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More cargo, bigger trucks could cause serious problems

When a truck accident occurs, some of the major elements to consider are the truck driver's competency and mental state; the safety and track record of the truck company; and the mechanical upkeep or overall performance of the vehicle itself. Depending on the circumstances of the wreck, if any of these areas are lacking (which can span myriad reasons), then the driver and the truck company can be faulted for negligence in a civil lawsuit by the victims.

How could these areas make the truck at fault? Well, the driver has to pass a physical to clear him or her for operation. The truck company has to keep detailed logs of the shifts their drivers perform, and what kind of breaks they take. The vehicle itself has to be in good shape, with regular maintenance performed to ensure it is functioning properly.

There is another area of truck accidents, though, that may not get the attention it fully deserves: the cargo. There are rules and regulations that govern a truck's capacity and cargo. If it is too heavy, the vehicle can be difficult to steer. Going around turns, it can be prone to tipping over; going down hills, it can be difficult to stop; and, in general, an overloaded truck is much more out of control than a properly loaded truck.

So imagine the dismay of both the trucking industry and the public when a MAP-21 rule was discussed recently by the government. MAP-21 is the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century" law that concerns U.S. infrastructure.

Some federal officials want "supersized" trucks, capable of carrying much more cargo than current trucks. The trucking industry opposes this move, as they argue it would drive up their costs and make driving more dangerous than it is already.

Source: Land Line Magazine, "Supersized trucks? The professionals on the road say no," David Tanner, June 6, 2013

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