What are the Weight Limits for Semi Trucks in TX?
Semi-trucks, also known as 18-wheelers or tractor-trailers, are essential in the transportation industry. As the world becomes more interconnected and cross-border trade becomes increasingly popular, the roads are witnessing more truck traffic. However, with their imposing size and weight, these massive semi-trucks make it more challenging for passenger vehicles to maneuver on roadways.
With the growing number of trucks shipping goods, enforcing weight regulations to ensure road safety and protect infrastructure has become crucial. Like in many other states, specific weight limits are imposed on semi-trucks in Texas. Let’s explore these weight limits, the importance of adhering to them, and the consequences of violations.
Semi-Trucks and the Need for Weight Regulations
A semi-truck is a large commercial vehicle with a tractor unit (the engine and driver’s cabin) and a semi-trailer for carrying cargo. 18-wheelers are the largest semis on our roadways. Both federal and state laws govern weight limits for semi-trucks for several reasons. First, they ensure road safety, reducing the risk of instability and inadequate braking when needed. Furthermore, weight limits prevent unnecessary damage to roads and bridges, ensuring longevity.
How Much Does a Semi-Truck Weigh?
A typical semi-truck weighs between 10,000 to 25,000 pounds. When a semi-truck is connected to an empty trailer, the combined weight can be approximately 35,000 pounds. However, these weights can vary depending on the make and model of the trailer and any additional equipment on the truck. When complying with weight regulations, a fully loaded semi-truck can reach the maximum allowable limit of 80,000 pounds.
Weight Limits for Semi-Truck in Texas
In Texas, the weight limits for semi-trucks are as follows:
- Gross Weight Limit
This refers to the maximum allowable limit. Semi-trucks in Texas and many other states have a maximum permissible limit of 80,000 pounds. This includes the truck, trailer, and cargo weight.
- Single Axle Limit
A single axle on a semi-truck should be at most 20,000 pounds. Axles linked to the steering (where the driver sits) should be 12,000 pounds. This limit ensures proper weight distribution and prevents damage to the truck’s steering axle.
- Tandem Axle Limit
Tandem axles are two axles placed closely together and should not exceed 34,000 pounds. This weight limit ensures that the weight is evenly distributed across the axles, reducing strain on the trailer and drive axles. A semi-truck has five axles, with four axles connecting to the trailer, and the fifth is in the front where the river sits.
Weigh stations play a crucial role in enforcing weight limits for semi-trucks in Texas. These stations are strategically placed along highways and serve as checkpoints for inspecting commercial vehicles, including semi-trucks, to ensure compliance with weight regulations. All commercial vehicles must undergo the weighing process to ensure they are within the legal weight limits in the state.
Consequences of Weight Limit Violations
Semi-trucks exceeding their weight limits pose significant risks to other road users and infrastructure. If a truck is found to have exceeded the weight limits, several consequences can occur, including:
- Cease of operations
- Jail Time for the driver
- Strained relationships with clients
- Delay in delivery caused by first offloading excess cargo
Weight and Semi-Truck Accidents
Semi-truck accidents are often catastrophic, given the weight disparity between semi-trucks and passenger vehicles. A fully-loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while the average passenger vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds. In collisions involving semi-trucks and passenger vehicles, the smaller vehicle is usually at a massive disadvantage due to the sheer weight and force of semi-trucks.
Federal laws, enforced by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, NHTSA, require large trucks to have various safety features, such as bumpers and rear impact guards. These reduce the risk of severe injuries or death of occupants in smaller passenger vehicles upon collision.
However, semi-truck accidents still happen, and when they do, it is highly advisable to seek legal assistance from a knowledgeable truck accident attorney. A skilled lawyer can investigate the accident to determine if the semi-truck exceeded weight limits, among other factors. This evidence can be used in filing a personal injury claim to help you receive fair compensation for damages, medical expenses, and emotional suffering.
Contact the Experienced Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer at the Ruhmann Law Firm, Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in a semi-truck accident, seeking legal assistance is crucial to protect your right and seek fair compensation. Contact our experienced semi-truck accident lawyers at the Ruhmann Law firm in Texas today at 915-910-5600 to schedule a free initial consultation and discuss your case. We are here to fight for your rights and help you navigate the complexities of truck accident claims.