Trucks with oversized loads are an unexpectedly common sight on Michigan highways, transporting everything from construction equipment to wind turbine blades. While these massive cargo are essential for various industries, transporting them alongside passenger vehicles on public roads also poses major safety risks.

Oversized loads are heavily regulated, but despite the safety precautions, accidents still occur, often resulting in serious injuries for those involved. If you’re hurt in a crash with a truck carrying an oversized load, a Michigan truck crash injury lawyer from Fieger Law can help you receive compensation.

What is an Oversized Load?

The trucking industry defines an oversized load as any cargo that exceeds the federal limits for weight, width, height, or length. These standards are:

  • 80,000 pounds in gross vehicle weight
  • 20,000 pounds per single axle
  • 34,000 pounds for tandem axle weight
  • 102 inches width

Items like industrial machinery, construction materials, or entire houses are considered special loads that necessitate unique handling and permits because of their large size and transportation challenges. For indivisible cargo, such as pipes or housing structures, specific permits may be required to facilitate their transportation.

You can recognize an oversized load vehicle because it will have a large yellow banner placed on the front and the rear of the vehicle, as well as red flags on all four corners and at the widest points of the cargo. It may also be accompanied by escort vehicles.

Contact Fieger Law if you’re injured in a crash with one of these large trucks. We can explain your rights to compensation and help you file a claim with the trucking company.

The Danger of Oversized Loads

With their exceptional size and weight, oversized loads present major safety concerns on Michigan roads and highways. Here’s why oversized loads are so dangerous:

  • Increased weight: Oversized loads exceed the 80,000 lb. federal weight limit. Large cargo can put immense stress on a truck’s braking system, making it more challenging for the driver to control the vehicle, especially when navigating steep hills or sharp turns.
  • Width and height: Oversized loads often extend beyond the standard width and height of a truck. This can create visibility issues for the truck driver and other motorists. Low-hanging or wide loads can easily collide with overpasses, road signs, or other vehicles, leading to accidents.
  • Reduced maneuverability: Trucks carrying oversized loads have limited maneuverability due to their size and weight. Changing lanes, making sharp turns, or moving in tight spaces becomes more challenging, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Wind resistance: Tall and wide loads are susceptible to strong wind forces, which can destabilize the truck and cause it to sway or even tip over. Wind-related accidents are a major concern for oversized loads, especially on open highways.

After a large truck accident, protect your rights with Fieger Law. We can help you win a fair settlement to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the crash.

Regulation and Safety Measures

The trucking industry and regulatory authorities have implemented strict safety measures and guidelines to mitigate the inherent dangers of oversized loads. These include the following:

  • Permits: Trucking companies must obtain permits for oversized loads, which specify the dimensions, weight, and route for transport. In Michigan, this can include a 5-day single trip permit or an extended permit, depending on the company’s needs.
  • Restricted timing for travel: Most states limit oversized load transportation based on the time of day or day of the week. For instance, Michigan issues permits for daylight hours Monday through Friday and weekend travel until 3 p.m. on Sundays.
  • Specialized equipment: Transporting oversized loads often requires specialized equipment, such as extended trailers, escort vehicles, and warning signs. These tools help improve visibility and safety on the road.
  • Route planning: Trucking companies must carefully plan the route when transporting oversized loads. This means selecting routes that can accommodate the size and weight of the cargo while avoiding low bridges, narrow roads, and other potential obstacles.
  • Escort vehicles: In many cases, oversized loads are accompanied by escort vehicles that help guide the truck and warn other motorists of the approaching convoy. In Michigan, these vehicles must have at least one flashing or rotating light on the cab and a 5’ x 12” “Oversized Load” sign displayed while traveling.

If you were hurt due to a trucking company’s negligence, contact our team at Fieger Law. We can gather evidence to prove the truck driver or their employer didn’t take the necessary steps for transporting an oversized load and help you receive compensation.

Common Types of Accidents and Injuries

Despite the safety measures in place, accidents involving trucks carrying oversized loads can still occur. When safety precautions fail or are ignored, it can lead to severe accidents, including:

  • Rollovers: The excessive weight and high center of gravity of oversized loads make trucks more prone to rollovers, especially when navigating curves or windy conditions. Rollover accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
  • Collisions: Oversized loads can collide with overpasses and other structures, causing extensive damage and endangering public safety. They may also collide with other vehicles, causing debilitating injuries or fatalities to those in passenger cars.
  • Load shifts: Improperly secured oversized loads can shift during transport, leading to instability and loss of control. A sudden load shift can result in accidents and damage to the cargo and anything the cargo knocks up against, including other vehicles.
  • Falling debris: Oversized loads may contain loose or poorly secured items that can fall onto the road, creating hazards for other drivers. Debris falling from a moving truck can cause injuries and damage to vehicles.
  • Bridge strikes: Oversized loads colliding with bridges and overpasses are a significant concern. These accidents can damage infrastructure, disrupt traffic, and result in costly repairs.

Protect Your Rights After an Oversized Truck Accident

You need aggressive legal representation after a collision with an oversized cargo truck. These companies often try to intimidate victims into settling for less than they deserve.

At Fieger Law, we’ve been helping accident victims get maximum insurance payouts for more than seven decades. We’ll use our negotiation skills and trial experience to represent your interests and win compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free case review and advice for your next legal steps.