Recently I posted on my Facebook page "Trucking with Wayne" about weights and how to make sure you are always legal when it comes to your truck and trailer's weight. Avoiding a ticket for being overweight is one of the most proactive things a truck driver can do. If a driver ever gets ticketed for being overweight, it's usually his or her own fault. Not always, but most of the time, it’s on them. In the rest of this blog, I would like to tell you about a specific experience I had that could've costed me dearly, and why you should "weigh every load, every time."
Watch: Truck Weight Distribution Tips
Here's a video that will hopefully help truckers out there learn how to distribute and shift weights around. Check it out!
As you progress throughout your truck driver job, it can become very easy to think "I got this,” or “I’ll just trust what the shipper told me.” But as I learned in my experience, what’s put on your trailer is not always what the paperwork says it was. I'll put this thought out there: It's always up to the trucker to make sure that you are legal to roll.
Weighing Your Truck Is Part Of The Truck Driver Job
"Weigh every load, every time" was the motto my old flatbedding company used. I must say, it really was a beneficial way to operate. Early on in my truck driving job, I once showed up to a shipper and saw that they were only loading 39,900 pounds on my trailer. I thought it was going to be an easy load! I have about 5,000 pounds to work with.
After getting loaded, I almost decided not to drive 5 miles out of my way to weigh my load. In fact, I was just a few seconds away from getting on the highway to head to the receiver. But then I remembered that weighing a truck is a part of any truck driver job, so I decided to get this load weighed just in case. When I weighed out at the Cat Scale, I came out at 82,127 pounds. That’s more than 2,000 pounds over the maximum legal weight limit! There’s no way they only loaded me with 39,900 pounds. Needless to say, I was really glad I decided to be safe and make sure I was legal. As soon as I finished at the station, I immediately went back to the shipper and showed them my weigh ticket. They were all surprised to see I came back overweight.
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When I went back to the dock and talked to the fork lift driver about it, he chuckled and said management had just increased their loads within their packages, but never changed the weights that the driver and the driver’s company sees. That made me even happier that I had decided to weigh my load. The forklift driver unloaded a couple of pallets and sent me on my way again. This time though, there was no way I wasn’t going to get weighed again. The reweigh price was only $2 and well worth it. Turns out I was now 80,020 pounds. So I went back to the shipper. Again.
Reminder: Stay Professional
After showing them that I was still 20 pounds over, the company’s management seemed surprised that I came all the way back for that being overweight by that little of a margin. But I reminded them that legally, I'm only able to carry 80,000 pounds. While things could have gotten heated or tense between myself and the shipper over the matter, none of us argued about it or raised our voices. Rather, we discussed the issue and were able to get it resolved in a professional manner. They eventually took off another pallet and I finally weighed out legally and headed on my way. I learned a valuable lesson that day. A lesson I learned without getting a ticket. "Weigh every load, every time," is something every driver should go by.
About The Author
Wayne got his start in trucking by going through the Driver Solutions company paid CDL training program back in 2012. Since then, he has traveled over 300,000 safe miles and counting! After seeing his photos and reading about his adventures, we knew we had to share them on our blog. Join Wayne on his journey for a first hand look at life on the road!