Commercial trucks transport goods from one destination to the other. They are usually of massive sizes and weights. The load carried by these trucks adds to their weight. This makes it even more difficult for drivers to maneuver the trucks in all kinds of road conditions. A slight change in the ideal condition may result in an accident.
Commercial trucks are extremely vital to a nation’s economy. But these trucks can also turn out to be extremely hazardous. Accidents can be caused due to a variety of factors. These could include speeding, poor weather or road conditions, driver fatigue, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and so on.
One of the major causes of accidents includes improper loading or overloading of cargo. However, such accidents can be averted.
Types of Weight Rating of Trucks
Commercial trucks are subjected to a series of factors that ensure the safety of the loading process, thus, reducing the chances of accidents. Let’s take a look at these.
1. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum permissible weight of the truck including the chassis, the engine, accessories, engine fluids, body of the vehicle. It also includes the weight of the passengers and the cargo that has been loaded in the vehicle. However, the GVWR excludes the weight of the trailer.
2. Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
The maximum weight that can be supported by the vehicle axle is known as Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). Every axle in the truck has a specific GAWR. It is determined by the weakest link in the axle system. The truck should be loaded in such a way that one axle is not overloaded.
3. Gross Trailer Weight Rating (GTWR)
This is the maximum weight of the trailer and the cargo of the truck. Every tractor-trailer is specified a certain limit of GTWR.
4. Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)
The Gross Combined Weight Rating is a combination of the GVWR and GTWR. This means the GCWR includes the weight of the truck, the occupants as well as the weight of the trailer and the cargo it is carrying.
Every truck should meet these specifications before setting out for their destinations.
Factors That Can Cause Truck Accidents
There can be various factors regarding cargo loading that may contribute to truck accidents. Let’s find out.
1. Cargo Exceeds Maximum Limit
The maximum weight limit of an 18-wheeler is 80,000 pounds. When this rating is exceeded, the chance of an accident multiplies. The extra weight in the truck may cause it to break down suddenly. It also hampers the truck’s braking functions considerably. This increases the chance of collision.
2. Improper Distribution of Cargo
Proper load distribution is crucial. The cargo should be placed in such a way that lowers the center of gravity of the load. If the cargo is loaded in a way that makes the trailer top-heavy, the possibility of tipping over and spilling on the road increases, thus, increasing the chances of accidents.
3. Improper Securing of Cargo
Even with the cargo limit being acceptable and distributing it properly, there may still be a chance of an accident if the cargo is not secured appropriately. This may cause the cargo to shift while it is being transported. If the driver takes a turn, the shift in cargo may cause the truck to topple over. Therefore, cargo should be secured appropriately before setting out.
Dangers of Cargo Overload
An overloaded or improperly loaded truck limits the trucks’ normal functions. Apart from affecting the braking functions of the truck, it also increases the stopping distance. Overloaded trucks can cause rollover accidents. In addition to that, the extra weight increases the impact of the accident. The tires of an overloaded truck can become over-stressed. This can cause the tires to the blowout.
In addition to the extra load, the possibility of an accident can be triggered by the condition of the road. For example, driving an overloaded truck on a snow-covered road can be quite risky.
Victims of truck accidents should immediately contact a truck accident attorney. This can help them retrieve the compensation they deserve if the truck driver was at fault. If you know anyone who has been a victim of a truck accident and lives in Houston, you can advise them to contact Houston 18 wheeler accident lawyers and select the one best suited to their requirements.