Because of the area's abundant swamplands and numerous bodies of water, bridges dot the New Orleans landscape and are prevalent throughout all of Louisiana. These bridges make travel more efficient, allowing people and products to pass in and out of the New Orleans area without the added costs of going around otherwise impassable areas. However, when it comes to large trucks, drivers must take special precautions before traveling on certain bridges.
According to a safety alert from the National Transportation Safety Board, large trucks that transport oversized loads pose dangerous problems for people on bridges throughout the country. But the dangers don't necessarily have to do with the extreme weight that the trucks carry. So, what are the added dangers of trucks carrying oversized loads on bridges?
The NTSB lists two examples of problems that can arise when trucks with oversized loads try to travel across a bridge. In the first example, a large truck struck one of the pieces of a bridge's structure, which caused an entire span of the bridge to collapse. That accident resulted in $8.5 million of damage, and the NTSB found that poor planning and communication by the driver and truck company led to the accident.
In a similar type of accident earlier this year, a truck with an oversized load hit a concrete beam on a bridge, causing two of the bridge's beams to collapse. That accident killed one person and injured three other people. Like the first accident that it cited, the NTSB also attributed this one to the truck company's failure to plan an appropriate route.
Because trucks are such large vehicles and they carry heavy loads of cargo, any truck accident has the potential to be deadly. When an oversized load is involved and the truck is traveling across bridges, the driver and truck owner must take special precautions. Failure to do so can cause devastating consequences.
As the NTSB's safety alert shows, bridges and trucks can make for a deadly combination. When truck drivers and trucking companies fail to operate their trucks safely, they have legal liability for the damages and injuries that result. This is true regardless of whether a truck accident is caused by a distracted truck driver or the failure to properly plan the trucking route.
Source: NTSB, "The Impact of Oversize Loads on Our Nation's Bridges," Accessed on Dec. 14, 2015