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Can weigh stations prevent commercial truck accidents?

| Aug 16, 2020 | Firm News

Commercial trucks transport countless necessities across the United States. Yet, for as much as you appreciate having access to the items you need, sharing the road with 18-wheelers presents various safety risks.

The heavier a vehicle is, the longer its stopping distance. Still, that is not necessarily the only reason trucks must pull into designated weigh stations.

Multiple concerns could lead to an out-of-service declaration

In general, a fully loaded tractor-trailer can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The Department of Transportation (DOT) can put a truck out of service due to excess weight.

However, a weigh station inspection could also include citations for potential safety violations such as:

  • Fluid leaks
  • Brake malfunctions
  • Broken springs
  • Logged driving time
  • Improperly inflated or poorly maintained tires
  • An unlocked kingpin, which connects a trailer to a semitruck

Truckers often bypass the open hours of a weigh station because fixing these problems, among others, can cost them miles and delay load delivery. Meanwhile, allowing a truck in ill-repair to continue down the road could cause catastrophic injuries, for which more than one party may be to blame.

Despite maintenance checks, human error factors into most truck accident injuries

Traffic safety reports suggest that while brake problems are the most common factor in truck crashes, driver error is often to blame.

A truck driver’s long hours behind the wheel can lead to fatigue, while traffic congestion and roadway unfamiliarity create crash risks as well. Other accident factors include distraction, excessive speed and substance use.

No matter the number of miles a truck driver must cover or the deadlines they need to meet, safety should be the primary consideration for anyone operating a motor vehicle. You should not have to suffer because of a professional driver’s misaligned priorities.