Big Truck Guide opens the door for big efficiencies in your transport bill

Big Truck Guide has done what no one in the industry has managed before. Make an easy way of looking up truck weights and dimensions so that you can haul more, on larger trucks, simply by knowing what the regulations are everywhere. Big Truck Guide has read and interpreted the state and provincial laws for all 50 US states and 10 Canadian provinces. We have identified 27 commonly used truck combinations from these jurisdictions and recorded the legal gross weights, dimensions, and axle weights for all these combinations into our proprietary database.

The truth is that today, many carriers across both Canada and the United States utilize trucks that are much heavier than 80,000 lbs, and have trailers longer than 53’. Payloads of 50,000 lbs or more are possible today, with current regulations. The problem has always been that carriers know the regulations in their area, but not as much in areas where they do not operate regularly. Big Truck Guide has changed this by compiling a list of all regulations and gross weights across states, and this can show that there are 28 states in the US that have weight limits over 80,000 lbs for trucks with a tridem axle trailer. Even heavier weights are possible in many states, and some states (South Dakota and Alaska) have no overall gross limits.

Look through the sample tools, the Sample Detailed Truck Information tools shows all gross weights, axle weights, and dimensions for a standard 5 axle truck across every state and province, the paid version of the site allows you to query all 27 recorded truck types. The Gross Weight by Truck Type tool gives a quick comparison of the greatest allowable weight for each truck type in each state, and shows a map to quickly visualize this. The State Information page give a written description of all applicable truck regulations in each jurisdiction.

2 thoughts on “Big Truck Guide opens the door for big efficiencies in your transport bill”

  1. As a shipper, I’m always being told that the driver is low on fuel, does this play a huge factor in the weight of a load? Also, I’ve been told that the DOT usually allows around 500 pounds for the driver and personal belongings, above the 80,000 pounds, is this true?

  2. First, your observation about fuel: The typical highway truck will have fuel tanks anywhere between 200 – 300 gallons. A gallon of diesel weighs about 7.1 lbs. Doing the math, that means that a driver who is dead empty on fuel will need to take on as much as 1,420 lbs to 2,130 lbs of fuel. Practically speaking, it is not very often drivers travel with less than ¼ tank, so a more reasonable estimate is 1,065 lbs to 1,598 lbs of extra weight that the driver has to take on after fueling their empty truck. If you are loading close to the maximum gross weight of 80,000 lbs, then this could be a concern to the driver, especially if the load is hard to scale out (see this article). In this case, the truck trailer combination is ok for its gross weight, but typically heavy on its drive axles.

    Concerning the 500 lbs for the weight of a driver and personal belongings, this is totally up to the discretion of the officer. Some states will be more lenient than others and may allow it, but this is not a rule, and as a former driver, I wouldn’t count on it either. There are some exceptions though, for instance, a truck fitted with an auxiliary heating/cooling unit can be about 400 lbs over on their weight with a permit.

    If you want to ship heavier loads, I would recommend a couple of options:
    1) If you have a good amount of freight and a good relationship with your carrier, ask them to send you smaller trucks. Carriers can, and do custom – build their equipment around their customers’ needs and they can put their trucks on a weight diet to serve you. For example, they can fit their trucks with smaller sleepers, aluminum wheels, smaller fuel tanks, etc. A lighter truck means a heavier load for you.

    2) Find a carrier that runs at heavier weights than 80,000 lbs. While this is not possible everywhere, there are 28 states in the US that allow divisible loads of all kinds that can weigh more than 80,000 lbs. Here, a shameless self-promotion: Big Truck Guide can help you with finding out where you can operate at higher weights than 80,000 lbs, sign up for our membership services and see where to order heavier trucks! For example, in New Mexico, trucks can gross at about 82,000 lbs, depending on their axle spacing, and in Texas, trucks can obtain a permit for 84,000 lbs when traveling on county and state highways (non-interstate). See Detailed Truck Information.

    I hope this helps, please feel free to reach out to me for further information!

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