Find out how to Keep Your Truck’s Gross Weight Compliance

This submit is a part of a sequence sponsored by IAT Insurance coverage Group.

Lots of the prime points dealing with the trucking business this yr all roll up into one prime supply: the financial system.[1]

In 2022, the price of working within the trucking business reached a 15-year excessive, with the price of working a single truck reaching $2.251 per mile and a mean $90.78 per hour.[2] Whereas the driving force scarcity is down for the second straight yr, to about 60,000 within the second half of 2023, the underlying issues driving this market proceed.[3] Lengthy work hours, aggressive pay and driver {qualifications} stay prime of thoughts issues, and because the variety of job alternatives for drivers is on the decline post-pandemic, the funding to enhance these areas is scarce.

These tendencies are compelling causes for fleet homeowners to discover revolutionary methods to chop bills. Nonetheless, issues heighten when the fallacious corners are reduce.

To navigate this pressure and ease the hiring course of, a rising variety of fleets are shopping for or utilizing vehicles which might be beneath the burden threshold that requires the operator to carry a business driver’s license (CDL), thereby increasing the pool of drivers and often accessible at decrease pay. Some fleets might also achieve this to keep away from the various regulatory necessities for CDL certified drivers and their employers, together with however not restricted to drug and alcohol testing.

Some firms are going so far as modifying vehicles to change their goal and keep away from CDL compliance necessities.

Points come up when the precise gross weight of a truck is just not considered. Gross Car Weight Score (GVWR) is a vital security metric representing the utmost loaded weight of a automobile or trailer as decided by the producer, encompassing not solely the burden of passengers and cargo but in addition the automobile itself.

In accordance with federal laws, if a automobile has a GVWR of 26,000 kilos or much less, the operator is just not required to own CDL, however this exemption doesn’t authorize loading the truck past the desired GVWR and having it operated by a non-CDL driver. Any truck weighing 26,000 kilos and above requires a CDL to function,[4] no matter whether or not the truck is designed for it or at what weight it’s registered.

The 26,000-pound rule creates regulatory grey areas, particularly for transferring and storage fleets, the place the burden of the products being transported is tough to precisely decide. Within the occasion of a crash, even when it’s not the fleet’s fault, legal responsibility could fall on the fleet if the driving force lacks the correct licensing.

5 finest practices for guaranteeing compliance with CDL laws

Navigating the laws surrounding CDLs in a difficult financial system requires a steadiness between cost-saving measures and accountable fleet administration. Noncompliance with CDL laws can have extreme long-term monetary and reputational penalties. To safeguard your fleet’s success, comply with these 5 finest practices for prioritizing compliance.

  1. Deal with not overloading. Prepare drivers to acknowledge what constitutes a full load inside the limits of their automobile’s GVW and CDL {qualifications} and search for alternatives to acquire correct weight readings from licensed scales earlier than embarking on a visit. Each the driving force and the estimator chargeable for price and run estimates should be vigilant through the preliminary evaluation of the load. When estimating necessities for a transfer, the estimator ought to contemplate the variety of vehicles wanted to soundly transport the products with out overloading.
  2. Weigh vehicles early in journey. Encourage drivers to have vehicles weighed early of their journey, ideally at licensed scales accessible at truck stops earlier than arriving at DOT weigh stations. Being proactive permits for the identification of potential overloads earlier than reaching the purpose of inspection. Drivers can then take obligatory actions to treatment any obese, akin to redistributing the load or eradicating extra weight.
  3. When unsure, ship a second truck. Err on the aspect of warning when there’s uncertainty concerning the load approaching its restrict. Within the occasion of a roadside inspection, authorities could require sending one other truck to alleviate the load. Whereas this incurs minor prices, the potential penalties of not complying, together with reputational injury, fines and insurance coverage problems, far outweigh the preliminary funding.
  4. Spend money on CDL-required vehicles and rent certified drivers. Whereas this will likely incur greater preliminary prices, it considerably reduces the chance of authorized problems and legal responsibility in case of accidents. The expense of buying CDL-required vehicles is a prudent funding in guaranteeing compliance, security and safety towards potential monetary and reputational losses.
  5. Prioritize ongoing schooling for drivers. Equip drivers with data on authorized limits, security protocols and the potential results of non-compliance on their data and the fleet’s fame. Know the precise weight of your truck empty however absolutely fueled. An knowledgeable driver is extra prone to make accountable choices on the street, contributing to a tradition of compliance, security and professionalism inside the fleet.


Have a query on easy methods to mitigate danger? E mail for an opportunity to see your query answered in a future weblog.

By Jaden Tareta and Christopher Parker

[1] American Transportation Analysis Institute “Important points within the Trucking Trade – 2023,” October 2023.

[2] American Transportation Analysis Institute “An Evaluation of the Operational Prices of Trucking: 2023 Replace,” June 2023.

[3] TruckingDive “Trusting driver scarcity falls considerably to 60K, ATA experiences,” October 16, 2023.

[4] U.S. Division of Transportation “Business Motor Car Driver,” March 30, 2021.


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