How to Avoid Truck Overweight Fines

overweight truck

Doesn’t matter what goods you are transferring, whether it’s short or long-haul transportation, you should always be cautious not to overweight your truck, since most of the time you will be the one that will have to pay the fine, and furthermore a fine can permanently damage the reputation of the driver and the company. So make sure you prepare before every trip since it’s always better to prevent a loss than mend the consequences afterward.

Why Owners and Drivers Should Follow the Rules

Most rules out there seem, at a first glance, that they are there just to make your life harder, but they are there for a reason, and by following them you will have fewer headaches in the long run. Driving an overweight truck doesn’t only damage the road, but it can also damage your vehicle. Too much weight can put too much strain on the axles and damage them, if you need to break suddenly it will be much harder, if at all possible, to stop in time to avoid a collision, the tires might blowout, there is a much bigger risk of rolling over, and the list goes on. So whenever possible avoid overweighting your truck, and if it’s unavoidable, contact the shipper to make sure that they will cover the fine if they know that they overloaded your truck.

How to Avoid Overweight Fines

Purchase Your Own Weighing Device

Investing in onboard scales lets you be in full control of the overweighting issue. It’s a great bonus security level, and in the long run, it can save you a lot of money and stress, since the fines can go up to a few thousand dollars, and if you break the law subsequently you can lose your license or even have to serve jail time, depending of the amount of weight that is above limits, and depending on the laws of the state you are in.

Watch Out For Fuel Weight

Another thing to take into account is fuel weight.  Sometimes this can get overlooked, but depending on the volume of the fuel tank, a full tank can significantly affect the total weight of the truck. If you are near the limits of the amount of weight you can carry, don’t fill the tank to the top and carefully plan out your route so you can make frequent gas stops.

Apply For an Overweight Permit

Even if you take all the safety steps and preparations, sometimes you won’t be able to avoid getting fined. If this is happening regularly, it might be a good time to apply for an overweight permit. The legal limits for a vehicle’s size and weight are 80,000 pounds, 53’ long, 13½’ high, and 8½’ wide. If your vehicle exceeds those numbers, it’s likely overweight or hauling an oversize load. But because the regulations aren’t the same in every state, contact the local government for more information on obtaining your permit.

Take a Longer Alternate Route

If you have any doubts that you are overweight, and you don’t have a scale on board to confirm or refute your doubts, it’s best not to take the fastest, but the safest route. If you know where the stationary weigh stations are, avoid them if possible. If not, do not refill your fuel before the weighing station, and try keeping the fuel at a bare minimum. Also, keep in mind that officials can carry portable scales as well, so even if you avoid a weighing station, you still might not get away with it. It’s also very important when making alternate routes, that you stay on the roads that are legal for heavy trucks since you can get a double fine and really hurt your reputation and your wallet.

overweight fines

Make Sure Your Cargo Doesn’t Shift

Prior to heading out on the road, it is very important to check if the cargo is well secured. Make sure you use all the required tools to keep your cargo in place, like straps, tarps, and ties. Loose cargo is a safety hazard for you and your truck, as well as for the road and other drivers. Uneven distribution or shifting of the cargo can cause serious damage to your axles and the trailer. So aside from having to pay for the repairs caused by the cargo that wasn’t well secured, you can also get additional fines if you get pulled over.

Interested in joining our team?

We are always on the lookout for regional and OTR CDL Class A truck drivers. About 90% of our vehicles are newer trucks and trailers (2022 and 2023) available for lease to rent and own. If you want to be a part of the Nice Guys LLC team, contact us and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.


David Kabic - Operations Manager at Nice Guys LLC

David has gained extensive knowledge and experience in the trucking industry while driving and working as a fleet manager for over six years and counting.