Everyone who drives a commercial truck knows how important it is to stay within weight restrictions when they make their runs. Thousands of citations are handed out each year for tractor-trailers being overloaded. These citations create major problems for all involved, from the driver, to the transportation company to the client expecting the delivery.
Virginia levies heavy fines to any commercial truck found to be over the allowed weight. According to the Virginia DMV, these fines can range from one cent per pound a payload is over, to 35 cents per pound, and may be further compounded by being doubled or tripled depending on how far over the limit the vehicle is.
Penalties for overweight trucks
When a citation for an overweight truck is given, it is at the issuing agent or officer’s discretion to determine who is responsible for the violation. Oftentimes, blame goes to the trucking company owner.
Per Virginia statues, the offender will have 21 days to pay their fine in full or submit a written notice that they wish to contest the citation. Since citations are often several thousand dollars, contesting the fines may be within a business owner’s best interests. A skilled attorney can assist an individual in reducing the amount of the fine or may even have it dropped entirely.
A citation for an overweight truck comes with several penalties, some legal and some business related. They include:
Serious fines– We cannot stress enough that fines handed out for overloaded vehicles can significantly impact a business’ bottom line. A vehicle that is even a few thousand pounds over the limit can quickly rack up devastating fines.
Delayed deliveries– In addition to the time consuming legal rigmarole that will come with being issued a citation, a weigh station may shut down a delivery. This means finding another driver, truck and waiting for them to arrive to pick up the slack.
Loss of reputation– Clients expect their freight to arrive on time and will not abide a major delay with a smile. In the interconnected world of social media and review apps, it is easier than ever for an unhappy client to air their grievances. This can mean loss of clients, reputation or worse.
Jail time for drivers– Laws vary by state, but there are instances where drivers of overloaded vehicles can be arrested on the spot. That was the situation in nearby Pennsylvania when a judge fined a truck driver over $17,000 and jailed him for four days when he took a wrong turn onto a surface street.
The weight of a semi-truck is something that the Department of Transportation and the DMV take deathly seriously, and so should business owners and independent drivers. Even a relatively minor slip up can have serious repercussions.