Are Semis With Especially Heavy Cargo Safe?

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According to an NBC news report, “An 18-wheeler transporting dozens of cattle tipped onto its side Monday morning [May 4], closing Interstate 35W for several hours” in Burleson, Texas. While no one was hurt in this particular wreck, the Texas interstate’s southbound lanes remained closed for cleanup for over 24 hours. What is worrying is that incidents like this one aren’t as uncommon as you’d think. In fact, another truck — this time a 10-wheeler, also transporting cows, more recently crashed and toppled over near Tax, Thailand on Saturday, May 23. The crash claimed the life of one cow, injured 20 others, and critically injured the driver, Kiattisak Saila-iad, 32.

Are Large Trucks Late?

These accidents (along with many others) raise questions. Are large trucks safe? How heavy can trucks and cargo become before it’s dangerous? As it stands, we don’t have all of the answers. Unfortunately, what we do know isn’t promising. For example, over the last 20 years, trucking accidents have increased by at least 20% — and that is disturbing news, especially given that 98% of crashes and wrecks involving a semi result in death. Adding more weight can make big rigs more difficult to handle; turning and stopping in particular become significantly more difficult, leading to extremely dangerous conditions and, sometimes, fatal accidents.

What Can We Do?

While large trucks can be dangerous, crashes, injuries, deaths, and the involvement of courts and trucking accident attorneys are not inevitable. First, observing maximum weight limits particularly on busy interstate roads is a must. That limit is often 105,500 pounds, although industry reports show that — even among water trucks alone — at least 25% exceed this maximum weight. There are exceptions when carrying extra weight is permitted, but drivers must have the proper permits, display the proper signage, and observe limitations and special regulations associated with overweight cargo. These permitting laws are rarely enforced. According to semi truck accident lawyers and trucking accidents attorneys, enforcing them is likely to make an incredible difference.

Personal injury lawyers and trucking accident attorneys agree: Many of these big rig accidents are going to do a lot more than endanger a few cows. To keep roads safe, it is imperative to enforce heavy load laws whenever possible.

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