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undefinedAn overweight truck is not just illegal; it is dangerous. As an overweight truck rolls down the freeway (think I-5, Tejon Pass, and the grapevine), the brakes wear down and so does the road. But, you think it’s just your bad luck to get caught with an overweight truck. Actually, that might be a fair analogy, after all, you were gambling an awful lot with the lives of other drivers, and the immense fine. Much like rolling the dice, it’s cheap enough at a $1.00 a roll or pound, but not if you roll the dice eight or ten thousand times or are overweight by eight or ten thousand pounds.

How to Avoid an Overweight Truck

When you drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) across California, you will likely meet and have many discussions with law enforcement at weigh stations. CHP is the inspecting authority at these sites. You might occasionally even have an encounter with CHP over the weight of your load, or if you have an overweight truck.

Overweight trucks cause road destruction because of the weight, or due to a shifting of weight to one wheel or set of axles. In CA, as in other states, traffic code laws, such as CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 35551, Axle Weights prescribe how much of your vehicle’s weight can rest on one wheel, axle, or set of axles. And, sections 35550 through 35558 govern how much a truck can weigh depending on the number of axles and the length between axles and defines what an overweight truck is. Another crucial factor used to regulate a truck’s weight is the truck’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The GVWR combines the driver, its passengers for a bus, and the load or cargo. Weight restrictions vary by state as does the length between axles, and at the national level where the US Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates interstate transportation. However, meeting DOT restrictions will not preclude a driver or carrier from obtaining a special permit to cross individual states.

To avoid a ticket for overweight truck violations, which could lead to a $1.00 per pound fine for each pound your truck is over the legal limit, you could weigh the truck before leaving a loading yard, especially when your truck is loaded by someone else. You must add the weight of cargo on the manifest or bill of laden to the empty truck weight, but that is still not as accurate. Another option is to stop at a public weigh station as soon as possible after leaving the loading platform when there isn’t a scale available at the yard. Several weigh stations are within a few miles of two of CA biggest ports, Long Beach and Los Angeles, plus there are many more in Central Valley. You must pay a fee, but the chances are very good that it won’t be close to the fine for an overweight truck.

Keep in mind, the CHP who man the state’s weigh stations round down or up when measuring the distance between axles to determine how much an axle can bear. Therefore, it is never wise to push the weight limits. Rounding down because of a few inches can cost you or fleet management an expensive ticket. An axle distance of eight feet-six inches gets rounded up to nine feet. That means you’re good for up to 42,000 pounds. However, an axle distance of eight feet-five inches gets rounded down to eight, making you legal up to only 34,000 pounds, which is an 8,000-pound difference or an $8000 fine. A substantial difference for only a couple inches.

Special Permits

Before heading out on an over-the-road assignment, you or the personnel in fleet management must obtain a special permit if your vehicle weight will exceed an individual state’s limit. In most cases, special permits are allowed for specific cargo and for a specified period (usually the length of the trip), when cargo can’t be further broken down into lighter loads, such as steel beams, cranes and other special use vehicles, or mobile homes. All trucks and other CMVs must comply with federal regulations when driving on interstate highways, such as I-5, 15, etc.

Weight Limit Exceptions for Vehicles

Most drivers of rental trucks do not know they must meet the weight limit, or even that they must stop at weigh stations. That could be expensive if they have an overweight truck while moving products to market or household belongings. However, the following vehicles are exempt from the standard:

· Garbage

· Livestock

· Animal feed or bulk grain trucks when it is loaded

· Cement trucks

· Tank trucks, which have a capacity of 1500-gallons

· Firetrucks

· And others (check CVC 35551 for more details)

When driving commercial vehicles with a CVSA sticker applied within the last quarter, stop at the weigh station or roadside inspection points, and then when you have no violations, they’ll affix a sticker good for three months.

Traffic Ticket Attorneys for Overweight Trucks in Mojave, CA

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, when you require resolution for an overweight truck violation or any traffic ticket. We’re located right here in Kern County at 1701 Westwind Dr #203 in Bakersfield. However, we practice traffic law all over the Central Valley area and have represented many Mojave residents with traffic tickets, both CDL holders and non-CMV drivers. In fact, one of the founders’ father drives professionally, so we understand what it means when your financial security and livelihood is threatened by a traffic violation such as an overweight truck.

Send us an email, with your questions or the specifics of your ticket.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Visit our Facebook page and leave us a personal message, or read what we’ve done for other truckers and CDL holders. You can also find comments left by clients on Avvo and Nolo or Yelp. We have over 100, mostly favorable reviews on Yelp. However, not all cases are winnable, but we always give our best.


The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

CVC 35551.5, Axle Weights

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