There is no doubt that freight weight is important on the state and the federal level, which is probably the reason they both have very strict rules.
Cargo companies need to be more than aware of the rules that each state follows and the rules the federal government imposes.
Still, trucking companies make mistakes all the time and may earn a citation because the freight was overweight.
The following are four things all freight business owners need to know about these types of citations.
1. Why Are These Rules Enforced?
The short answer is that excessive weight can lead to road damage given enough time.
The reason states and federal governments care about proper weight is because too much can compromise the integrity of the roads quicker than they might have without the added pressure.
Both state and federal taxes are collected and used to maintain the integrity of the roads, but no government wants to pay for more work than it needs to, which is the reason this is policed so strictly.
According to Marc J. Blumenthal, Ltd., a law firm based in Illinois that specializes in transportation law, that a “recent update to federal law now requires commercial truck drivers to electronically record their hours behind the wheel.”
By enforcing electronic records, the days of manipulating records so drivers can pull more hours is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
2. Drivers Can Get Jail Time
There are a lot of reasons truckers and trucking companies add excessive cargo to a freight; for one, it allows the truck driver to deliver more goods in a single drive, and that is definitely good for business.
Truck drivers can only deliver one shipment at a time, so packing each shipment with as much cargo as possible ends up saving money while increasing profits.
It is easy to see why trucking companies and truckers might take a risk.
As mentioned earlier, an overweight truck can damage roads, not to mention make it harder to control the freight on the road, which are some of the reasons this won’t work.
Keep in mind that violations are punishable by the law. A driver caught with too much cargo can go to jail for more than a month.
More than that, the driver could get his or her’s commercial driver’s license revoked, which puts this driver out of commission for a while.
3. Fines are Hitting Hard
Every state has different laws and different fines for those who break them. This is especially true for truck drivers or trucking companies that have to follow different rules.
The laws are so complex that it is sometimes wise to have a lawyer look over some of these laws and have them explained to ensure that no violation is committed simply because the law was not understood.
The fines issued can be quite expensive. Some violations actually earn fines as high as $16,000 though that is just one example.
No company, especially one that is just starting, is going to want to deal with a fine that could disrupt business. The risk is simply not worth the trouble, which is the reason truckers and trucking companies need to take this seriously.
Keep in mind that a violation could earn a fine in several states.
4. Late Deliveries May Happen
A truck that is caught with too much cargo is not going to be leaving any time soon. Weight stations force drivers to stop their truck if the truck weighs more than 6,000 pounds.
There will be no driving until the weight is confirmed and the fine is determined afterwards, not to mention any additional punishments.
It should be pointed out that the officer or officers who caught the violation usually get to collect additional cash from the violating party.
The time that is wasted at the weigh station is time the driver is not going to get back. The time spent in this weight station can get worse if the cargo has to be unloaded and placed in another truck because the driver will have to wait until that the other truck arrives.
As most trucking companies and drivers know, time is definitely money when it comes to the cargo business, so this delay is likely going to hurt. The customer is not going to be too happy that his or her shipment did not get to its destination on time.
It is clear that taking such a risk is simply not worth the trouble. Hopefully, some of these points make it easier to understand why truckers need to keep a good eye on freight weight.
George is the CEO of Expat Group Limited, based in Hong Kong.