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Is Cargo Underload a Significant Factor in a Tanker Rollover?

— July 25, 2022

Overloading cargo is often cited as dangerous to driver’s safety, but under-loading tanker trucks carrying liquid cargo can be deadly.

Cargo underload is a widespread problem associated with tanker transport in Texas as underfilled tankers create weight imbalances when the liquid within is moving freely from side-to-side or front-to-back increasing the chance for a rollover accident to occur. Big rig accident victims may wonder “where can I find an attorney near me?” to answer questions surrounding liability, insurance claims submissions and the need for legal action after an accident caused by tanker underload.  

Comprehensive damage amounts may require seeking compensation above policy limits

Because there is such notable size discrepancy between a tractor trailer and most passenger vehicles, accidents may contribute to greater expenses than insurance policies may cover. It would be in the best interests of accident victims to seek counsel from a Plano accident lawyer for guidance as they can hire exports to explain how cargo load problems impacted the harmful loss to victims.  

Tanker under-load

Overloading cargo is often cited as dangerous to driver’s safety, but under-loading tanker trucks carrying liquid cargo can be deadly. Whenever a tank is not filled enough, the liquid can slosh around inside the tank when a truck takes a turn, or curve, especially at high speeds. The uneven weight distribution and the type of substance transported, such as flammable liquids, pressurized gases, or highly toxic chemicals increase catastrophic risks.

Tanker truck on road; image by Ale Sat, via
Tanker truck on road; image by Ale Sat, via

Truck driver actions to control underload

  1. Controlling surges when braking, or navigating turns, with the use of bulkheads, or baffles and consistent brake pressure to assist surge control. 
  • Bulkheads – use a solid divider to divide a liquid tanker into several smaller tanks. When loading, and unloading the smaller tanks, the driver must pay attention to weight distribution for the dividers are solid. Putting too much weight on the front or rear of the vehicle will cause adverse effects.
  • Baffles are bulkheads that have holes in them to let the liquid flow through. The baffles help control the forward and backward liquid surge. In these trailers, the internal movement of the product is minimal.
  1. Avoid skidding by driving with control and moving slower in severe weather situations.
  2. Observe speed limits to ensure safe driving for the type of roadway navigated. 

Talk to a lawyer about comparative Negligence (51% Rule)

Plano truck accident lawyer can build a case for recoverable damages utilizing the 51% rule, where injured accident parties can be up to 50% responsible for an accident and still collect damages in a personal injury claim.  If fault is determined to be above that percentage, victims cannot receive relevant compensation from another driver. In personal injury cases a value is set for economic damages and non-economic damages, in addition to punitive damages that may be awarded specific to a truck accident case. 



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