Florida Oversize Loads Are Dangerous Despite Strict Regulations
Weight and size limits are imposed on commercial vehicles on virtually all of the nation’s roads and highways. Any load that exceeds the limit is referred to as an oversized or overweight load. There are also restrictions on the weight per axle. If a load is under the maximum gross weight for the vehicle but over the maximum for a particular axle it is still considered overweight.
In Florida, oversize load regulations are in place as well as in most other states. Permits are required for all trucks transporting oversize or overweight loads. These permits are sold on a state by state basis. Any oversize load being transported interstate require a separate permit for each state. The are no federal permits for oversize loads.
Florida oversize loads are restricted to certain hours on the roads depending upon the physical size. Overweight loads may travel at all hours. There are also regulations that require “oversize load” signs, flags and escort vehicles. These regulations can be found in detail at the Florida section of Heavyhaul.net.
There are many common Florida oversize loads that are transported on the highways requiring a special permit. Some examples include:
- Pre-built homes
- Construction elements
- Factory equipment
- Wind turbine propellers
- Storage Tanks
In addition to the state laws for oversize loads, there is a federal mandate for maximum weights. These limits are 80,000-pound gross vehicle weight, 20,000-pound single axle weight and 34.000-pounds tandem axle weight. Axle spacing is also part of the equation for Federal compliance as a measure to protect bridges and highways.
Oversize and overweight loads carry with them a much higher risk of accidents. These accidents happen for three reasons associated with the increased size and dimensions. The first is the increased chance of a tire blowout. The second is an increased risk of a rollover due to the loads higher center of gravity. Third is the difficulty to control the speed and movement due to the weight being shifted to the rear. This places additional weight on the rear axle while reducing road contact with the forward axle.
Because of the increased risk of danger, penalties for violations are stiffer for oversized and overweight loads. Effective September 2013 the penalty for first time offenses for 10,000 pounds over the legal limit range from $500 to $1000. For overweight violations below the 10,000-pound threshold, a sliding scale is applied. Fines for lack of a permit are assessed to the trucking company.
Statistics show that overweight and improperly loaded trucks are a leading cause of truck accidents. Drivers of oversize and overweight trucks are more likely to underestimate stopping distances or fail to compensate for top heavy or off balance loads during lane changes. Trailers may sag and tires can become dangerously stressed by running hotter.
Too much weight on the rear axle make leave the forward axle without enough road contact pressure creating a dangerous steering condition. All of these factors, combined or individual, can lead to a rollover.
When an oversize or overweight trailer is in a crash, the outcome will likely be horrific. Any smaller vehicle involved will inevitably be destroyed and the driver and occupants will be severely injured or killed. Because of the potential for heavy damage caused by a commercial truck accident, drivers of large commercial vehicles are required by federal law to carry insurance coverage of $750,000. If hazardous materials are transported that coverage minimum jumps to $5 million.
Anyone involved in an accident involving any large commercial vehicle needs to hire an attorney who specializes in commercial truck crashes. The attorney will have an investigative team that can determine if the truck was loaded and permitted properly. If there was any worn or defective braking, steering or suspension systems. Was there driver error involved?
Dolman Law Group has come to the aid of many clients who were injured or lost loved ones due to a crash involving a large commercial vehicle. Trucking companies have the resources to vehemently defend against lawsuits. Dolman Law has the experience and skill to prove negligence in these cases and will fight for the maximum compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and in some cases punitive damages. Call today at 727-451-6900 for a free evaluation of your case by a qualified truck accident attorney.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765