Does the Government Place Weight & Size Restrictions on Trucks?

Yes. In the 1950’s, the authorization of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways created a federal interest in building and preserving a national system of interstate highways.

Today, interstate highways comprises an approximate 40,000 mile system of limited access, divided highways that span the country.; As part of the goal of preservation and maintenance of this highway system, the Federal Government has enacted commercial vehicle standards that regulate the size and weight of commercial motor vehicles that travel on the interstate highways.

These regulations provide the following restrictions:; Single Axle vehicles: 20,000 pounds Tandem Axle vehicles: 34,000 pounds Gross Vehicle weight: 80,000 pounds; In addition to the foregoing, in 1975 a formula was introduced to reduce the risk of damage to highway bridges by requiring more axles or a longer wheel base to compensate for increased vehicle weight.; The size of commercial motor vehicles is also limited in some instances.

Although there is no federal length limit imposed on most truck tractor-semitrailers, there are exceptions for tractor trailers designed and used specifically to carry automobiles and boats in specifically designed racks.

These vehicles may not exceed a maximum overall vehicle length of 65 feet or 75 feet depending on the type of connection between the tractor and trailer.; Federal law also provides that no state may impose a length limitation of less than 48 feet (unless governed by a grandfather clause) on a semitrailer operating in any truck tractor-semitrailer combination on the national network of highways.

Similarly, federal law prohibits states from imposing a length limitation of less than 28 feet on a semitrailer or trailer operating in a truck tractor (twin trailer) combination.; With respect to width, no state can impose a limitation of more or less than 102 inches. Safety devices like mirrors may not be included in this calculation. Federal law does not impose a height limit. State standards range from 13.6 feet to 14.6 feet.