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Preventing an Overweight Truck in Woodland

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Why are overweight truck fines so much more than for speeding? A fine for an overweight truck can be tens of thousands of dollars, much more than speeding in a construction or school zone, which typically tops out at around $1,000, even when doubled. Is hauling a few thousand pounds over the limit that much more dangerous than speeding through a school zone?

What’s more, if you realize you are speeding, you can slow down. What do you do if you are an over-the-road trucker and realize you are overweight for the state where you are? Regardless of how much a truck weighs with a full load, chances are it is overweight in one of the states it has to pass through.

Some will say trucking firms have deeper pockets than the average speeder, while others say the overweight truck will cause infinitely more damage whenever it is in an accident. Another reason might be deterrence; some think trucking firms and shippers would load as much on a truck as they could get away with if left to their own devices. Also, an overweight truck could cause its brake system to surpass the design capacity for the vehicle when braking.

The problem with thinking that fines must be steep enough to discourage the trucking firm from overloading the truck is that typically it is the driver who must pay the fine. This sudden drain on the family budget could leave them without food. An owner-operator could be put out of business.

Many truckers indicate that California is the worst. However, how much are the fines for an overweight truck and are there other penalties?

What Are the Typical Fines for an Overweight Truck?

The base fine could be as little as $20 with surcharges that bring it to $150 for loads less than 1,000 pounds over the legal limit. Overweight truck tickets are assessed by how much the truck is overweight. It is usually $1.00 for every pound over. Furthermore, it is not as straightforward as the total weight of the truck, but also includes variables such as how much weight is sitting on one wheel, an axle, and the length between axles.

When the vehicle’s weight is 4,501 pounds over the legal limit, it is a misdemeanor crime with possible jail time or probation in addition to the fine. Likewise, the carrier could get fined as well.

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Sections 35550 – 35796, Weight describes weight requirements and when a permit is necessary. That’s correct; there are exceptions when a load cannot get broken down into smaller lots, and where the driver or firm can get a permit to allow the overweight truck. The problem for many owner-operators is they must have a permit for each state they will pass through. CVC 35550, Axle Limits prescribes the maximum weight per axle in CA.

Preventing an Overweight Truck

Once a driver accepts a load and drivers away, they are responsible for the cargo and its weight. The smart driver immediately takes the truck to a certified scale weight. Not a DOT scale at an official Weigh Station, where if you are over, you are liable to a ticket, but a private scale. Yes, it will cost $11.50, but it’s much cheaper than the fine.

In this illustration, you can see a receipt for a certified truck scale weigh-in. Notice how it has the steer axle, drive axle, trailer axle, and gross weight. With this information, the driver can tell if they need to make any adjustments to the cargo or go back to the shipper to get the load reduced. When reducing the weight is not possible, they can call fleet management and get permits through their ELD terminal.

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Although CATS guarantees your weight, it cannot ensure you will meet the weight requirements of every state you will drive through. Likewise, you should consult an in-state traffic attorney when cited regardless of whether you used a CATS weigh-in. A California traffic attorney is familiar with the traffic code, traffic court personnel, and weight restrictions. They can give you the legal advice you need.

Who Can Handle My Overweight Truck Ticket in Truckee, CA?

You would think that since the Federal government controls almost everything else about transporting goods, they would control how much weight a trucker can haul, instead of leaving it up to the states. Everyone understands that the states need revenue to fix the roads and bridges within their state lines, but why do they so heavily penalize the guys and gals putting food on the grocery store shelves ?

When you get an overweight citation at the inspection station in the Donner Pass on I-80 near Truckee, you need a California traffic attorney. Call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Send us an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

CVC Sections 3555035796, Weight