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Illinois restrictions on weight and size of cargo

Illinois restrictions on weight and size of cargo


Transportation companies provide a valuable service to the people living here in Illinois. They make it possible for people to receive products and materials that are grown or created within and outside of the state. However, transportation companies are also under strict federal and state rules that tell them how to run their businesses.

Among these many rules are the ones in Illinois that target the size and weight of the cargo that can be transported on state roads.

Gross weight limits

The Illinois Department of Transportation uses a bridge formula to determine what the maximum gross weight for transporting cargo should be. The maximum gross weight is a culmination of the vehicle’s regular weight and the weight of the cargo it is pulling. The state looks at the number of axles the vehicle has, the spacing between those axles and how much weight a group of axles can support.

For commercial vehicles that fall under Class I, II, or III, the state looks at the amount of distance between the first axle on the truck and the last axle on the truck – this is the external bridge, and then examines the space between additional axles between the first and the last – this is the internal bridge. The formula then takes this information to determine the overall weight that the vehicle is safely able to carry. For example, a vehicle with four axles on it could carry between 50,000 and 74,000 pounds, depending on the outcome of the above formula. A tractor trailer with six or more axles on it has a weight restriction that ranges from 66,000 to 80,000 pounds, again depending on the formula results.

If trucks are found to exceed the allotted weight amount, the owner of the vehicle will be fined and charged with a penalty assessment fee. The fines, excluding the penalty fee, include the following:

  • Cargo overweight by 5,001 pounds or more: $75 for every 500 pounds above the limit
  • Cargo overweight by 4,501 – 5,000 pounds: $475
  • Cargo overweight by 4,001 – 4,500 pounds: $300
  • Cargo overweight by 3,501 – 4,000 pounds: $260
  • Cargo overweight by 3,001 – 3,500 pounds: $165
  • Cargo overweight by 2,501 – 3,000 pounds: $135

Cargo that is overweight by 2,000 pounds or below will be charged a $50 fine. In addition to the initial fine, transportation companies may also face fines from the county they are cited in.

Size restrictions

Guidelines regarding the size of a cargo load less are much less complicated to figure out. Tractor trailers are allowed about 8 feet 6 inches for width and there are no length limits during regular working days.

To avoid violating these guidelines, transportation companies should take the time to research what each of the vehicles in their fleet is allowed to carry under Illinois law. Speaking with a transportation law attorney can also be of benefit.

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