How much weight can a tractor trailer carry in Illinois?

Published on  Dec 12, 2014. Posted in Truck Accidents

Like any other vehicles, tractor trailers are designed to carry a specific maximum amount of weight. When drivers fail to abide by these weight limits, the safety features of the large commercial vehicles may fail and accidents may be more likely to occur. To help protect motorists and pedestrians from accidents related to overloaded commercial vehicles, Illinois requires drivers to submit their trucks for weight inspections and issues citations when they find overloaded trucks.

Truck carrying capacity depends on the vehicle

To determine the maximum amount of weight that each tractor trailer can safely carry, Illinois, like other states in the nation, has developed a bridge formula. This formula uses the amount of space between the outer axles on the vehicle and the number of axles that the vehicle would be using to carry the load. An axle is the rod that passes through the center of a wheel or group of wheels, and it is primarily responsible for handling the burden placed on the vehicles with each load.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has provided an easy-to-read list that includes the maximum carrying capacity calculations for all commercial vehicle types. It ranges from two-axle vehicles with a legal maximum carrying limit of 34,000 pounds to large vehicles with six or more axles and a maximum carrying weight of 80,000 pounds. No vehicle in Illinois is legally allowed to carry more than 80,000 pounds unless they receive a permit for carrying one specific object that could not be reasonably disassembled.

Citations for overloaded vehicles

When vehicles over 10,000 pounds enter Illinois, they are required to stop at all open weigh stations. This is done to prevent trucks of a certain size from using specific roads, as well as to keep truckers and their carriers from overloading their vehicles. If a tractor trailer is found to be overloaded at a weigh station, a citation will be issued. These citations may include a specific fine, a county fee, county cost, and penalty assessment.

As the amount a truck is overloaded increases, the amount of the citation also increases, with citations of $58 beginning at 2,000 pounds or less over the legal maximum carrying weight. Fines grow, reaching $523 for 5,001 pounds or more over the legal limit and increase by $75 and a 12.5% penalty for each additional 500 pounds. However, these citations may not be enough of a deterrent for motor carriers or drivers.  Five thousand pounds of extra material is likely worth well over the $523 fee, so many unethical drivers or carriers overload their vehicles on purpose, disregarding safety and placing profit above all.

Those who have been injured in a truck accident should contact an Illinois personal injury attorney for assistance in receiving the maximum amount of compensation possible.