Overloaded and Overweight Truck Accidents
Under Illinois law, single axle trucks have a weight limit of 20,000 lbs. The gross vehicle weight limit in Illinois for semi-trailers, tractor and trailers included is 80,000 lbs. These weight limitations vary from state to state. In addition, there is a weight limitation on the tandem axle on Illinois trucks of 32,000 lbs. The tandem axle is the device that connects the tractor to the trailer.
Overweight and overloaded trucks are many times the cause of dangerous conditions on highways and streets leading to serious and often, fatal collisions. The federal law on truck weight limitations like Illinois is 80,000 lbs. There has been a movement to increase the weight limitation, at least under federal law, to 97,000 lbs. for trucks equipped with a sixth axle.
Naturally, the weight limitations imposed by states and the federal government are for both safety and for preservation of the roads, highways, bridges and overpasses where trucks frequent.
The federal weight limit of 80,000 lbs. has been in place for more than 25 years. Even though the federal government has that limitation as does Illinois, other states are free to set interstate weight limits up to 97,000 lbs., but only for vehicles equipped with that additional sixth axle. The required sixth axle allows for better and safer braking capacity. It also allows for more even weight distribution per tire without changing the size of any truck and trailer.
Some would argue that allowing the increase in the weight capacity for trucks would make roads safer, reduce the environmental impact and preserve the bridges and roads of the interstate highway system. Recent surveys on the amount of tractor-trailer traffic show that with the growth in U.S. population, so does the amount of freight shipped through the United States by way of trucks. The U.S. Department of Transportation has estimated that by 2020, the amount of products shipped through the U.S. will increase 87% from what it was in 1998.
Overloaded and overweight trucks are a major cause of traffic crashes and fatalities on America’s highway. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has determined that many trucking accidents are caused by truck driver error, which includes overloaded trucks and overweight trucks in combination with driver fatigue.
Because of the demands of shipping, many truck companies tend to want to overload or place truck drivers in precarious and dangerous situations by overloading or making their tractor-trailers overweight just to increase profits from the delivery of the products. Many highway accidents could be prevented with attention to the weight capacity laws and the careful distribution of products being shipped by truckers.
For more than 40 years, Kreisman Law Offices has been handling overloaded and overweight truck accident cases in and around Chicago, Cook County and Illinois. If you or someone you know has been involved in a commercial truck accident involving injuries, you need an attorney like Robert Kreisman on your side who understands the unique aspects of commercial truck accident claims and who knows how to recover the most for his clients.
Truck accident cases differ from car crash claims primarily because of the unique circumstances arising from these types of crashes.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, you may have the right to bring an injury claim. Please call Chicago injury lawyer Robert Kreisman 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or fill out our contact form online.