Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations
photos of truck, cargo ship, airplane and freight train
Office of Operations  -  21st century operations using 21st century technologies

State Information on Citation and Civil Assessments Issued for Overweight Violations

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) policy is that each State enforce vehicle size and weight laws to assure that violations are discouraged and that vehicles traversing the highway system do not exceed the limits specified by law. These size and weight limits are based upon design specifications and safety considerations, and enforcement shall be developed and maintained both to prevent premature deterioration of the highway pavement and structures and to provide a safe driving environment (23 CFR § 657.5).

Each State shall certify to the Federal Highway Administrator, before January 1 of each year, that it is enforcing all State laws respecting maximum vehicle size and weight permitted on what, prior to October 1, 1991, were the Federal-aid Primary, Secondary, and Urban Systems, including the Interstate System, in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 127. The States must also certify that they are enforcing and complying with the ISTEA freeze on the use of Longer Combination Vehicle's (LCV's) and other multi-unit vehicles. The certification shall be supported by information on activities and results achieved during the preceding 12-month period ending on September 30 of each year (23 CFR § 657.13).

In their certification to FHWA the States submit measures of activity, including penalties. Penalties reported include the number of citations or civil assessments issued for violations of each of the following: Axle, gross and bridge formula weight limits. The number of vehicles whose loads are either shifted or offloaded must also be reported (23 CFR § 657.15(f)(3)(ii)).

The following are the Federally mandated maximum weights for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways and reasonable access thereto:
1) 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight
2) 20,000 pound single axle weight*
3) 34,000 pound tandem axle weight**
4) Bridge Formula***

*Single axle weight: Total weight transmitted to the road by all wheels whose centers may be included between two parallel transverse vertical planes 40 inches apart, extending across the full width of the vehicle.
**Tandem axle weight: Total weight transmitted to the road by two or more consecutive axles whose centers may be included between parallel transverse vertical planes spaced more than 40 inches and not more than 96 inches apart, extending across the full width of the vehicle.
***Federal bridge formula: Focuses on cargo placement and effects on axle loading. It applies when the gross weight on two or more consecutive axles exceeds the limitations of the formula. The bridge formula may reduce otherwise legal gross vehicle weight (For more information on the Federal Bridge Formula see 23 CFR § 658.17(e) or the FHWA Publication Bridge Formula Weights [HTML, PDF 1.5MB]).

For more information on Federal weight requirements see 23 CFR § 658.17.

Office of Operations