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Tips on avoiding truck overloading

Tips on avoiding truck overloading


It can be tempting to cut down on hours and payroll costs by overloading trucks, but this dangerous practice leads to many fatalities and injuries on the road.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 466 Illinois truck drivers were killed on the job in 2012. Many of these deaths were caused by overloading. When a trucking company chooses to overload its vehicles, it breaks transportation law and creates a potentially deadly hazard. These tips can help truckers avoid the danger of overloading.

Factors to consider when loading a truck

There are several factors to consider when calculating the safe capacity of a truck. Some of the most important numbers include the following:

  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), the maximum total weight of the truck
  • Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR), the maximum total weight of the truck, all trailers, cargo, fuel, driver, and passenger(s)
  • Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR), the maximum allowable load per axle
  • Any further restrictions placed on the vehicle during the licensing process
  • Maximum highway ratings for the roads being used, which may be lower than the vehicle’s own rating

If a truck or trailer is found to be in violation of even one of these maximum figures, it is considered to be overloaded. According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, a penalty of up to $1,500 will be applied immediately.

Be aware of all possible limitations

Some of the factors in truck overloading are relatively easy to account for. The GVWR of a truck is set by the manufacturer when it leaves the factory, and this number is unlikely to change during the lifetime of the vehicle. Other issues need closer attention. Different stretches of highway within the state of Illinois have different weight limits, and it is important to be aware of the exact rules before planning a transport run. Interstate trips can be even more complicated since trucking companies must ensure they are complying with the laws in each state they travel through.

Don’t count on exemptions

Exemptions from official weight limits are much rarer than many drivers believe. While some emergency vehicles or snow removal vehicles are in fact exempt, these cases are uncommon and almost never applicable to commercial trucking. The Illinois Department of Transportation issues a small number of overweight permits each year, but these exceptions do not apply to the majority of truckers, who are expected to obey all rules having to do with maximum weight limits and safe loading.

Find out more about responsibilities and rules

Transporting large loads is an important commercial activity that comes with many responsibilities. To avoid costly fines and dangerous accidents, be aware of the rules. Contact an Illinois transportation attorney to find out more about your company’s individual situation.

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