Understanding Ohio Trucking Rules and Regulations: The Federal Bridge Formula

Understanding Ohio Trucking Rules and Regulations: The Federal Bridge Formula

The Ohio truck accident lawyers at GBM Law have been protecting Ohioans for more than 30 years and understand the very unique aspects of trucking industry regulations. When a truck accident occurs, it is important to look closely at records and determine if the truck was within weight limits, or had the necessary permits to be overweight. 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 in-depth understanding of the  training, recommendations, and knowledge level that are required of trucking companies and their drivers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry, and state laws set forth limits on 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 roadway and bridges within Ohio. These regulations and restrictions are enforced by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. 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 pounds.
  • Long Quad Axle: 80,000 lbs.    

A specific formula exists for tire loads. For each axle, the maximum weight allowed is the number of tires, multiplied by the tread width of the tire in inches times 800. 

The Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula 

Ohio has adopted the Federal Bridge Formula for roads in Ohio, which establishes the maximum weight any set of axles on a motor vehicle may carry on the Interstate highway system. The bridge formula was enacted by Congress in 1975 to limit the weight-to-length ratio of a vehicle crossing a bridge. It has three primary components: 

  1. The maximum weight allowed on a single axle is 20,000 lbs.
  2. The maximum allowed 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 (FBF).
  3. The maximum Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) on Interstate highways is 80,000 lbs, even when the result of the formula is greater.

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

Why Overloaded / Overweight Trucks are Dangerous 

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 on a truck can cause: 

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

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.