Commercial trucks move a tremendous amount of cargo around the country every year. To ensure these loads are carried safely and securely, each state has established specific laws about what commercial drivers can and cannot do. Part of these regulatory protections include limits on how much weight can be carried. Like other states, Ohio has specific laws governing commercial truck weight limits.
Weight Limits for Instate Travel
Any truck operating on an Ohio state or county road must comply with several weight restrictions. If the truck has two axles, it must weigh less than 24,000 pounds if the space between axles is less than 4 feet. If it is greater than 4 feet, it can have up to 34,000 pounds, plus 1,000 pounds for every additional foot extra span between axles, though the total weight can't exceed 40,000 pounds. Trucks with three axles have a maximum weight limit of 48,000 pounds.
Restricted Load on Interstate Highways
Regulations require that trucks operating on the interstate highway system within Ohio must not exceed tire pressure of 650 pounds per square inch. They must also carry 20,000 pounds or less of load on a single axle vehicle and up to 34,000 pounds on a two-axle vehicle. For trucks with two or more axles, the weight limit is governed by the following formula: W = 500((LN/N-1) + 12N + 36). In this formula, W is the overall gross weight (to the nearest 500 pounds), L is the distance in feet between axles, and N is the number of axles.
Fines for Overweight Vehicles
Truck drivers who go over the legal weight limit can face serious penalties. Drivers can be fined $80 for having a load up to 2,000 pounds over the legal limit. That amount increases to $100 for loads between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds over, but there's an additional $1 fine for every 100 pounds overloaded. So, a driver with an overload of 3,000 pounds would be fined $110. For loads more than 5,000 pounds over the limit, the penalties also include possible jail time, plus higher fines.
Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.