The Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) has many commercial vehicle regulations in place to keep drivers safe and roads in good condition. Commercial vehicles include trucks, vans, school buses, fire trucks, logging trucks, construction vehicles and garbage trucks. Operators must comply with these regulations or face penalties, such as fines or driving constraints.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
A gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR, is the maximum total weight of the vehicle, including its cargo, passengers, fuel and other fluids. This is applied by the vehicle manufacturer and determines whether a vehicle is classed as a commercial motor vehicle for the purposes of state safety regulations. Vehicles with a GVWR of 10,001 lbs. or more, that are used as part of a business (including a non-profit organization) are considered commercial motor vehicles.
GVWR applies to single vehicles, such as trucks and vans, vehicles equipped for and carrying more than 15 passengers (including the driver) and different combinations of vehicles, such as a truck pulling a trailer or other equipment. Vehicles transporting hazardous materials for a business purpose are considered commercial, regardless of their GVWR.
In Georgia, all vehicles and combinations with GVWR of 10,001 lbs. or more must have a vehicle identification number and U.S. DOT number. The driver must also have a medical exam certificate. The vehicle must carry a fire extinguisher and display reflective triangles, and all trailers must be equipped with brakes, lights and reflectors.
Georgia Axle Weight Limits
DOT regulations limit Georgia truck axle weights on highways. The maximum legal axle weight is 20,340 pounds and the maximum load on any tandem axle (any two or more axles within 96 inches) is 40,680 pounds. However, if the gross weight is greater than 73,280 pounds or the length is greater than 55 feet, the tandem weight limit is 34,000 pounds.
State law allows a maximum total gross weight for any vehicle and load of 80,000 pounds on all highways which are not interstate highways. For a vehicle with four axles, the maximum gross weight allowed for the vehicle and load is 70,000 pounds.
The Federal Bridge Formula applies to all weight limitations. This is W = 500(LN/N-1 + 12N + 36), where W is the overall gross weight on any group of two or more consecutive axles to the nearest 500 pounds, L is the distance in feet between the extreme of any group of two or more axles in the group, and N is the total number of axles in the group.
Georgia Vehicle Size Limits
Georgia also has height and width limitations for vehicles on its highways. The maximum height of a truck and load is 13 feet 6 inches, and the maximum width is 8 feet 6 inches. In Georgia, the standard trailer unit length is 53 feet, but single-piece loads may be transported on extendable semi-trailers longer than 53 feet if they are not longer than 75 feet and are not loaded end-to-end. The overall length must not be more than 100 feet. Twin-trailer combinations are permitted with 28-foot trailer units, and there is no limit on the overall length. Car and boat carriers can be up to 65 feet long, with the exception of stinger-steered carriers, which can be 75 feet long.
Operators of trucks exceeding weight or size limits may apply for oversize truck permits, which require a fee. These allow oversize trucks to be driven on Georgia highways for certain amounts of time, with the conditions that they have adequate insurance coverage.