Whenever an extremely large load needs to be transported, you can bet that a heavy haul trucking company is enlisted to take on the job. These companies specialize in moving large pieces of equipment, massive pieces of construction material and anything else that a normal truck and trailer can’t handle. Unlike other trucking companies, however, they can’t just load and go, they need to obtain special permits, in addition to the standard requirements, before they can begin the journey.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) requires every trucking company that is engaged in intrastate commerce be registered. They must also obtain a USDOT number which identifies them and allows governing bodies to monitor their safety records. What’s more, some states require that trucking companies obtain a state DOT number. These basic requirements pertain to all companies, regardless if they haul heavy loads, or not.
An over-size permit is required when cargo is transported across state lines when the load exceeds the legal height, width, or length limits for each state. These permits describe the prescribed route the truck is to travel as well as areas that are to be avoided. These are one-time permits that are only issued for a short period of time, meaning a new permit must be obtained for each load of cargo that is considered over-sized. While these types of permits are issued at the state level, specific permits may also be required by county, city, or municipality.
Regulations regarding the maximum weight of a truck and trailer state that it cannot exceed a total of 80,000 pounds without obtaining an overweight permit. However, states do have the right to set their own limits, and often do. In order to avoid delays, fines and penalties, it’s imperative that a trucking company is aware of and follows the rules for each state they transport cargo through. What’s more, there are often weight limits on seasonal roads, bridges and sometimes even local restrictions on weight. The reason for these rules is to protect the roadways and other infrastructure from damage.
Some may think that the government, on the federal and state levels, is too involved with the trucking industry, however, there are good reasons for the rules set forth. First, and foremost, rules help keep all motorists on the nation’s roads safe. Secondly, it provides a means by which regulatory bodies can monitor the operations of companies to ensure that they do not cause excessive damage to roads, bridges, overpasses and other structures.