Oversized loads can overburden a vehicle and cause the driver to lose control over the rig. Drivers have a duty of care that includes properly labeling the vehicle and not exceeding vehicle load limits. When drivers negligently operate an oversized vehicle, the dangers they create for other motorists can result in serious personal injury or wrongful death. Nationwide, it is estimated that vehicles transporting oversized loads weighing 80,000 or more are 50% more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than vehicles that weigh 60,000.
Accidents Involving Oversized Vehicle Loads
There are many types of accidents that oversized loads can cause. These include large-truck rollovers that can occur when the weight of the load is not properly distributed along the vehicle. This can increase the risk of the vehicle rolling over as it traverses corners or when high winds disrupt the forward motion of the vehicle.
Jackknife accidents are also frequent. These often occur when the vehicle operator applies the brakes too quickly. For instance, when the driver attempts to bring the vehicle to a sudden stop at intersections or on highways when traffic is present, a jackknife accident can occur. Oversized loads require more stopping distance than regular loads and this is a common mistake made by inexperienced drivers.
Oversized vehicle loads are typically heavier than other large trucks. This means that tire blowouts are a common occurrence. Blowouts often occur when the weight of the load exceeds the tire rating or when the load is not properly distributed along the bed of the trailer.
Finally, oversized loads that are improperly secured with sufficient restraint can fall from the vehicle. When this happens, it can spill heavy machinery, pipes, lumber, and other deadly obstructions into the roadway.
Oversized Loads in Illinois
Vehicle operators in Illinois are required to secure permits for oversized loads. In Illinois, loads must not be wider than 14’6, taller than 15′ high, and over 145′ long. Vehicle weight cannot exceed 120,000 pounds or up to 100,000 on vehicles with five axles. Vehicles may operate from 30 minutes before sunrise and up to 30 minutes after sunset at which point they must be parked for the night. In Cook, DuPage, Lake, and many other counties, vehicles may operate from 9 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday.