Excess weight on a truck can have various implications for drivers, the company, and even the vehicle itself.
The significance of a truck’s weight is often underestimated. An overloaded truck poses significant risks, from jeopardizing operational safety to affecting overall efficiency.
Excessive weight on a truck can lead to diverse consequences for drivers, the company, and even the vehicle itself. Safety is the top priority, as adherence to established laws ensures safe and efficient driving. Here are reasons to avoid overloading trucks:
Safety and Maintenance
Excess weight in trucks is closely tied to safety, overloading tires and brakes can increase the risk of breakdowns. Issues such as tire contact with the chassis or suspension can result in blowouts, suspension spring breakage, and compromised truck stability, making control challenging.
Truck overweight not only causes damage to infrastructure but also requires a longer braking distance, increasing the chances of rollovers. Over time, additional pressure on structural components can lead to premature failures, raising the risk of roadside breakdowns and escalating maintenance costs.
Proper weight distribution is essential, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes standards for cargo securement. These include firm immobilization through structures of adequate strength, stowage materials, stowage bags, bracing bars, tie-downs, or combinations of these.
According to regulations, at least one tie-down is required for items under five feet in length and less than 1,100 pounds. For items of five feet or less with over 1,100 pounds, or from five to 10 feet in length, two tie-downs are needed, with an additional tie-down for every additional 10 feet.
Overloading trucks can also be costly. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported 44,790 violations for excess weight and 25,703 violations for dimensions during roadside inspections in 2022. Fines can range from $45 to $18,000.
Overweight loads can reduce the equipment’s lifespan, contributing to the total cost of ownership. Additionally, trucks with excess weight require more energy to move and maintain speed, resulting in higher fuel costs.
Moreover, the frequent citation of companies for safety issues related to equipment overloading can lead to increased insurance costs, according to the 2023 Operational Cost of Trucking Report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).
Drivers should weigh their loads for various reasons, including ensuring compliance with local legislation and verifying weights for billing purposes. Adherence to weight limits will provide benefits for both companies and employees, helping to prevent future issues or accidents.
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