Commercial truck weight limits and regulations are imposed by the state of Indiana. Drivers who operate tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, big rigs, and other commercial-sized vehicles are subject to regulations and rules due to the additional risk they carry.

Drivers violating any of the Indiana regulations can be subjected to penalties imposed by the state. If any violation leads to a collision, an injured victim can hold the driver and, oftentimes, the trucking company liable for the damages they suffer.

If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident, a dedicated Indiana truck accident attorney from Wagner Reese, LLP can help you seek the compensation you rightfully deserve. Our lawyers have been recognized across the state by prestigious organizations for the stellar representation offered to their clients. Nationwide, a small percentage of practicing legal professionals are recognized by the Rising Stars or Super Lawyers® list, and eight of our attorneys were chosen in 2020 alone. Our law firm was established by Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese in 2000, and we remain committed to providing Indiana injury victims with dedication and excellence in legal counsel.

Semi Truck in a Port Getting Loaded with a Container

Understanding Commercial Truck Weight Limit Regulations

Indiana requires commercial truck drivers to have the right qualifications and appropriate licensing before operating 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles. A commercial driver’s license (CDL) must be obtained by anyone wishing to drive a commercial vehicle in Indiana. Semi-truck drivers are also required to obtain a class A CDL.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the requirements for obtaining a CDL license. Drivers must satisfy the entry-level driver training (ELDT) regulations enacted by the FMCSA. Drivers must also pass a skills test and a vision test, undergo state minimum training, and pass a vehicle inspection test.

Size and Weight Limits

Certain limitations are set by Indiana law regarding the size and weight of commercial vehicles. The following lists the maximum weight limits:

  • Maximum gross weight- 80,000 lbs
  • Maximum single axle weight- 20,000 lbs
  • Maximum tandem axle weight- 34,000 lbs
  • Maximum tri-axle weight- 50,000 lbs
  • Maximum wheel weight- 800 lbs per inch of tire width

There are size limits that a truck must adhere to. Size limits generally include a maximum length of 50 feet, a maximum width of 8’6”, and a maximum height of 13’6”.

Common Penalties for Exceeding Weight Limits

The legal implications of exceeding commercial truck weight limits between 1,000 and 5,000 lbs can result in a fine of $500 and is a Class C Infraction.

Violations of weight limits between 5,000 lbs but less than 10,000 lbs can result in a fine of $1,000 and are a Class B Infraction.

A Class A Infraction is for a weight violation exceeding 10,000 pounds and results in a fine of $5,000.

Legal Responsibilities of Trucking Companies

In most situations, a trucking company is liable for a collision associated with oversized and overweight vehicles. Any violation of undersized and oversized loads will be used as evidence in a truck accident case by the victim’s insurance company. Even if the driver was acting in a responsible manner, the trucking company can be held liable if there was no permit obtained for the overweight or oversized vehicle.

The trucking company is responsible for ensuring compliance with commercial truck weight limits and thoroughly and properly training all new drivers. The trucking company must properly document every load, and pull required permits when necessary. Without having proper documentation, the trucking company is placing itself at risk for hefty fines and legal penalties.

The Impact of Weight Limit Violations on Road Safety

Truck limits are for the safety of all vehicles on the road. A truck carrying too much cargo can create challenges for even the most skilled commercial truck driver. Overloading a semi-truck can create several risks, including:

  • Causing the truck to accelerate when going downhill
  • Creating an imbalance that affects the steering
  • Raising the center of gravity of the semi-truck, leading to a potential rollover
  • Putting extra pressure on the truck’s tires, leading to a potential tire blowout
  • Preventing the truck driver from properly calculating an accurate stopping distance
  • Causing cargo to fall onto the road, potentially leading to a secondary accident

Tips for Maintaining Compliance with Weight Limit Regulations

Several different technologies and techniques exist to ensure truckers comply with gross weight limits. Some of these methods include:

  • Weigh stations: Trucks are directed to enter these dedicated facilities to undergo a weighing process. Weigh stations can be mobile or static and use either overhead sensors or scales installed on the ground to measure the weight of the truck.
  • Onboard weighing systems: Load cell systems are installed in the truck, providing real-time truck weight measurements. These onboard systems are generally installed on the suspension or axles of the truck and utilize load cells for measurement of weight distribution.
  • Portable Weigh-in-Motion (WIM) Systems: WIM systems use embedded sensors in the road to measure a truck’s weight as it travels over it without needing the vehicle to stop. These systems accurately measure a truck’s gross weight and identify weight distribution, speed, and axle loads.

Semi driving on a normal road

The Role of Wagner Reese, LLP in Representing Clients in Commercial Truck Cases

Wagner Reese, LLP’s expertise in handling commercial truck weight limit cases shines through our proven track record of success for our injured clients who have taken on the insurance companies of negligent truck companies. You need an aggressive, dedicated attorney who knows Indiana’s commercial truck laws and regulations. Our firm is the nation’s leader in commercial truck weight limit cases, and we are ready to fight for your legal rights. Call us today or reach us online via our quick contact form.