Oversized trucks can be used for a variety of purposes, but they are mainly used to transport enormous pieces of equipment or pieces of steel, concrete, or other large materials used in building constructions. Oftentimes an oversized truck will have what is called a travel escort that travels in front or behind the oversized truck. This is done for safety purposes. Oversized trucks that are over 12 feet require these kinds of escort.
These travel escorts are there to warn the other cars on the road of the presence of the oversized truck, as well as to alert the truck driver of upcoming traffic or bridges or other circumstances that the truck driver may not understand. To be considered “overload” or “oversize” the truck has to be at least 8.5 feet wide and the item being shipped has to be at least 12 feet wide.
OVERSIZED TRUCK LAWS
Oversized trucks are normally considered commercial vehicles, which means more government regulation and larger insurance policies insuring the vehicle. The government imposes stricter regulations on commercial vehicles.
While many oversized truck accidents are the result of driver error, there can also be instances when the truck company is at fault. Common reasons for truck accidents when the company is at fault:
- Tire blowouts
- Brake problems
- Vehicle maintenance issues
- Failing to properly screen or vet drivers
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Sometimes oversized truck companies fail to properly maintain their vehicles and they put their drivers in trucks that are not safe, for a variety of reasons, ranging from brakes that are aging and faulty, tires that are bald and need replacing, and other mechanical issues that need addressed and fixed. If this happens to be the case, then the oversized company shares responsibility for the accident they caused.
One of the primary reasons oversized trucking accidents occur is because of two specific reasons. The first has to do with improperly securing cargo. It is estimated that 7% of all US trucking accidents are caused because of shifting cargo or cargo that was not properly loaded in the first place. As you can imagine, when you are talking about enormous oversized trucks that are transporting large pieces of equipment or machinery or heavy materials, if the cargo or machinery falls off the truck that is transporting it, drivers of cars and SUVs can be severely injured very seriously.
The second reason has to do with stopping distance. Given the sheer size of oversized trucks, it is not easy for them to stop quickly. By and large, stopping distance will go up about 25% for each 20,000 pound that is added to a vehicle after the initial 80,000 pounds. It takes about 196 feet for a tractor to stop, as opposed to 133 feet for an ordinary care.
Aside from not being able to brake in time, there is another common reason for accidents involving oversized trucks. The risk is often times that the vehicle will hit bridges and overpasses because the oversized vehicle is so tall.
There are often specific licenses that a driver must acquire and this license will specify the load the truck is hauling, the length of time it will be on the road, or even the route the truck will take.