Commercial Truck Axle Weight Limits in California

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Commercial trucking is a vital part of California’s economy, transporting millions of tons of materials and goods throughout the state and across the country every day. The trucking industry is carefully regulated at the federal level, and every state enforces unique rules pertaining to commercial trucking as well. Therefore, companies that rely on commercial trucking in California must abide by applicable regulations as closely as possible. Failure to do so can lead to liability for accidents.

Trucking companies must not only abide by regulations that apply to the drivers they hire but also to the vehicles those drivers use. While many companies are under extraordinary pressure to complete deliveries as quickly as possible, they should not use this as an excuse to overload their trucks. In addition, California enforces weight limit restrictions, and exceeding these restrictions can leave a trucking company vulnerable to fines and other penalties and cause serious accidents.

Commercial truck axle weight limits California

What Are the Commercial Truck Axle Weight Limits in California?

California’s Department of Transportation enforces weight limit rules for commercial trucks. According to their General Rule 35550, a single axle on a commercial truck has a gross weight limit of 20,000 pounds. This rule also stipulates that no more than 10,500 pounds of weight can be placed over a single wheel or multiple wheels on one end of a truck’s axle. Truck drivers are expected to stop at specified weigh stations during their routes to ensure their vehicles meet applicable weight limits.

The parties responsible for loading commercial trucks must also abide by California’s commercial truck axle weight limits. Failure to abide by these rules can easily result in accidents, and the party responsible for breaching these regulations will face liability for the resulting damages. For example, overloaded trucks can damage road surfaces and endanger their drivers and other nearby motorists. In addition, unbalanced or unsecured cargo inside a trailer can leave the truck vulnerable to roll-over and tip-over accidents, potentially damaging other drivers.

Who Is Liable for an Accident Involving an Overloaded Commercial Truck?

If you are involved in a commercial truck accident and believe the truck was overloaded, this may be the root cause of your accident and the resulting damages. The first step toward recovering your losses is establishing liability for the incident. In this situation, it’s vital to consult an experienced attorney who has a strong track record of handling truck accident claims successfully. In addition, an experienced lawyer will be able to help their client identify the party or parties responsible for causing the crash. Many truck accident cases will raise the issue of vicarious liability. This legal concept applies whenever one party, typically an employer, bears fault for the actions of another party, typically an employee. For example, if a truck driver was negligent in the handling of their vehicle and an accident occurs, the fault may rest with their employer due to the employer’s failure to ensure appropriate training for the driver. It’s also possible for another party to absorb liability. For example, if a distributor loaded a truck and failed to abide by California’s commercial truck axle weight limits, the truck driver would not necessarily be responsible for a resulting accident. Once you determine fault for your commercial truck accident, your attorney can help you secure damages for the appropriate defendant or defendants. Truck accidents tend to cause tremendous damage, typically including medical expenses, long-term medical costs, lost income, and lost earning potential for the affected driver. In addition, the victim may also face expensive vehicle repair costs and would have the right to claim compensation for their pain and suffering under California state law. Ultimately, working with an experienced lawyer offers the best chance for securing the fullest recovery possible from a truck accident in California.


Q: What Are the Maximum Weight Limits for Commercial Truck Axles?
Federal law and California Department of Transportation law place a strict 20,000-pound weight limit on each axle of a commercial truck. This weight limit typically applies to tractor-trailers, and there are different axle weight limits for other types of commercial vehicles. Therefore, any company that uses commercial vehicles must verify the axle weight limits for those vehicles and abide by them.

Q: What Is the Total Vehicle Weight Limit for Commercial Trucks in California?
California law prohibits any vehicle from exceeding a maximum weight of 80,000 pounds. Commercial trucks may not exceed this total weight limit or exceed the truck axle weight limits that apply to their vehicles. Most trucking companies and other organizations that utilize commercial trucks will have various methods for ensuring their vehicles meet all applicable weight limits.

Q: What Is the Steer Axle Weight Limit for Commercial Trucks in California?
A steer axle is the axle of a truck that turns as the driver turns the steering wheel. Essentially, the steer axle is responsible for ensuring the vehicle’s tires move in the path indicated by how the driver turns the steering wheel. California law does not allow more than 12,500 pounds of weight on top of steering axles. However, some specialized construction vehicles and certain commercial vehicles are exempt from this steering axle weight limit.

Q: Can I Sue for a Truck Accident Caused by Overloading?
In the event you are injured in a truck accident, and the cause of the accident is found to be excessive weight, you have the right to file a civil claim against the party responsible for overloading the truck in question. An experienced lawyer can help you secure compensation for economic damages such as medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and lost income. You also have the right to claim compensation for your pain and suffering.

Kreeger Law Firm has years of experience representing clients in the Sacramento area in a wide range of civil claims, including those pertaining to overloaded commercial trucks. If you believe another party’s negligence or careless loading of a commercial truck caused your recent accident, we can help you hold them accountable. Contact Kreeger Law today and schedule your consultation to learn more about the legal services we offer.