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Commercial Vehicle Weight Limits Protect Roads and Reduce Truck Accidents

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Dump trucks, tractor trailers, and other commercial vehicles are required for transporting vast amounts of materials and goods in Florida and throughout the country. Periodically on major highways and interstates, you will see signs regarding weigh stations urging truckers to pull over, or roads with designated weight limits. As a motorist, you may not give these signs much thought, but weight restrictions go a long way towards helping to prevent truck accidents and injuries. They also help to protect the roads, keeping them safe and saving taxpayers money.

How Weight Limits Impact Truck Safety 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducts extensive studies on ways to increase commercial vehicle safety, gathering reports on truck accidents which occur throughout the country. More than 140,000 of these accidents occur each year. In those in which critical causes have been identified, 10 percent are due to vehicle maintenance issues.

While most commercial tractor trailers are designed to handle 80,000 pounds of goods and materials, it is important for the driver to pay attention to exactly how that weight is distributed. Heavy Haul Trucking advises that axle configurations on different trucks, which are involved in steering both the cab and the trailer itself, vary depending on the vehicle:

  • Single axle: These are generally seen on smaller tractor trailers, and carry the brunt of steering the vehicle;
  • Tandem axles: The most common configuration, they generally consist of two each under the drive and under the trailer;
  • Tri-axle: For larger trucks and those carrying heavier materials, there may be three axles under the drive, the trailer, or both.

While the 80,000-pound weight capacity may stay the same, distributing it improperly over the truck axles could cause malfunctions, causing the truck to veer out of control and endangering other motorists on the road. Overweight and improper loads can also do serious damage to the truck’s tires and brake system.

Weight Limits Protect Infrastructure

Each state has their own laws regulating weight limits on trucks, but the industry in general is subject to federal oversight. The U.S Department of Transportation advises that the federal government became involved in setting truck weight limits in 1956 when the Federal-Aid Highway Act (Public Law 84-627) was established. In authorizing the U.S. Interstate System, the Act required weight limits to protect the money invested by the government. Overweight commercial vehicles put an excessive strain on roads, and can eventually lead to bridge, overpass, and highway collapses. In terms of motor vehicle accidents, road conditions are often a contributing factor. By regulating truck weights, state and federal officials hope to preserve and protect the roads while helping to keep motorists safe.

Let Us Help You Today

There are numerous factors involved in truck accidents, though the end result is often the same. These crashes can cause serious and potentially life threatening injuries for motorists and their passengers. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a truck accident, contact the Wexler Law Firm, P.A. today to request a consultation with our West Palm Beach accident attorneys.

Resources:

fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief

transportation.gov/content/truck-weights-and-lengths-assessing-impacts-existing-laws-and-regulations

heavyhaul.net/tractor-trailer-axle-weights/

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