Commercial trucks transport billions of tons of freight across America each year. The safety of these transports depends on the size of the load and the techniques used to secure the cargo. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules in place determining the maximum size and weight of commercial loads, as well as how cargo loaders must secure trucks. Breaking these rules can lead to unsafe loads and disasters such as oversized load accidents.
An oversized load accident can be fatal for truck drivers and other victims. If you or someone you love has been in such an accident in Central Virginia, a Richmond oversized load accident attorney at Pendleton Law can help. You may qualify for financial compensation from the negligent trucking company and/or another party for causing your preventable accident. Call us at (804) 554-4444 to discuss your legal options in more detail during a free consultation.
What Does the Law Say About Oversized Loads?
State laws permit trucks to carry “oversized loads,” or loads that exceed the height, width, and/or weight limits for commercial cargo transport, as long as the carrier follows special state-enforced rules. In general, a load is oversize if it exceeds 80,000 pounds gross weight, 20,000 pounds single axle weight, or 34,000 pounds tandem axle weight. If a truck exceeds these requirements, it must abide by the state’s oversized load rules to legally be on the road. These rules, in Virginia, are as follows:
- Trucks up to 150 feet in length, 15’11” in width, and 15 feet high require routine overweight/oversize transport permits.
- If the load is more than 105 feet in length on a two-lane road or 125 feet on a multiple-lane road, state law requires a rear escort vehicle to follow behind the truck. The law requires one front and one rear escort vehicle on shipments more than 11 feet wide on two-lane highways and 14 feet wide on multiple-lane highways.
- Oversized loads more than 60 feet in length, 10 feet in width, and/or with overhang more than 10 feet must use warning banners or signs that state “Oversize Load,” “Wide Load,” or “Long Load” as appropriate. Signs must be at least 7 feet in length and 18 inches in height, with 1.5-inch black lines, yellow background, and a one-inch black border.
- Trucks that require Oversize Load signs must also display one strobe light or flashing amber light on top of the cab of the truck, visible at 360 degrees from 500 feet away. A flashing or strobe amber light must also be on the uppermost rear area of the shipment.
- Oversized load trucks must use red, yellow, or orange emergency flags at least 18 inches long or wide at all four corners of the shipment.
These rules aim to improve the safety of transporting oversized loads in Virginia. If a trucking company or cargo loader fails to adhere to these rules, it could cause a preventable accident, such as another driver failing to notice logs have significant overhang and crashing into the load. In this case, the party responsible for loading the truck could be guilty of negligence and liable for the victim’s damages. For additional information regarding Virginia law about oversized loads, speak with a Richmond truck accident attorney.
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When to Call a Richmond Oversized Load Accident Lawyer
Trucks carrying oversized loads are even more dangerous than standard commercial trucks. There is a reason the state government enacts such specific requirements for transporting oversized loads. Failure to follow all of Virginia’s oversized load transport rules is an act of negligence if it causes an accident, property damage, and/or injuries.
After an accident with a truck that’s transporting an oversized load in Central Virginia, contact a Richmond oversized load accident attorney at our firm. You may be eligible for financial compensation through the at-fault trucking company, cargo loaders, and/or another party. This is especially true if the company didn’t follow all the requirements for safely transporting a heavy or wide load. Contact us and learn more about your rights during a free consultation.
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