Los Angeles, CA

Dangers of Overloaded Trucks

Truck accidents happen for many reasons. Poor driving, missed maintenance, and bad weather can cause an accident.

The truck’s load — particularly how the truck was loaded — can also contribute to a truck accident. Trucks that carry too much weight, loads that are too tall, or unbalanced loads are more susceptible to accidents.

Learn about the dangers of overloaded trucks and how a truck’s load can affect your injury claim.

What is an Overload?

“Overload” can have a few meanings:

Oversized Load

Federal law caps the weight of a truck and trailer combination at 80,000 pounds. Trucks in California can carry larger loads, but they require an overweight permit from the state. Trucks that carry overweight loads travel slower and are more difficult to control.

California law caps the height of a load at 14 feet. Trucks can carry taller loads, but the trucking company must secure an oversize permit and plan a route with adequate height clearances. Trucks that carry oversize loads are more prone to rollovers and wind-related blow-overs.

Load that Exceeds Ratings

Manufacturers design trucks and trailers to carry loads of a certain size. When a shipper exceeds the manufacturer’s rating for the truck or trailer, the tractor-trailer combination can suffer mechanical breakdowns.

Improperly Loaded Load

Loading a trailer is surprisingly complicated. When a shipper puts cargo into the trailer, it must balance the load and secure it properly. Even if the load is under the weight limit, the shipper can still overload one side of the trailer or stack the load too high. A truck driver will have difficulties controlling an improperly loaded trailer.

What Are the Dangers of Overloaded Trucks?

An overloaded truck can cause an accident. Some problems that even the most competent driver might have with an overloaded truck include:


A tall load shifts the center of gravity of the truck and trailer upward. A higher center of gravity increases the trailer’s chances of tipping over. 

Some conditions that might cause the trailer to tip include:

  • Turning
  • Driving on banked roads
  • Colliding with something
  • Getting hit with a gust of wind

These accidents can happen regardless of the driver’s skill and competence. A driver might not even know that the trailer was loaded too high until it tips over.

Difficulty Stopping

Heavier loads have more momentum than lighter loads. This means the driver will need more braking power to stop an overloaded trailer. Drivers of overloaded trailers must brake sooner and harder to avoid collisions.

A trucker’s difficulties when braking can get compounded by poor weather or road conditions. The truck driver might not have the time and distance to stop an overloaded truck before hitting your vehicle.

Mechanical Failure

An overloaded truck is more prone to mechanical failures. An overloaded trailer can stress many systems on a truck and cause a breakdown that leads to an accident. 

Some areas where mechanical failures can occur are:

  • Tie downs
  • Tires
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Steering

When a truck or trailer breaks down, the truck driver may lose control over the load. Parts of the truck, trailer, or load may fly away and hit other vehicles. The driver might not even have enough control to stop the truck.

What is the Relevance of Overloaded Trucks to a Personal Injury Claim?

To win an injury claim after a truck accident, you must generally show that the accident resulted from negligence. In some cases, you can blame the truck driver for driving negligently.

But when a shipper has overloaded a truck, the blame may lie with the shipper. Although the driver must check the load before driving, the driver might not spot the overload with a visual inspection. Your personal injury lawyer may include the company that overloaded the truck as a party in an insurance claim or lawsuit.

Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA

If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.

M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers – Los Angeles Office
4929 Wilshire Blvd Suite 960,
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(877) 300-4535

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