While driving, you will often see signs that explain whether or not a large vehicle is allowed on a specific stretch of highway. For most drivers, their regular cars are nowhere near overweight, and this is not a problem for them. However, for shipping companies and large trucks, it is imperative that weight regulations are followed, as these laws are there to prevent damage to highways. According to California Vehicle Code 35551, there are penalties for overweight vehicles.
The roads in question are designated as highways and include those that are open to driving on by the public and are publicly maintained. A vehicle is deemed overweight based on the number of axles and distance between groups of axles. The Vehicle Code has designated the maximum limit to be 80,000 lbs if a vehicle has four or more axles that are 57 feet apart (for groupings). More weight may be allowed, based on any additional axles. As the number of axles and weight show, these are applied to large trucks, trailers, and semi-trailers. For trucking and shipping companies, maintaining all vehicles under this maximum weight is very important. If a vehicle is found to be heavier than the aforementioned rules on a highway, not only will the driver receive a citation, but also the company?
If found to have violated California Vehicle Code 35551, the driver/company faces a misdemeanor or infraction (based on the amount of additional weight). The misdemeanor violation can result in probation, fines, and possible time in county jail. This is not a minor driving crime, as a misdemeanor will appear on a criminal record. As such, if someone has been falsely accused of violating the code, it is very important they seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer in order to defend themselves.