California Truck Laws

California law requires that all trucks equipment, such as lights, windshields, reflectors, etc., must comply with the United States Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standards.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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What are the California trucking laws?

The trucking industry offers valuable services to Californians. However, the enormous weight and size of trucks make them dangerous to other drivers on the road. To reduce the risk to other drivers, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has created strict trucker law for truckers going over state lines. There are rules at the local, state, and federal level. California trucking laws help protect motorists and passengers, as well as the condition of the roads. Please contact our trucking accident attorney for a free consultation on trucking laws.

What are the weight limits for trucks in California?

Weight limits are one of the most important rules in the trucking industry. According to  California, trucking laws, trucks cannot be more than 80,000 lbs. Also, a single axle cannot have more than 20,000 lbs. There are many reasons for these rules, the main one being safety. First, the roads themselves can only carry so much weight. If a truck weighs more than the limit, it can cause damage to the physical road over time. In particular, the weight can cause damage to spots like bridges and overpasses.

There is also the issue of other vehicles’ safety. A semi truck needs to stick to the weight limit that the manufacturer establishes. Such a heavy truck requires more time to come to a stop. It is also difficult to control when going downhill. It also does not maneuver as easily or quickly as a sedan or SUV. So weight limits are important both for truck drivers and car drivers alike.

Who enforces truck weight limits?

It is important to comply with truck weight restrictions. California Highway Patrol has put weigh stations all over the state to help enforce these limits. How do you know when to stop it or weigh station? There are road signs that will tell you when it is necessary to stop at one of these stations. If a truck driver does not comply with trucker law weight regulations, they could face fines.

Are there exceptions to weight limits?

Let’s say that a trucker needs to transport something that goes over the weight limit in California. You might have seen signs that say oversize load when a truck is transporting something enormous like a wind turbine blade. Shippers can get permits for oversize, heavy haul, and super loads. With such a permit, a trucking company can transport larger loads. Sometimes, a truck may require an escort and may only travel at certain times of day. For example, in Los Angeles, an oversized load cannot travel during peak rush hour. Also, oversized loads cannot be transported at night for safety reasons.

Trucker law in California tries to protect vehicles and truck operators in other ways. In the end, the companies that employ truck drivers are responsible for complying with state and federal regulations.

How many hours can a truck driver drive?

Most trucking regulations are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Civic regulations in California are issued by Caltrans. The FMCSA has hours of service rules that control how many breaks truck drivers take during the day. Specifically, truck drivers cannot be driving for over 14 hours in a row. They also need to have a rest break of 10 hours prior to starting another day of work. California trucking laws are much tougher. However, there is a reason for this. Driver fatigue is real and plays a major role in accidents.

What is a commercial truck axle weight limits in California?

Under California law for trucks, the weight limits for commercial truck are:

  • Single Axle = 20,000 pounds
  • Double axle = 34,000 pounds
  • Gross Weight = 80,000 pounds

In addition to watching weight, shippers need to make sure that their cargo is secure. If cargo is loaded improperly, there can be problems with maneuvering the truck. This can cause accidents. Therefore, shippers need to secure their loads properly by distributing weight evenly and using security devices.

The point of trucker law regulations is to protect everyone on California roads. This includes the operators of the trucks. Weight limitations are meant to preserve the state of infrastructure and make sure that overpasses and bridges are safe. To comply with California trucking laws, shippers need to load their cargo safely and get any permits needed for excess weight. They should also make sure that employees follow the hours of service rules.

Truck Driver Logs

The federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wants drivers to log their activities, including the length of their breaks and any inspection results on their journey. Nowadays, these logs are digital versus in handwritten notebooks.

Truck Inspection Requirements

According to California trucking laws, trucks need to be inspected every trip and properly maintained. Any maintenance needs to be logged.

Dot Numbers on the Trucks

Any California truck that travels between states must display a visible identification number from the Department of Transportation.

Size and Weight Limit for Trucks

Different trucker laws determine how much a truck can weight based on the design of the vehicle. A truck can reach up to 65 feet in length and 80,000 pounds, though limits can be relaxed with the proper permissions.

Contact A Trucking Accident Lawyer Today

If you suffered an injury in a truck accident, it could be because of a violation of trucker law. Do not hesitate to contact our trucking accident lawyer to get a free consultation on your California trucking laws case. These trucking rules are in place to protect the public, and you have a right to compensation.

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

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