Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler September 11, 2015

The lumbering leviathans known as 18-wheelers, big rigs, semi trucks, tractor-trailers or diesel trucks are dangerous enough due to their size and weight. But they can become even more deadly when trucks are overloaded or have unsecured loads.

There are an estimated 2-3 million 18-wheelers on our roads that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, an intimidating size for a car driver whose vehicle weighs a small fraction of that. Much of a big rig’s weight is located on the trailer and this weight may be distributed in any number of ways. Variable loads of different cargos, which also are loaded differently, can present a complex array of interconnecting factors that may combine to a fatal crash.

Big Rig Fatalities

Big rig fatalities have risen for several years, according to the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration. In 2013, just fewer than 4,000 Americans died in crashes with tractor-trailers. Semi truck accidents often are at least partly attributable to overloaded trucks or unsecured loads.

Why are Overloaded Trucks Dangerous?

Overloaded trucks are dangerous for a variety of reasons, including the fact that some large cargos are loaded improperly. A cargo of cars, boulders or heavy logs, for instance, could be loaded in a way that is unsecured in the trailer. If the unsecured load suddenly shifted on the road, it could cause the big rig to veer off-course and crash.

An unsecured load suddenly shifting in transit on a flatbed truck or tractor trailer can cause a rollover accident — a crash which can be catastrophic for nearby vehicles.

In addition, some tractor-trailers with unsecured loads actually lose their cargo, spilling onto a roadway and causing additional crashes for other drivers. This can happen independently of an initial crash or as an after-effect of a crash.

When debris from an overloaded truck falls on a roadway, other vehicles may swerve to avoid it and, in the process, crash into each other or into the big rig. Vehicles also may slam into the spilled cargo, and that crash can cause injuries.

Some falling loads can strike vehicles in mid-air, perhaps piercing a windshield to kill a car’s occupants. Also, some cargo elements may be hazardous or volatile materials — such as gasoline — which can be dangerous in themselves when spilled on a highway.

Semi trucks that are overloaded also can have mechanical breakdowns or tire blowouts due to a too-heavy load, and such mechanical and equipment failures also can cause a fatal crash. Heavy loads also can make a semi truck more difficult for its driver to handle. The heavier the truck, the longer it takes to maneuver it or brake to a stop.

18 Wheeler Laws, Load Limits

The trucking industry is highly regulated on the state and federal level. In Texas, for instance, the state sets 18 wheeler load limits. By law, a big rig should not weigh more than a specified and approved amount, based on its size and nature.

According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, a big rig can have a gross weight (including vehicle and cargo) of 81,400 pounds maximum. That’s for a “quinte” or five-axle truck.

A “quadrem,” or four-axle truck, can weigh no more than 70,000 pounds. A “tridem,”or three-axle truck, can weigh up to 60,000 pounds. A “tandem,” or two-axle truck, can weigh a maximum of 46,000 pounds and a single-axle truck can weigh up to 25,000 pounds.

Texas also has some load-restricted areas where the top legal weight of a truck is 10% or more under the customary limits. These areas are scattered across the state and include many bridges, overpasses and stretches of roadways.

One such area is FM 646 from its junction with FM 517 to its junction with Texas 6 in Galveston County. There, the gross vehicle weight allowed is 58,420 pounds, or about 10% less than 65,00o pounds.

The Texas Department of Transportation has a load area map or load zone map along with parameters of weights allowed in load-restricted areas.

Other laws in the Texas Transportation Code set safety standards for commercial vehicles, requirements for a commercial driver’s license and ways to keep truck drivers drug-free.

Federal laws regulate truckers’ hours of service, limiting them to 14 consecutive hours of driving duty at a time. Drivers then must have at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty before they can drive again.

Liability for Overloaded Trucks

The driver, the trucking company and the company that loaded the vehicle may share the liability for an accident caused by overloaded trucks. The amount of liability can be determined in a truck crash lawsuit filed by an 18-wheeler accident lawyer with Jim Adler & Associates.

Notify our law firm today for a free legal consultation regarding your prospects for a successful accident lawsuit or settlement. You may be legally entitled to financial compensation.

FREE Case Review

Google Reviews

I went to the office and everyone was so considerate and professional , so my first impression was good, I felt like I was in good hands. Then I received a call from Vanessa Garcia, she was on top of EVERYTHING! I never had to call her, she always called me. She even called to see how I was doing , and if I needed help with anything. That is why I have absolutely no worries.read more
13:42 01 Jun 17
My lawyer Bill Adler and case manager Iris Sanchez are amazing! They constantly call and check on you . They keep you up to date through the process. They care about you as a person and not just a client. The wreck was a life changing experience that I've never been through before. I'm just glad I had the right people like Bill Adler and Iris Sanchez to help me through it. Truly satisfied.Thanks and God bless y'all!read more
Tierra Clark
Tierra Clark
18:52 19 May 17
I was dropped from a previous law firm regarding my case before I called Jim Adler. They immediately took up my case and worked hard on it - I was always up to date with each step they took and the benefits or consequences of each. In the end, I am highly satisfied with the outcome and would not have it any other way. It took some time but I truly appreciate and want to thank everybody who helped me on this journey and worked tirelessly on it.read more
Tori Barroga
Tori Barroga
14:17 11 May 17
I am a Patrol Deputy for the Sheriff Office and while working one night, a drunk driver crossed the center stripe on the highway and struck my patrol vehicle head on with his pick up truck. Needless to say we (the drunk driver and I) were both lucky to survive, as the accident occurred at highway speeds. Following my release from the hospital, I knew that I would need to have someone represent me. My employer was happy to represent me in regards to prosecuting the driver for criminal charges but, can do little in respect to the recovery of financial losses for medical bills, pain and discomfort, time lost from work etc... This is how my relationship with Jim Adler and Associates began. Yep, you probably guessed correctly when you think of what made me choose the "Texas Hammer" to represent me. Those half obnoxious, half way entertaining commercials and radio announcements most Texans have been seeing and hearing on the TV and radio for years instantly came to mind. Yes, I wanted to "hammer" this S.O.B. for trying to kill me but, more importantly I was worried about the costs associated with the life long injuries I had sustained as a result of this drunk driver's negligent behavior. I contacted Jim Adler and Associates and so began our relationship. I was immediately surprised by the prompt attention and the expression of genuine concern for my well being that I received from the employees of Jim Adler's office. Now as you can imagine, lawyers are not a breed that is held in very high regard by people in my profession but, my experiences with Jim Adler's office and his employees have forced me to amend my way of thinking, at least on the civil side of the house anyway. I have to chuckle when I say that because my experience as a client of Jim Adler's firm has been exceptionally pleasant. So before I venture down one of the stereotypical and infinite number of rabbit holes associated with the relationship between members of law enforcement and lawyers; I will do my best to stay focused on my experience with Jim Adler & Associates. Upon being informed that my case had been accepted by Jim Adler's office; I was contacted by Iris Sanchez who informed me that she was to be my case manager and any questions, comments and concerns could be directed to her. I was pleasantly surprised to receive regular calls from Iris assisting with my medical appointments and future follow up appointments. Iris had informed me that Jim Adler's son, Bill Adler would be handling my case and I was even more surprised to receive several calls from Bill to discuss my case. Now you might be thinking "what's the big deal" with the person who is representing you contacting you? In reality, you are correct in that it isn't a big deal but, what is noteworthy and what separates Jim Adler's Office from the multitude of other lawyers is the genuine expressions of concern and the desire Bill Adler conveyed to me to do their best to help me. I felt an immediate connection and instantly realized I had made the correct choice in contacting Jim Adler & Associates to handle my case. One thing I think lawyers and police officers can agree on is the proverbial wheels of justice turn very slowly. Months go by and our professional relationship is never neglected. Through the unwavering attention of Iris Sanchez and Bill Adler himself, I never felt "out of the loop" so to speak and always had a clear understanding of where my case was at in regards to the legal process. In conclusion, I know my brief description of my experiences with Bill Adler and, his assistant Iris Sanchez, cannot provide the credit they deserve. Together they have done an outstanding job representing their firm/employer. If you are seeking a great firm to represent your legal interests and, take comfort in establishing a professional relationship that feels more like a friendship than a casual business acquaintance, then I highly suggest Jim Adler & Associates.read more
Erick Becker
Erick Becker
01:20 06 May 17
I am very happy with Jim Adler & Associates. I did not know anyone who has ever used the Law Firm before. The staff is very friendly and treated me as if I were family. At times it got very stressful being without a job. They helped me when I was confused about the process. Mrs. Theresa Rodriguez stayed in contact with me constantly. Checking on me to see how I was doing and to let me know how things were going on there end. The Attorneys that handled my case know exactly what they are doing to take good care of me. Thank You so much Attorney's Mr.Michael Gomez and Mr.Trey Smith.read more
Bernard Orozco
Bernard Orozco
17:16 23 Feb 17
Jim Adler only offer nothing less than a great experience. They are a very well-established organization. They are outstanding on keeping you up to date with cases. There's no beating around the bush with this organization as they are only straight forward with the whole process. They treat their customers like family as well as go above and beyond to fight cases for you only leaving you with nothing but the best experience. Easy 5-star rated organization. I would highly recommend this one organization you not look over.read more
Lorenzo Preston
Lorenzo Preston
17:23 26 Jan 17
If you’ve been seriously injured, get The Tough, Smart Lawyer! ®
Get Help Right Now
Principal Office Houston, TX