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Lessons on improper loading and the “low-boy” trailer

Written by Steve Gursten Posted December 3rd, 2014

Overloaded semi causes serious truck wreck in Texas, leaving two people dead


A Texas semi-truck accident that involved two 18-wheelers and a passenger car occupied by two individuals recently left two people dead and a third seriously injured.  This tragedy contains important lessons for attorneys who help people injured in similar truck accidents.

One of the semis was pulling a ‘low boy’ trailer — which is a trailer that’s specially made with a drop deck design to haul heavy machinery such as bulldozers, road graders, front loaders, etc. The low boy was loaded with construction equipment. However, the trailer was improperly loaded, and the equipment was actually protruding out over the width and over height dimensions. Needless to say, this is extremely dangerous.

What happened next is precisely why it’s so dangerous to overload a semi-truck.

The big-rig was traveling down the highway approaching a low railroad overpass. The overpass was announced by cautionary highway signs and flashing yellow lights. In addition, there was a height sensor which further warned approaching truck drivers with over height loads.

The over-height and overloaded semi-truck’s load hit the overpass. The equipment then came off the trailer and hit a passing passenger vehicle, and a second tractor-trailer. The driver of the car, in reaction to the falling equipment, applied the brakes and was then rear ended by the second semi-truck. (On a related note, here’s one of our posts about preventing truckers from colliding with low bridges.)

Sadly, the impact from the second truck killed the passenger in the car and the trucker.

Here’s the lesson for attorneys: this type of truck accident is completely preventable and entirely senseless.

Companies that put profit over safety are extremely dangerous, and these are the kinds of companies that our attorneys are dedicated to holding accountable for seriously injuring or killing people.

Every year there are crashes like this; that occur due to overloading, or improper loading.  There are very specific rules regarding cargo articulated in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), and violations lead to such serious truck accidents.

It is the responsibility for attorneys who litigate these cases to be familiar with these rules, and to work with experts who can explain how these rules are used in the industry.

Hopefully, this crash will raise awareness about these types of truck wrecks caused by overloaded cargo.

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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