The amount of weight considered to be a heavy haul will largely depend on the state, but in general, it’s defined as anything that exceeds 80,000 lbs. in gross weight. Heavy haul companies regularly transport items ranging from 80,000 lbs. to 200,000 lbs. Any weight over 200,000 lbs. is classified as a super load.
Hauling capacity is reliant on a number of factors that includes the axle configuration and trailer type. Depending on the load, the heavy hauler may need special signage, lighting, permits, and 1 or more escort vehicles. The truck may only be allowed to travel during certain hours of the day – there may also be restrictions on the days they may travel.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) calculates load weights based on multiple variables – and they can vary widely by state. Those calculations are based on factors that include axle spacing, axle groups, number of tires, and the manufacturer’s rating.
All states are required to allow trucks up to 80,000 lbs. traverse the federal interstate highway system. However, load weight limits can get complicated and confusing, depending on the state. Some states allow heavier loads without requiring special permits. The weight per axle can also vary, depending on the state. Heavy haulers have to be aware of the rules in the states in which they’ll be required to traverse.
The primary reason that the DOT enacted load limits is to prevent damage to roadways. Interstate highways regularly handle the weight of heavy haulers. However, the majority of roadways aren’t built to handle that much weight without experiencing some damage.
Another reason regulations have been put in place is for the safety of other motorists. Heavy haulers need additional space to get up to speed, stop, turn, and maneuver among traffic. A collision or accident involving any tractor-trailer rig is likely to be fatal.
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