Changes to truck weight rules in some states start July 1

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/27/2013

Changes to allowable truck weights for certain loads are set to take effect in various states.

On Monday, July 1, a new law in Idaho makes permanent a decade-old pilot project permitting multiple trailer trucks with overweight permits to weigh up to 129,000 pounds, rather than the previous restriction of 105,500 pounds. The trucks are allowed on 35 southern Idaho routes.

Heavier trucks are also given greater access to roads in northern Idaho – as long as local highway officials agree. Public hearings must be held before designating any new roads for the heavier trucks.

In neighboring Montana, a new law authorizes split-weighing of commodities, such as log trucks, in transit.

Previously, state law required that trucks hauling loads that include logs, rocks or grain be weighed on scales that are long enough to fit the truck and trailer.

The new rule allows for affected loads to be weighed on short scales.

Advocates for the change say it will save time and money by cutting down on trips they otherwise wouldn’t take to get trucks weighed on full scales.

As of Monday, a new rule in Tennessee increases the incentive to get truck drivers to stop idling.

States were given the ability in 2005 to allow heavy-duty trucks to exceed the 80,000-pound maximum weight limit to encourage the use of idling-reduction equipment.

In recent years many states have adopted rules to increase the weight limits for trucks equipped with auxiliary power units up to an additional 400 pounds.

The federal transportation law signed a year ago included a provision to allow states to increase their APU weight exemption another 150 pounds to 550 pounds. The change was sought to accommodate newer technologies available for truckers that consume less fuel, but weigh more.

Tennessee lawmakers endorsed changing the weight allowances for auxiliary power units from 400 pounds to 550 pounds.

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