A semi-truck accident changes the lives of all parties involved. On average, United States semi-trucks can have a gross accumulative weight of approximately 80,000 pounds. Semi-trucks are an estimated 72 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 13.5 feet tall. By federal law, semi-trucks cannot exceed 80,000 pounds. This includes cargo the truck carries on the road. If you have driven down an interstate before, you have seen areas referred to as weigh stations. These stations are specifically for commercial semi-truck drivers. They direct the drivers off of the road and are directed to take weight measurements.
As stated, the trucks legally cannot exceed 80,000 pounds. According to the McCallister law firm, this limit is set for the driver’s safety and everyone else on the road. A semi-truck that exceeds 80,000 pounds will not be able to drive efficiently as the excess weight may cause dangerous accidents if the truck cannot safely maneuver on the roads. For instance, heavier trucks will not be able to make a quick lane change, abrupt stops safely, or swerves if needed.
If a driver weighs their truck and it is slightly over the weight limit, it may not be a major concern. Weigh stations mostly force drivers to stop their operations altogether if their truck overly exceeds the weight limit, as it is a major hazard for the roads. Exceeding the legal weight limits can carry extremely serious consequences. The truck will have to contact another driver to unload the extra weight so that they can continue. This delay could cause the driver and the entire company a lot of money, hindering their time to complete their operations effectively. If the product arrives late or not, this can cause a rift between the company and the customer.
A truck driver may even go to jail due to having an overweight truck. Some states prohibit this and go to the extent of punishing the driver with as much as two months of jail time. They may also consider revoking the truck driver’s license altogether, depending on the details of the accident.
One of the most common consequences is fines. The amount a driver needs to pay varies state-to-state. A fine of up to $16,000 is the norm for most states; Others may be liable to charge the trucker’s employer up to a $10,000 fine for their trucks exceeding the weight limit. Repeat offenders may have to pay double or even triple in most places.
Time is valuable. This is why truckers do not like stopping at weigh stations, as it slows down their operations. Although weigh stations may be a nuisance, they are extremely necessary. A truck that exceeds the legal weight limit of 80,000 pounds is extremely dangerous to the roads. Each stay has its own set of rules regarding the weight station. In general, commercial vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds have to go to the station, even if they are empty. The only exceptions include if the stations are closed or you obtain a PrePass. Yearly, surveillance cameras are more frequent on roadways so officers can get a good read on a truck that fails to stop at a weigh station. The authorities then have the right to contact the company, which could result in a $300 fine or the driver losing their job.