The trucking industry is the backbone of the United States. Without truckers driving our supply chain, life as we know it could not function. Unfortunately, trucking remains one of the most underappreciated and heavily regulated jobs in the country.
Weight, in particular, can be a major issue for the trucking industry. An overweight vehicle is not only dangerous for the trucker and other drivers on the road but also costly for the fleet.
The Costs of an Overweight Load
In an ideal world, everything is done by the book and above the board, with no corners cut. In reality, the world is far from ideal. Accidents happen, be it a miscalculation or an uncalibrated scale. Sometimes, the “accident” may happen due to maintaining a delivery schedule. Whatever the reason, driving with an overweight load can have disastrous consequences.
Here are some of the biggest concerns to keep in mind regarding overweight loads:
Drivers can face harsh penalties: Depending on how overloaded the vehicle is, the driver runs the risk of having their CDL suspended or even revoked. In some states, drivers of overweight vehicles could also serve jail time upwards of two months. This can be ruinous for independent operators and smaller trucking companies that don’t have any drivers to spare.
Overweight Vehicles carry Stiff Fines: While it will vary from state to state, overweight vehicles can be fined for every increment (typically 500lbs) over the state allowed maximum. In the case of Rhode Island, the fine is charged per pound. To complicate the matter, fines can be doubled in certain areas or for repeat offenses, and none of this takes into account the legal fees and court costs incurred from the violation.
Missed Delivery Windows: With the supply chain strained as it is, missing a delivery window can create a colossal mess. Many weigh stations will force drivers to cease operations of an overweight truck. Not only do the fines cost money, but the time it takes for another truck to arrive to unload the excess weight will ruin delivery timetables in addition to tying up another truck.
Damaged Reputation and Customer Relations: With the advent of technology and the interconnection of everything, most companies will live or die by their reputation. Missing a delivery time due to a weather event is decidedly more understandable (and forgivable) than missing a delivery due to an overweight load.
The Real Danger of an Overweight Load
Fines are an annoyance, to be sure, and in some instances, can ruin a company outright. However, the real issue with overweight loads is that they are dangerous. There are almost 4,000 deaths every year due to big rig accidents, according to statistics released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The heavier a vehicle is, the harder to control it becomes, especially in instances of inclement weather. Heavy trucks can jackknife or roll over in conditions that would otherwise be safe with a lighter load. Additionally, overweight trucks take much longer to stop, making it very hazardous for passenger vehicles on the highway.
There is also vehicle wear and tear to consider. Brakes, tires, and axles are designed to take a beating, especially for commercial vehicles, but overloading can push them past their limits. Overweight trucks are more likely to blow out tires, snap an axle, or suffer from brake failures due to the excess weight.
How to Avoid an Overweight Vehicle
All of the problems listed above can be avoided easily enough by knowing the weight of a vehicle at the loading site. Using an on-board scale system allows a driver to see each suspension group and gross vehicle weights in real-time, right from the cab or via smart device apps, as the vehicle is being loaded. No more doubts or guessing as to how much weight is being carried or loaded. Just think of the peace of mind that comes from knowing there are no hidden surprises down the road.
Air-Weigh’s weight solutions include on-board scales for trucks, tractors and trailers. Drop and hook as well as dedicated options, for whatever you haul and load. Because Air-Weigh is all about efficiency tools, we also offer advanced communication capabilities with our 3rd party integrations to telematics. Not only do drivers have the data they need at their fingertips in the field and loading dock, but fleet managers can view weights in the back office and help make educated business decisions faster.
Since our founding in 1987, Air-Weigh has led the industry with patented, electronic on-board weighing technology. Air-Weigh innovative on-board electronic weighing solutions are known for accuracy and toughness. We provide solutions for both trucks and trailers with mechanical or air suspensions and a comprehensive product line of scales. With expertise in advanced on-board scale communications, we offer a complete vehicle weighing system that will help reduce costs, improve efficiency and maximize profitability.
Air-Weigh is more than a manufacturer of on-board scales for all sizes and types of trucks and trailers. We have fostered a relationship with a number of industry leaders to ensure we provide our customers with every possible benefit and advantage modern technology can offer.
Our company is built upon the desire to make loading a vehicle easy and efficient. That’s why we have created technologies for the transportation industry that measurably increase profitability, efficiency, and safety. Our scales allow drivers to get from A to B rapidly and without over or under loading concerns, enabling fleet managers to utilize their trucks efficiently and profitably.