Understanding Ohio Bridge Laws for Truck Size and Weight Limits

Understanding Ohio Bridge Laws for Truck Size and Weight Limits

The Ohio truck accident lawyers at GB Law have been protecting Ohioans for more than 35 years and understand the very unique aspects of trucking industry regulations.

While our attorneys are very familiar with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and standard practices, we also work closely with trucking industry experts who have an in-depth understanding of the training, recommendations, and knowledge level required of trucking companies and their drivers.

When a truck accident occurs, we look closely at records and determine if the truck was within weight limits or had the necessary permits to be overweight.

Axle Weight Guidelines in Ohio

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry, and state laws set forth limits on the height, width, and length of commercial trucks.

The Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code are the authorities on the maximum allowable weights on roadways and bridges in the state. The Ohio State Highway Patrol enforces Ohio trucking rules and regulations.

Maximum weight limits for trucks in Ohio are as follows:

  • Single Axle: 29,000 pounds.
  • Short Tandem: 36,000 pounds.
  • Long Tandem: 50,000 pounds. 
  • Short Tri Axle:  47,000 pounds.
  • Short Quad Axle or Long Tri Axle: 60,000 lbs.
  • Long Quad Axle: 80,000 lbs.

The Ohio Department of Transportation explains these guidelines in greater detail on its website

The Federal Bridge Formula: How Ohio Weight Law Limits are Determined

Ohio has adopted the Federal Bridge Formula for roads. 

This establishes the maximum weight any number of axles on a motor vehicle may carry on the interstate and federal highway systems to reduce damage.

The bridge formula was enacted by Congress in 1975 under the Federal Bridge Law to limit the weight-to-length ratio of a vehicle crossing a bridge. 

The Federal Bridge Formula has three primary components: 

  1. The maximum weight allowed on a single axle is 20,000 lbs.
  2. The maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW), or the maximum allowed total weight on any group of consecutive axles on a vehicle, is determined by the Federal Bridge Formula.
  3. The maximum gross weight on interstate highways is 80,000 lbs, even when the result of the formula is greater.

One exception to the bridge weight formula exists: The maximum total weight allowed on any group of two or more consecutive axles spaced eight or fewer feet apart (i.e., tandem axles) is 34,000 lbs. 

Additionally, Ohio takes tire loads into account when calculating weight with a specific formula. For each axle, the maximum weight allowed is the number of tires, multiplied by the tread width of the tire in inches times 800. 

Why Exceeding the Ohio Bridge Law Weight Limits Causes Truck Accidents 

The Federal Bridge Formula is designed to protect bridges and reduce damage to roads. But overweight and overloaded trucks can also put motorists at risk. 

Overloading a truck affects its maneuverability and makes its various components more prone to failure, and the vehicle is more prone to rollover or jackknife (where the trailer swings from behind the truck and moves forward to create a jackknife position).

Overloading a truck can cause: 

  • A decrease in stopping distance
  • An increase in speed going downhill
  • Tire blowouts
  • Decreased steering control
  • Less control in inclement weather

Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact GB Law

If you have been involved in a truck accident in Ohio, do not delay in contacting our knowledgeable truck accident attorneys immediately. Evidence and records vital to your legal case can be lost in the days and weeks following an accident.

Our legal team can help you understand your rights and options to recover compensation for your injuries in a free consultation. If we represent you, we will take immediate steps to ensure that everything is done to preserve your case. As part of our contingency fee arrangement, there are never any fees unless and until we recover money for you.

For more information, call GB Law at 614-222-4444.