What's an Overweight Load?

What’s an Overweight Load?

July 31, 2020

For most heavy equipment, pre-built homes or buildings and other oversized or overweight items, truck and train transportation is unavoidable. Knowing whether your load is either oversized, overweight or both will help you get an idea of what kind of transportation service you’ll be able to get.

Hauling overweight loads in North Charleston, SC is regulated by state and federal permits. Read on for an overview of what goes into transporting overweight loads.

What is an overweight load?

Overweight loads aren’t necessarily oversized loads, but they can be. Overweight loads simply mean that the weight exceeds the regulations for that type of truck, whether they have single or tandem axles. Generally, overweight loads are anything that exceeds 80,000 pounds.

Overweight loads are regulated because driving with such a heavy load is apt to damage roads. It may also be a safety hazard when going over bridges and other structures that weren’t designed to handle that much weight.

What is an oversized load?

Oversized loads are anything wider or longer than a truck bed—they’re instantly recognizable because oversized loads require the driver or trucking company to use warning lights, flags and other safety gear to caution other drivers. Oversized loads do not necessarily mean they’re overweight, but they often are.

It’s important to know whether your load is overweight, oversized or both so that you can follow the appropriate safety standards when hauling freight. Size and weight will also determine the cost of hauling that freight in North Charleston, SC and elsewhere.

Who regulates overweight load transportation?

Both state and federal governments regulate overweight load transportation. The federal government provides rules for overweight load transportation through the Federal Highway Administration and the Code of Federal Regulations, but enforcing these rules is up to each state’s local highway patrol and other organizations.

States also have their own regulations for both federal highways and local roads. States must ensure that commercial transportation in their state adheres with the federal laws, but since their own roads may not be built to federal standards, they have the authority to regulate overweight loads even further. Often, this requires applying for permits to move overweight loads on state highways and local roads, so it’s important to know the rules in each state that your freight will move through, as this will affect timing and the route taken.

Why are overweight loads heavily regulated?

In addition to the potential to damage roads, there are plenty of reasons that overweight loads are regulated. Many industries need to haul overweight loads, including the government itself—for example, military equipment often needs to travel throughout and in between states.

Citizen drivers also have a vested interest in regulating overweight (and oversized) loads, since it directly affects roads, safety standards and driving time. State and local authorities have a vested interest in keeping their residents and roads as safe as possible.

Understanding how your freight is regulated is key to successful transportation. To learn more about hauling overweight loads or state and international regulation permits in North Charleston, SC, call All Points Transport today.

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