Commercial trucking is an essential component of the California economy, and thousands of communities across the US rely on commercial truck drivers for goods and materials every day. The trucking industry is responsible for ensuring their drivers not only follow traffic laws but also meet strict compliance standards and possess the adequate experience and skill to handle their job duties safely. In addition, trucking companies must also meet strict regulations regarding their vehicles.
Vehicle Weight Is a Critical Concern
One of the most critical concerns for commercial trucking operations is vehicle weight. When a truck has a large order to deliver, they cannot simply pack the trailer to the brim and haul it away. Therefore, it is vital for the parties responsible for loading commercial trucks to keep weight limits in mind. Commercial truck axle weight limits in California for 2022 are managed and enforced by the California Department of Transportation (DOT).
What Are the Weight Limits for Commercial Truck Axles?
According to the DOT’s General Rule 35550, the gross weight limit for a single axle is 20,000 pounds. Similarly, the gross weight limit that can be placed upon a single wheel or wheels on one end of an axle is 10,500 pounds. Therefore, truck drivers must use specialized weigh stations found on highways throughout the country, and check-ins at weigh stations are necessary parts of a truck driver’s responsibilities. These weigh stations ensure the truck is loaded correctly and in compliance with commercial truck axle weight limits in California.
Why Do Weight Limits Exist?
Weight limits exist for several reasons. First, the weight limit ensures the driver can safely handle their vehicle. If a truck is overloaded, the driver may have trouble with handling, and navigating certain types of terrain can be very dangerous. For example, if a truck’s trailer is overloaded and the truck must proceed downhill, the excess weight could make braking very difficult, and the driver could lose control of the truck. Additionally, excess weight in commercial trucks may damage some road surfaces, leading to accidents and creating hazards for other drivers.
Trucking companies need to understand the importance of weight limits. Adhering to these limits prevents liability for accidents, keeps drivers safer, and preserves the viability of their trucks. An overloaded truck will struggle to manage an overloaded trailer, which can tax the truck’s internal mechanics in several ways. Therefore, failure to adhere to axle weight limits can damage commercial vehicles and lead to fines and liability for any accidents overladen trucks cause.
What Happens If I Experience an Accident Due to an Overloaded Truck?
If you or a loved one is injured in a truck accident and learns that the truck violated California’s commercial truck axle weight limits, one or more parties can bear fault for the incident. If the company that employed the truck driver allowed the truck to leave one of its facilities knowing the truck did not comply with these weight limit rules, the trucking company could absorb liability for your damages. Truck drivers aren’t always involved in loading their trailers, so the driver involved in your accident could be as much of a victim of the situation as you are.
Your Attorney Can Help You Determine Liability
If you are hurt in a truck accident, an experienced attorney is the best resource you can consult to determine the most effective approach to recovery for your damages. Your legal team will help you determine liability and assist you in gathering the evidence necessary for succeeding with your claim. They can also help you establish the full range of damages you are entitled to claim in your civil action, potentially uncovering compensation you may have overlooked.
Q: What Is the Weight Limit Per Axles on a Semi?
A: California state and federal law place a 20,000-pound limit on weight per axle for semi-trucks. Other types of commercial vehicles have different axle weight limits and maximum vehicle weight limits. Therefore, it’s essential for commercial shipping companies to carefully follow these weight limits to minimize the chances of accidents.
Q: What Is the Total Legal Weight Limit for a Truck in California?
A: California enforces a total truck weight limit of 80,000 pounds. The truck’s total weight cannot exceed this amount, and the truck must also meet the per-axle weight limit of no more than 20,000 pounds per axle. Trucking companies have various options for ensuring their vehicles meet these weight limits.
Q: How Much Weight Is Allowed on the Steer Axle of a Truck in California?
A: The steer axle is the central positioning axle used to guide the vehicle. This axle turns as the driver adjusts the steering wheel, guiding the other axles into alignment so the truck can perform turns and follow curves on the road. California limits the weight on top of steering axles to 12,500 pounds. However, many commercial vehicles and specialized construction vehicles are exempt from this restriction.
Q: How Long Does It Take to Settle a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
A: If you intend to file a civil claim in response to your recent truck accident, it’s natural to wonder how long the case will take to resolve. Depending on the strength of your evidence and whether the defendant accepts liability, your case may take several weeks or several months to conclude. Civil claims take much longer to resolve when they proceed to litigation.
Chris and Frank’s team of experienced personal injury attorneys serve clients throughout Southern California. We understand how difficult it can be to approach a truck accident claim and the challenges victims of truck accidents face as they work toward recovery from their damages. If you or a loved one was recently injured because a trucking company or other party failed to adhere to California’s commercial truck axle weight limits, we can help you hold them accountable. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney and learn more about your legal options in this challenging situation.