The trucking industry is one of the most important components of the American economy. As such, it is also one of the most heavily regulated. Trucking companies, delivery companies, and independent trucking contractors must follow all applicable regulations at all times to ensure safe and efficient transportation of goods across the country.
While many trucking companies and drivers work hard to meet regulations pertaining to hours of service and other rules related to driver obligations, it is also important for companies and drivers to understand commercial trucking weight regulations. Every state has unique laws concerning weight limits for tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles.
Why Are Trucking Weight Regulations Important?
Commercial trucks spend more time on the road than most other vehicles. They also sustain more wear-and-tear than typical passenger vehicles, while inflicting more wear-and-tear to the nation’s roads. Heavy trucks tend to wear down roads faster than smaller, lighter vehicles. Trucking weight regulations exist to ensure trucks travel safely on different types of roads. When a truck is too heavy for a particular road, traveling on that road becomes incredibly dangerous.
Colorado, like all other states, provides weight regulations for different types of vehicles. Commercial trucks come in many configurations, most notably their axle configurations. Trucks with sturdier axle configurations can carry larger and heavier loads more safely.
Colorado’s Trucking Weight Regulations
Regulations not only pertain to different types of trucks and their weight limits but also the roads on which these vehicles travel.
- Colorado’s trucking weight limit for single-axle vehicles on interstate roads is 20,000 pounds. This same limit applies to non-interstate road travel.
- The weight limit for tandem-axle trucks is 35,000 pounds for interstate roads and 40,000 pounds for non-interstate roads.
These regulations should provide guidance for trucking companies operating with single-axle and tandem-axle vehicles, but they must also refer to the gross weight limits for interstate and non-interstate road travel. The interstate gross weight limit for trucks is 80,000 pounds, subject to the Federal Bridge Weight Formula, and the non-interstate gross weight limit is 85,000 pounds, subject to the State Bridge Weight Formula.
Vehicles that have triple-axle configurations do not have specific limits, but they cannot exceed gross weight limits. The maximum gross weight for a vehicle depends on the maximum bridge weight for the vehicle in question, or the combination of vehicle and trailer.
Trucking companies and independent truckers should refer to the Federal Bridge Weight Calculator to determine their gross weight limits, and the State Bridge Weight Formula is 1000(Length+40). An example following this formula would be a 20-foot vehicle: 1000(20+40) for a gross weight limit of 60,000 pounds. As long as the vehicle meets applicable axle regulations, the gross weight limit for this vehicle would be 60,000 pounds.
This is just an example of how to process the formula for State Bridge Weight. Trucking companies in Colorado must also refer to the state’s guidelines concerning different types of vehicles, vehicle length, and other variables.
Potential Consequences of Disregarding Colorado Trucking Weight Regulations
Every state issues penalties for exceeding applicable weight limits. Trucking companies and operators must ensure their vehicles meet all applicable regulations and follow all rules referring to weigh station usage and vehicle loading.
An overweight truck is an extreme hazard, as the excess weight of the vehicle will undoubtedly influence acceleration, deceleration, turning accuracy, braking distance, and overall handling of the vehicle. If a trucking accident occurs due to any party failing to abide by applicable weight regulations, the party responsible for any discovered violations would likely absorb liability for the resulting damages.
It is also important for any parties responsible for loading commercial trucks to ensure a balanced load and to use appropriate safety equipment for different types of cargo. If a truck’s load is not properly balanced, the truck is vulnerable to tip-overs, rollovers, jackknifing, and other handling problems that can lead to serious accidents.
If you have sustained injuries and economic losses due to an overweight tractor-trailer, find an attorney who can help you obtain compensation for your losses. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal is available to help if you have questions about a recent trucking accident, so contact us today to schedule a case evaluation.