I stood on the side of the road – looking at the scene of a recent log truck collision. Two log trucks sped by me. Stand and watch for just a few minutes. You will understand how the speeding and fully loaded truck rammed into my clients from behind as they slowed to make a turn. It’s not difficult to picture the events that led to two people suffering severe personal injuries in that collision. Yet, this event did not simply happen. It was the result of the repeated choice to drive a dangerously overloaded truck on an Alabama highway.
In my client’s case, I served discovery requests (seeking documents) both to the truck driver and the trucking company. What I discovered was a driver who had been cited numerous times for dangerously overweight trucks. Did the trucking company do anything about it? No. Instead, the company knew this unsafe driving history and still continued to employee the driver. More logs mean more money for the trucking company. And, because the driver was paid only by the mile, his incentive is to make deliveries fast.
Overweight trucks are a real danger. They are a danger on Alabama’s Interstate highways. They are also a danger on Alabama’s rural roads. We have all seen out-of-control trucks barreling down the highway. Here are some reasons overweight trucks are more likely to cause serious collisions:
- The added weight increases braking distance. It is more difficult for the truck driver to react and stop.
- The added weight increases the chance of a dangerous tire blowout.
- The added weight increases the difficulty for the truck driver to steer and control his truck.
- The added weight increases the likelihood the load will shift or spill causing additional instability on the highway.
In addition to immediate safety issues, overweight trucks cause significant wear and tear on our roads and bridges leading to poor roadways which are dangerous for all drivers. Unless bad truck drivers and the companies employing them are punished fully, we will remain at risk from dangerously overweight trucks on our highways.