It is a history almost 100 years old and it keeps to be active nowadays too. Everything started back in 1913 when state of Maine was the first state to introduce weight inspection and rule of maximum allowed weigh of 18.000 pounds was voted.
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State of Maine was not the only one that introduced these kind of rules but was the most harsh one when set the weigh limit to 18.000 pounds. Another three states also followed the rule and most liberal of them was Massachusetts that set the weight limit to maximum 28.000 pounds – almost double the limit os state Maine.
Back in those years 18.000 or 28.000 pounds sounded like a huge weight but that fact should be looked from the perspective that state authorities become aware of these limitations and they started to implement this rules to make some order in the industry.
First quarter of 20th century was really turbulent time for trucking industry where huge part of the industry was used is some ways of illegal activities and state authorities become to realize that in order to control such a huge giant trucking industry is – they need to have rules and regulations that will provide such control.
At the year of 1914. there were almost 100.000 different kind of trucks driving trough the USA and once of sudden in order to control that number government needed to react quickly to protect the road surfaces and poor rural roads. Because of the poor condition of the roads and huge weight of trucks those early trucks most of the time drove in the urban areas such us cities.
By the end of 1920 there were 1 million trucks on the road and now is much easier to realize why these set of rules needed to be implemented.
Now days the situation is similar to the beginning of the truck weigh laws and every state has a weight limit that is set to 80.000 pounds. Of course some exceptions can be made and there are permits available to the trucking companies operating in the field of special transports where custom in size and weight loads were transferred. So 80.000 pounds is the cap for almost every trucking company.
All the regulations and ruled enforced by government and state authorities were introduced only to provide benefits to both trucking companies and general public audience. As the number of trucks started to increase dramatically over the period of years the situation required a lot of attention.
There are multiple benefits from the enforced rules but I will only mention few of them that are the most important ones:
All Vehicles Meet Safety Regulations – having a standard in place for weight in trucking industry improved safety to a high level and in the same time allowed trucking industry to rapidly expand and develop better and more affordable trucks.
All those things are possible just because the maximum weight standard was introduced. Tire manufacturer now were able to go into mass production since there is only few models to make which make production cheaper and create better products. This is a good example how sometimes regulations can help the market development even though in most of the cases it is not helping.
Road protection against excess weigh damage – 100.000 trucks on the road back at the beginning of the 20th century was the reason to implement this rules. The old country road where no asphalt caused a huge damage to the roads especially in winter conditions and in spring and autumn due to heavy rains.
State authorities where losing huge amount of money to fix and repair the roads and that needed to be stopped or at least controlled. Annual state budgets are worth hundreds of billions of dollars and are used to fix and repair public roads and highways are damaged by increased traffic.
It would be even worse if there is no weight limits and truck scales to control those limitations on the road. So every time you see a truck scale on the road side having mind that they are here for our all safety and to avoid road damage and improve our safety.
Reduced possibility for accurate and smooth steering can lead to truck accidents when there a rookie driver behind the wheel. It is very important to have the weight limit set according to the regulations.
Trucking companies operating overweight trucks and are in posses with special permits allowing them to do it need to make sure the always have a really experienced truck driver driving the trucks. Of course in some cases you need to train and educate younger guys but there should be always a senior truck driver to keep an aye and make sure everything is OK.
It is not a science fiction to control those beasts but sure there is some secrets and techniques only experienced drivers know and it is in some complicated cases a matter of art. They are real wizards and dealing with overweight and oversized loads requires experts to handle it.
This is a fact unfortunately that overweight trucks interfere in more crashes compared to the percentage of standard trucks. I would say this happens for reason that this is not the situation that was well planed and prepared.
Usually what happens is that you have a Class truck driver that is on the road for at least 40 days in a row and once of a sudden dispatchers were able to get the load that seems OK but someone at the dock makes a mistake and overloads the trucks.
Add to this equation a tired truck driver and possible inexperienced one and there you go, the chances for something not planned to happen just doubled. And this is how unexpected things happen – there is a lot of small mistakes that lead to one big with serious impact to truck driver and company. Be aware of this situations if you are working with low profile brokers and companies.
Ever since from the beginning of the 20st century when the first trucks scales weight stations started to work in most states Police was in charged for the inspection of the overweight vehicles and it is still in charged to audit the vehicles.
To be 100% correct Police is working together with some of the state authorities such as Motor Carrier Division and some others. This is joint team to work together in providing more control and safer environment for all traffic participants.
It works in a very smart way and there is a procedure how the entire process is being conducted. So I will show a quick overview for those guys who are just beginning their driver career how this works – remember there is nothing to be afraid of.
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