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Unsafe and Overloaded Truck Accidents in Oregon

When fully loaded, a tractor-trailer can clock in at almost 80,000 pounds, or about 20-30 times as much as the average passenger vehicle. Even when a truck’s trailer is empty, these behemoths of the road can cause severe damage, even death.

Weight Limits for Trucks in Oregon

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) restricts the size and weight allowances for all large commercial trucks in the United States. However, large commercial trucks wishing to conduct business in Oregon must also abide by state laws, in which the  legal operating weight of a truck is determined by a vehicle’s:

  • Tire size
  • Number of axles
  • Wheelbase

Weight regulations for a tractor, trailer, and cargo combined in Oregon are as follows:

  • Semi-truck maximum single axle weight: 20,000 pounds or 600 pounds per inch of tire width, depending on the tire manufacturer’s sidewall rating.
  • Semi-truck maximum tandem axle weight: 34,000 pounds or 600 pounds per total tire width, depending on the tire manufacturer’s sidewall rating.
  • Semi-truck maximum gross weight: 80,000 pounds or 600 pounds per total tire width, depending on the tire manufacturer’s sidewall rating.

Any vehicle with a gross weight between 80,001 and 105,500 must apply for an Annual Extended Weight Permit on the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Commerce and Compliance Division website.

How Dangerous is an Overweight Truck?

When a truck’s weight surpasses the allowable amount, the cargo places excessive strain on both the tractor and trailer. If the vehicle is overloaded regularly, it can drastically speed up the rate of deterioration of the truck’s components. If left unchecked, this wear and tear can trigger a malfunction or complete failure of a truck’s parts, such as a blown tire or weakened brake pads, and cause an accident.

Overweight trucks can also cause accidents due to:

  • Falling cargo
  • Jackknifing
  • Loss of steering
  • Rear-ending
  • Rollover
  • Runaway truck
  • Shifting cargo

Surplus weight on a truck can also increase the amount of distance it needs to come to a complete stop. Should an overloaded truck need to stop suddenly, it may not be able to stop in time and could collide with the vehicle in front of them.

Who Could Be At-Fault for an Unsafe or Overloaded Truck Accident in Oregon?

Multiple parties could be found negligent in an unsafe or overloaded truck accident in Oregon, including the:

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Cargo loaders
  • Cargo owner

If a truck is over the legal weight limit, the truck driver is partly, if not entirely, at fault. Truck drivers are responsible for following all state and federal trucking regulations and should know the total weight of their vehicle at all times.

Contact an Oregon Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Without knowing what you are looking for, it can be nearly impossible to determine if a truck is overweight. However, there are a few tell-tale signs you can look out for that might hint that a truck is over the legal weight limit. These include oversized flags, falling loads, or cargo sticking out from the back or sides of the truck.

Suppose you suspect that an overloaded, unsafe, or improperly loaded truck may have contributed to the accident that resulted in your injuries. In that case, Rizk Law lawyers can help you file a claim to recover your damages. Our Oregon personal injury team is well-versed in local, state, and federal policies regarding overweight trucks. Call us today at (503) 245-5677 or complete our convenient contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys today.

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