According to U.S. highway statistics, approximately 5000 people die and another 100,000 are injured each year in accidents involving big trucks. Of those 5,000 fatalities, only 15% involved individuals riding in the trucks. The other 85% of truck-crash fatalities occurred in drivers of smaller vehicles impacted by big rigs and other commercial sized vehicles.
Why are there such a disproportionate number of fatalities in truck accidents? Obviously, size plays a role, but taking a closer look at the numbers can help bring into focus just how large the weight disparity between a car and truck really is. The average car weighs approximately 5,000 pounds; legally, a truck is required to weigh 80,000 pounds or less. Adding to the dangerous size disparity is the fact that operators of trucking companies frequently overload their vehicles to save money.
Adding any weight to an already-massive 80,000 pound truck immediately puts the driver and all other vehicles on the road in danger. Added weight makes an already unwieldy truck even harder to steer and control, especially if road conditions are not ideal. Turning, in particular, can be a problem if a truck is carrying extra-weight—in some cases an illegally heavy load can cause a truck to flip over during a difficult turn, landing its crushing weight on neighboring vehicles.
Of course, the greatest danger associated with an overloaded truck is the strain placed on the vehicle's brakes. Not only will a heavier truck take longer to stop, the added weight from overloading can cause so much strain on the vehicle's brakes that they may fail altogether. Obviously, the results of such an occurrence would be tragic and, more than likely, deadly.
Overloading a truck is illegal and violators can be held accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an overloaded truck, you may be entitled to compensation with the help of a truck accident lawyer. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney at Arnold & Itkin today for a free and confidential consultation regarding your case.