Driving Next To a Cement Truck Can Be Risky Business
Cement trucks are a hazard on the roadways. With cement loads weighing up to 30,000 pounds, they rank among the heaviest, if not the largest, trucks. Their top-heavy design makes them prone to rollover, particularly when fully loaded with cement. Their weight makes them difficult to maneuver, and they require more stopping distance to avoid a crash. In a collision with a cement truck, passenger vehicle occupants are likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries.
What Makes Cement Trucks More Dangerous Than the Average 18-Wheeler?
All trucks pose serious danger to the cars they’re driving near. There are countless ways that an 18-wheeler can cause a catastrophic accident. Anything can happen, from underrides to jackknifes. Cement trucks, however, can pose an even more significant threat to motorists than tractor trailers for several reasons.
Stability: Cement trucks are extremely unstable. A high center of gravity and uneven weight distribution can cause the truck to roll over when making a turn, even at very low speeds.
Maneuverability: The difficulty of maneuvering a cement truck makes it more likely that a driver will drift out of the proper lane and have trouble getting back into their own lane quickly.
No Zones: Cement truck drivers have large blind spots. They are unable to see a person or vehicle directly behind, or in front of the truck. They also can’t see anyone driving near the end of the truck on the left or right side. This increases the likelihood of backing over a pedestrian or into another vehicle.
Poor Training: To legally operate a cement truck, the drivers are required to have a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL), which requires them to pass specific tests. However, a CDL only ensures that the driver has the basics down. It is not a guarantee of the training or experience needed to drive a cement truck safely, without putting others on the roadways at risk.
Speeding: Wet cement can dry inside the truck if the driver fails to arrive at his destination quickly. Drivers are often in a hurry, which increases the risk of a rollover or collision.
Stopping Distance: Because of their weight, cement trucks need more time and distance to stop. This makes it difficult to avoid an accident when traffic ahead of the cement truck comes to a stop.
Malfunctions: Cement truck brakes and axles are under extreme stress because of the heavy loads these trucks carry. Without regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs, equipment failure can lead to serious accidents.
What Are the Texas Rules for Cement Trucks?
- Ready-mixed concrete trucks in Texas are required to have annual permits issued for a fee of $1,000 by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
- Their maximum allowable weight is 69,000 pounds.
- Cement trucks are allowed to exceed allowable axle weights (single axle 25,300 pounds; tandem axle 50,600 pounds) by tolerance of 10%, provided they don’t go over the maximum gross weight.
- They may not exceed legal size limits.
- State-issued overweight permits do not authorize weight over manufacturer tire load ratings.
- The person or entity with the permit is responsible for clearing overhead obstructions or utility lines.
- Loaded cement trucks must use designated truck routes in certain Texas cities.
What To Do If You Are Involved In a Cement Truck Accident
If you have been involved in a collision with a cement truck, your injuries may be serious, which makes it important to recover full compensation for your losses. Your best course of action is to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Our Texas trucking accident attorneys at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP have years of experience helping truck accident victims. Our firm provides personal, client-centered legal services, and we will travel to meet you if you are unable to come to us after a serious cement truck accident. Contact us today at (903) 207-5526.