Last year, the Rhode Island State Police issued a $57,000 fine against Bay Crane Northeast for carrying seven times the maximum load on a flatbed truck. Rhode Island has one of the highest fines for overweight tickets in the nation. A truck company can be fined $65 per pound for overweight loads up to 10,000 pounds. After 10,000 pounds overloaded, the fine increases to $125/pound.
State laws vary throughout the country. Many states only charge a few pennies per pound when the load is overweight. Oversize.io lists overweight fines and penalties by state, and at first glance the fines in the table appear nominal, but the hidden penalties that come with paying a fine is where it starts to add up. “For example, the table for California shows that if the actual weight is up to 1,000 pounds over the maximum legal gross weight, there will be a fine of $20. In fact, that $20-dollar ticket will probably cost closer to $175.00 after the state adds all the various “penalty assessments” (PAs) and “court costs.”
Just a few examples of fines and penalties in some states –
- Oklahoma – $208.90 fine for 0 to 2,000 pounds overweight
- Indiana – the actual fine is about $40, but where you’ll pay is in court costs. The vehicle registration and driver’s license may also be suspended, which is costly to get back.
- West Virginia – an out-of-state vehicle can be impounded, plus there are fees for being overweight.
- Texas – the first offense is a fine of up to $150. The second and third offenses tack on jail time of 60 days and six months, respectively.
- New Jersey – not only will you have a fine, but the company will be responsible for any damage done to a bridge.
While some states don’t fine as much as others, in general there is always a level of “court costs” and added fees that are going to increase the original cost of a fine. The added costs are not always as obvious but usually end up being the most expensive part of an overweight fine. Multiple offenses can even lead to jail time and loss of a CDL, possibly costing a driver their livelihood. “In most states, operating an overloaded truck is categorized as a misdemeanor. Several states, including Massachusetts and New York, do not classify violations of overweight operations as a criminal offense. They do, however, impose hefty civil fines.”
A solution to avoiding overweight fines is knowing the weight of a vehicle at the loading site. On-board scales allow a driver to see individual axle group and gross vehicle weights in real time right in the cab of the vehicle while it’s being loaded, giving a driver peace of mind that overweight fines won’t be waiting for them down the road.
To learn more about Air-Weigh on-board scales, visit www.Air-Weigh.com.