Weight a Minute

You’ve just harvested your potatoes and are hauling them to a processing facility when you see a weigh station up ahead. Then it dawns on you that you have no idea how much weight you’re pulling. This scenario happened to a client who found out the hard way that the State of Idaho takes its weight restrictions seriously.

Historically, the maximum weight limits on all Idaho highways has been 80,000 lbs. without an excess weight permit and 105,500 lbs. with an excess weight permit. As of July 1, 2016 Idaho allows trucks weighing up to 129,000 on some roads.

These weight restrictions are based on the number of axles and tire size. Steer axles must not exceed the manufacturer’s load rating, single axle limits are 20,000 lbs. and the tandem axle limit is 37,800 lbs. when the GVW does not exceed 79,000. There are some industry specific exemptions including logging, aggregate materials and certain agriculture products, so be sure to check with the Idaho Department of Transportation (“IDT”) to find out if you qualify. IDT has adopted a weight formula that provides a table of limits based on the number of axles and spacing of tires.

The maximum width of a vehicle in Idaho is 8 ½ feet and the maximum height is 14 feet. The typical maximum length is 75 feet, but can be increased to 97 feet for certain saddlemount combinations. Overlegal permits can be obtained if your load exceeds these limitations. IDT’s website has more information on the law.

What happens if you don’t follow the law? Idaho Code § 49-1013 has a list of penalties based on the weight your vehicle is over the limit. These range from a flat penalty of $5 for being 1,000 lbs. or less over the limit to $0.30 per pound when more than 20,000 lbs. over the limit. In addition, exceeding the weight limits by more than 4,000 lbs. is a misdemeanor.

If you’re unsure of your truck’s weight go get weighed at a certified scale before heading onto the open road. Know your weight, and know the law.