In an effort to curb the amount of overweight commercial trucks on the road, and to provide a standard system for weight enforcement, the Department of Public Safety will be required to have new, uniform enforcement procedures in place starting September 1. The goal is to make sure that all citations for overloaded trucks are issued in a consistent and appropriate manner.
This new law, signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, will authorize penalties for overweight vehicles that exceed several thousand dollars depending on the type of violation and whether or not the driver has received previous citations. Because these penalties are so steep, it is important that motor vehicle weight enforcement officers follow these procedures correctly and accurately. If they do not, the law also authorizes that these officers may have their authority revoked or rescinded.
The Dangers of Overweight Trucks
Overloaded trucks have become a big problem in the transportation industry. Truck drivers may be tempted to overload their trucks for a number of reasons, including:
- Rising fuel prices
- Pressure to meet deadlines
Cramming too much into a truck may not seem like a big deal to a driver, but it presents a very real danger both to themselves and other drivers on the road. Weight laws are in place to regulate how much is safe for trucks to carry, including how much weight can be safely distributed over each axle and all tires. By law, trucks are allowed to carry a maximum of 80,000 pounds, and no more than 20,000 pounds per axle.
When these limits are not followed, the following things could go wrong:
- Heavier trucks require longer distances to come to a stop
- Overloaded trucks may cause roads, overpasses, or bridges to collapse
- Tires can burst if they are carrying too much weight
- Overloading a truck moves its center of gravity, making it more likely to roll over
- Brakes may not be effective downhill when trucks are too heavy
Truck drivers are ultimately responsible for making sure their trucks are loaded properly, but truck companies and even government entities that fail to flag overweight trucks may also share liability. The new law will provide a standardized solution that will reduce the potential for dangerous truck accidents.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, contact a Houston personal injury attorney from The Daspit Law Firm. We advocate for the rights of individuals injured in truck accidents and have successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. For a free consultation, call us today toll-free at (713) 364-0915.