Understanding the Risks of Transporting Heavy Equipment on 18-Wheelers

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Auto Accident, Firm News

Transporting heavy equipment such as bulldozers on 18-wheelers is a common practice in industries like construction and logistics. However, the transportation of such oversized and heavy loads introduces significant risks on the road. This article discusses the hazards associated with hauling heavy machinery, particularly focusing on vehicle handling and load security, the potential for accidents, and the legal implications that arise from such transport-related incidents.

Increased Risk Due to Altered Vehicle Dynamics

The addition of heavy equipment like bulldozers to 18-wheelers substantially affects the vehicle’s handling characteristics. One of the primary concerns is the shift in the truck’s center of gravity, which becomes higher and often more unstable when carrying heavy loads. This shift increases the truck’s susceptibility to rolling over during maneuvers such as turning, swerving, or if the driver needs to make sudden adjustments in response to road conditions. Furthermore, the added weight significantly extends the vehicle’s stopping distance. Under normal circumstances, a fully loaded large commercial truck can require up to 20-40% more road space to stop compared to an empty truck, and this distance increases further under wet or slippery road conditions or if the brakes are not maintained impeccably.

Challenges in Load Control and Securing

Securing a heavy load like a bulldozer is critical for safe transport. Inadequate securing can lead to load shift, particularly in response to driving maneuvers or vibrations from road travel, compromising the stability of the vehicle. If the load shifts significantly, it can affect the driver’s control over the vehicle, increasing the likelihood of an accident. The process of securing such equipment involves using chains, straps, and tensioning devices designed to handle specific weights and types of cargo. Failure in any of these securing components, whether due to material fatigue, improper use, or wear and tear, can result in the load becoming unsecured or entirely detached from the trailer.

The Dire Consequences of Load Loss

The risks escalate dramatically if the load is lost during transit. A heavy piece of equipment like a bulldozer becoming unsecured and falling from a trailer can be catastrophic. Such events can lead to multi-vehicle collisions, causing significant property damage, severe injuries, or fatalities. These incidents can occur swiftly and with little warning, giving other motorists minimal time to react and avoid the hazard. The aftermath of such accidents often involves complex recovery efforts, extensive investigations to determine fault, and significant disruptions to regular traffic flow, which can lead to secondary accidents in congested areas.

Legal Implications and Protective Measures

From a legal standpoint, accidents involving transportation of heavy equipment like bulldozers can result in significant liabilities for multiple parties, including the truck driver, trucking company, equipment owner, or even third-party maintenance and securing equipment providers. Following such accidents, personal injury law firms play a crucial role in helping victims understand their rights and the complexities of claims involving commercial transportation incidents. They assist in navigating the intricacies of liability, whether it stems from negligence in securing the load, insufficient driver training, or failures in maintaining the vehicle.

For victims, securing experienced legal representation is vital in ensuring that all aspects of the accident are thoroughly investigated and all forms of compensation are pursued.

Spagnoletti Law Firm has attorneys licensed in Texas, Florida, New Mexico and New York.  We have handled numerous cases involving catastrophic auto and bus accidents in both federal and state court across the country.  Our attorneys have extensive experience and the skills needed to aggressively represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or been seriously injured in a trucking or commercial vehicle accident.

The experienced accident attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm have previously been involved in similar cases and can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was involved in an accident. Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.