In the trucking industry, overweight loads can be a problem, and the fines that go with those loads are often expensive. There are some general guidelines when dealing with these loads and some things you need to know when hauling overweight.
Legal Load Weight
While each state may have its guidelines around overweight loads and permitting them, federal law says a semi-truck traveling over their highways can not exceed eight thousand pounds gross vehicle weight without an overweight permit. It is critical to understand that the gross weight includes the truck and the trailer. Since the semi-truck often takes up half the weight, the load weight can only be about forty-thousand pounds by itself.
The truck driver is responsible to ensure their truck and trailer are not over the legal weight limit. If the shipper overloads the trailer, the driver will need to get a permit for the load or ask the shipper to remove some of the weight. It is critical that the driver keeps track of the weight, or the truck could get called into the scale and be overweight, resulting in a fine for the driver and the trucking company.
Getting A Permit
Truck drivers that need overweight permits have a couple of options to obtain the proper permits. Drivers working for a trucking company can ask the dispatcher to arrange the overweight permits for the states the truck will travel into and have them sent to them.
Often the dispatcher knows the load will be overweight before they send it to the driver, so they may already have the permits for the driver based on the route the dispatcher is assigning the truck. Each state requires the driver to have an overweight permit before entering the state, so the dispatcher must have the permits ready before the driver heads out with the load.
There are also some services that will arrange the permits you need for you. The cost of the permit varies by state and permit type, but for an independent driver, these services can handle all the paperwork so the driver does not have to. Loads traveling across several states can be harder to permit, so using a service that handles overweight permits all the time makes sense in many situations.
Every state sets its prices for overweight permits, and because of that, there is no standard fee. The permit costs can be a few dollars in one state, and thousands of dollars in another. The service handling your permits can tell you what the cost is in each state, and help you navigate through getting them in order.
These services do charge fees as well, so that adds to the cost of permitting, but all of these costs are significantly less than the cost of the fines for moving an overweight load without the right paperwork.
For more information about overweight permits, contact a local professional.