For a California trucker, it’s wise to research who is responsible
for what charges or anyone accepting responsibility to transport another
person’s goods. This is especially true for weight limits, that
can get the driver hit with an overweight violation and a hefty fine even
if they had no part in the loading. Fleet management can take the responsibility
by filing a CHP Form.
Who Must Pay the Fine?
In CA, this responsibility falls solely on the trucker. It is the driver’s
responsibility to ensure that their truck and trailer meets all safety
standards, including weight limit. If the driver does get an overweight
violation, they can attempt to hold the company responsible, especially
if the trucker had no part in loading the truck, but this will often involve
legal action if the company doesn’t agree to cover the cost.
When you look at the fines for an overweight violation, it usually works
out to about $1.00 a pound overweight after a certain point. So, if you
are 10,000 pounds overweight, your fine could be $10,000 if convicted.
Your best chance to avoid those kinds of fines is to hire a traffic ticket lawyer.
The best method for a trucker to avoid an overweight violation when they
had nothing to do with loading the vehicles is to get the owner to accept
responsibility in writing. The California Highway Patrol has an “Owner’s
Responsibility” form, CHP Form 279, which the driver can have the
owner sign and carry it with the driver, then when the driver has nothing
to do with the loading, he is not liable for the fine and the CHP will
send the owner the ticket.
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 35551 & Axle Limits
California Vehicle Code Section 35551 requires a specific amount of distance
between the farthest axles on the vehicle that determines the limit on
the gross weight, which will fall between 34,000 and 80,000 pounds. Moreover,
in combination with the weights limits, two successive “sets of
tandem axles” can transport “a gross weight of 34,000 pounds”
when the total distance between axles that sit farthest apart on “the
consecutive sets of tandem axles equals 36 feet or more. The gross weight
of each set of tandem axles shall not exceed 34,000 pounds and the gross
weight of the two consecutive sets of tandem axles shall not exceed a
total of 68,000 pounds.”
What Is Meant by Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
The GVW is the grand total of the weight of the entire vehicle. This is
also known as the “curbside weight” and includes the vehicle,
the cargo, and the passengers. The GVW also includes fuel weight, engine
fluids, and accessories as well.
It’s critical that the driver weighs the truck and trailer before
getting on the road to avoid getting an overweight violation. It may also
be wise to discuss beforehand with the company what they are willing to
take responsibility for and under what circumstances. Some companies also
keep an "owner’s responsibility" form filed with the CHP
that outlines when they are responsible for an overweight violation, then
the overweight violation ticket is mailed to the owner or fleet management.
It should be noted here that any company that tells a trucker to haul an
overweight load or be fired is doing so illegally and should be reported.
It is, however, understandable that some truckers will not do that in
fear of losing their jobs, but they better hope they have enough money
to cover the fines for an overweight violation and there’s always
criminal and civil responsibility if the brakes fail because of an overweight
load. It’s better to just run legal and look for another trucking company.
Hire a Bakersfield, Kern County Attorney
When you are looking at thousands of dollars in fines and the possibility
of unemployment, particularly when you had nothing to do with the loading
of the vehicle, you need to consult with a Kern County traffic ticket
attorney. And, the best legal team if you are scheduled to appear in court
for an overweight violation in Bakersfield, Shafter, Lamont, Delano or
any Central Valley court is Bigger & Harman. You will receive a free,
no obligation phone consultation. Bigger & Harman are traffic ticket
defenders who have offices throughout Central Valley and a few SoCal locations,
such as Los Angeles, Riverside, SLO, and San Bernardino.
Although their main office is in Kern County, they represent traffic ticket
clients in Hanford, Barstow, Santa Clarita, LA, Fresno, Porterville, Independence
and many more. Bigger & Harman have a good reputation with the judges,
court clerks, and law enforcement as tough courtroom lawyers, but more
importantly with their clients, which includes many of the truckers who
haul our country’s manufactured and agricultural goods to market.
Call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300 to discuss your situation or email:
Nolo.com write-up, Nolo is the nation’s largest online digest of legal professionals.
In addition, you should check the comments on
Yelp to get a clearer picture of who these guys are and how proud they are
of their reputation of excellence in serving Central Valley drivers.
Se habla Español 661.349.9755.