Improperly Loaded Big-Rig Causes Deadly Austin Truck Crash

Tractor-Trailer Falls From Exit Ramp in Tragic Accident

Around midnight Tuesday morning, a tractor-trailer hauling furniture crashed on U.S. Highway 183 in Austin. The semi was traveling north on Research Boulevard service road and headed off the MoPac Boulevard exit when the driver rammed into a concrete barrier and flipped over the ramp. The truck landed upside down on the highway 10 feet below and burst into flames. The tractor-trailer driver was not able to escape the burning vehicle and died in the tragic accident. Police suspect a shifting load of furniture caused the truck to tumble over the highway on-ramp.

How Shifting Loads Contribute to 18-Wheeler Rollovers

The trailer’s high center of gravity and heavy weight contribute to its instability. When the 18-wheeler takes a curve, such as onto a highway ramp, the stability of the trailer may be compromised, particularly if:

  • The load is unbalanced and shifts during the turn
  • The driver takes the turn too fast
  • The driver turns too sharply or too little
  • The driver over-corrects for path errors
  • The driver is distracted or tired

Often, a combination of these factors causes the tractor-trailer to overturn.

Preventing Semi Rollover Crashes

The risks of rollover are greater in a top-heavy tractor-trailer, but responsible trucking corporations can take simple steps to eliminate
the factors that contribute to these crashes.

Truck companies should ensure that goods are correctly loaded in the trailer. An
unbalanced load is at risk of shifting when the truck turns, and thus
creating a powerful force that can send the truck over. The risks
increase if the load is heavy, such as furniture. In addition,
well-trained drivers are better equipped to handle potentially hazardous road conditions, including a poorly designed highway exit ramp with too sharp an angle.

Electronic Stability Control Rules for Big Trucks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a rule that requires installation of an electronic stability control
(ESC) system in large trucks and buses weighing more than 26,000
pounds. An ESC system automatically adjusts for a driver’s steering and
speed errors when taking a turn or swerving. ESC keeps cars from
spinning out
and keeps trucks from tipping over.

NHTSA estimates that mandatory ESC installation could prevent 14
percent of loss-of-control accidents and approximately 48 percent of
rollover crashes, and thus prevent about 2,068 accidents, 753 injuries
and 55 deaths.

Our Auto Accident Firm Represents Victims of Dallas-Fort Worth Truck Accidents

Based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Bill Berenson represents truck drivers and other motorists injured in tractor-trailer crashes
in Dallas, Fort Worth and the surrounding Texas communities. To
schedule a free appointment, call our personal injury firm at
817-885-8000 or toll-free at 1-888-801-8585. We are available to help
you recover.

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