just look at a truck’s maximum weight, they also take into account a truck’s actual size, such as length, width, and height. Truckers and motor carriers have to keep their hauls within a certain size limit or they need a special hauling permit to travel as an oversized load.
In Ohio, truckers may need a permit to drive on the interstates or U.S. routes, the Ohio turnpike, and roads with weight restrictions. When a trucker is given permission to drive with an oversized load, they must take additional precautions like installing additional hazard signs or lights and driving below the posted speed limit. Ohio law requires a truck with materials overhanging more than four feet from the rear to display a red flag no less than 16 inches square.
How an Ohio Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
After being hurt in a truck accident, it is unlikely you know the exact reason why. You may know key facts, such as the trucker was speeding or the trailer jackknifed with the cab. However, these facts may not be the underlying cause of your accident, which you need to know. When you have been hurt in an accident, knowing why is important to your legal claim since it enables you to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the party truly responsible for your injuries and for compensating you. By working with the Ohio truck accident attorneys at KNR, you gain professionals who have hands-on experience investigating trucking accidents, determining the cause of accidents, and finding the liable parties.
These steps can be virtually impossible to take on yourself, especially when you are recovering from injuries. In addition to your lack of experience with personal injury claims and insurers, you may not have the time or energy to fight for your rights. At KNR, we do have the time and we believe you deserve to be fully compensated for your injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. That is why we offer aggressive representation from the very beginning. We will always strive to obtain you the maximum compensation possible.
Call us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free consultation and learn more.