Maximum Shipper Weight

Topic 28054 | Page 1

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Sharon C.'s Comment
member avatar

I pull a 53-foot dry van trailer... I know the total weight cannot be more than 80,000 lb. But, when going to the shipper and I look at their weight on the paperwork how do I know if it's going to be over? What is the maximum total weight on the paperwork that will keep me legal. Thank you.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Sharon, the math is fairly simple. The next time you have an empty trailer go fill your fuel tanks and weigh your truck and trailer together. For our example let's just say it weighs 35,000 pounds.

Okay here's the math:

80,000 - 35,000 = 45,000

That tells you that you can't put over 45,000 pounds in the trailer.

We've got some excellent teaching tools about weights and balances in our High Road CDL Training Program. You really should go through that section. It will help you earn a lot more money out here by not wasting time on getting your loads balanced.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Sharon C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you. I picked up a load that is heavier than any load I've ever carried before and of course in the area of Vermont I picked up at there isn't a scale around anywhere.... Just concerned about my load....I don't want an overload ticket but some of these areas are just vacant of scales...and yes I will definitely do that next time I'm empty... And I will check out the information tools

Sharon, the math is fairly simple. The next time you have an empty trailer go fill your fuel tanks and weigh your truck and trailer together. For our example let's just say it weighs 35,000 pounds.

Okay here's the math:

80,000 - 35,000 = 45,000

That tells you that you can't put over 45,000 pounds in the trailer.

We've got some excellent teaching tools about weights and balances in our High Road CDL Training Program. You really should go through that section. It will help you earn a lot more money out here by not wasting time on getting your loads balanced.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

The empty weight of the tractor or trailer should be listed on the registration paperwork.

Add those two weights, plus the total weight shown on the BOL. This should be under 80,000.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

This is what a maximum load looks like on a Cat scale ticket. The 45,415 is the B/L listed weight. So use Old School's arithmetic.

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CAT Scale:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

Wild-Bill's Comment
member avatar

Errol, your ticket shows just over 34,000 on the drives and trailer. Is that kosher? I thought 34,000 per tandem is the absolute max. Would the extra 120 lbs on the drive risk a ticket? Or is there a little leeway? I know there’s an exemption for the drives on a refer in some states.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

W-Bill asks:

Errol, your ticket shows just over 34,000 on the drives and trailer. Is that kosher? I thought 34,000 per tandem is the absolute max. Would the extra 120 lbs on the drive risk a ticket? Or is there a little leeway? I know there’s an exemption for the drives on a refer in some states.

You are correct. However, three things:

  • #1, I didn't want to move the 5th wheel forward.
  • #2, like driving 52mph in a 45 zone, chances are slim you'll be caught. I have been waved through a scale before with one axle over but the total was less than 80K.
  • #3, I knew they was no scale houses between the shipper and the destination. So my calculation was I'll go for it.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Also I know that freightliner cascadias with an apu can be 400 pounds over anywhere on the tractor (so steers or drives) as long as you're not over gross. I have a certificate that came with my truck that states this DOT exemption. I keep that in my permit book. States don't necessarily have to honor it, but in my experience, they do.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

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