While various states enforce different commercial motor vehicle lengths and weights, federal trucking regulations also restrict the size and weight of a truck to a weight of no more than 80,000 pounds and no more than 102 inches wide and 14.6 feet tall. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association contain regulations that might be less than an individual state’s height and weight restrictions, which means that even if a driver complies with federal regulations the driver still might not be able to operate the commercial motor vehicle in the state. Despite these listed requirements, commercial motor vehicles may still obtain special issue permits to travel even though the vehicle in question might be longer, wider, or taller than the standard. This article will explore the reason behind federal height and weight restrictions for commercial motor vehicles.

Why Are the Restrictions in Place?

There are several reasons why federal regulations exist regarding the dimensions of a commercial motor vehicle. The Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas at Austin has released a report discusses the various safety concerns that arise from vehicles that do not meet federal size restrictions. Some of the most common reasons why the restrictions regarding weight and size limits are in place for commercial motor vehicles.

  • Fitting onto Roads. Vehicles that are over a certain height might also have a difficult time traveling on roads and passing below certain overpasses and fitting into tunnels. In these types of situations, a commercial motor vehicle might shear off the top part of the vehicle while trying to travel underneath a barrier that is too low for the exceptionally high commercial motor vehicle.
  • Larger commercial motor vehicles are much less stable than smaller vehicles, which in turn means that commercial motor vehicles of greater size are more inclined to become involved in serious accidents due to loss of control like rollovers.
  • Sudden or Unexpected Maneuvering. Larger vehicles are also harder to stop or control suddenly, which can lead to an increase in the number of commercial motor vehicle accidents because the vehicles are unable to stop when dangerous conditions rise suddenly on the road.
  • Tire Pressure.Not to mention, the additional stress placed on a commercial motor vehicle by increased size and weight can cause greater stress on tires, which might break while the vehicle is being operated. Tire blowouts can lead to a variety of serious commercial motor vehicle accident including rollovers.

What are the Consequences of Violations?

An individual who is caught driving a vehicle that fails to conform to federal weight and size restrictions will face fines that will vary based upon the physical dimensions of the commercial motor vehicles. The most unfortunate part of accidents that occur due to size and weight violations are that these accidents are entirely avoidable.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, contact our law firm. Call 409-838-1000 or email our lawyers to schedule your free initial consultation