Transportation News

Take Action



Voter Resources

Select your state to get started:

Truck Weights


Ready Mixed Concrete Industry Position: Federal truck weight regulations need to be updated to increase gross weights limits on the Eisenhower Interstate System (EIS). Research shows that increased weight limits would alleviate traffic congestion, increase safety, save millions of dollars annually on pavement and bridge maintenance and increase the productivity of large trucks, such as ready mixed concrete trucks. 
How It Affects Our Industry: Ready mixed concrete trucks have heavy empty (or tare) weights. This is attributable to structural design or specialized equipment installed on the vehicle for handling the load.  Due to the heavy weight of the empty vehicle, the limits imposed by federal weight laws, especially the Federal Bridge Formula (FBF), leave little extra weight for carrying payload. For example, under federal weight limits a three-axle ready mixed concrete truck could weigh a maximum of 48,000 lbs. Only 18,000 lbs. (out of a potential 40,000 lbs.) is productive payload; 30,000 lbs. is the tare weight of the truck.

Federal weight laws force fully loaded ready mixed concrete trucks off the EIS and onto local and state roads that are generally built to lower standards. This causes congestion, makes for potentially unsafe driving conditions, prematurely degrades secondary roadways and drastically cuts industry efficiency.  Increasing federal truck weight limits will allow ready mixed concrete trucks to be more productive, will help reduce congestion and will decrease the amount of fuel needed to carry the same amount of concrete to jobsites.  
Background: In 1956 Congress passed legislation aimed at protecting the pavement and bridges on the EIS. Those protections came in the form of axle and gross weight limits. The federal law also authorized states to allow operation on the EIS beyond the specified limits, but only if operation was legal in the state prior to July 1, 1956. In response to energy use concerns, the Federal Aid Highway Amendments of 1974 increased the weight limits to allow larger and heavier trucks to utilize the EIS. As a balance to this concession, Congress created the FBF, which limits the size and weight of trucks by calculating the gross weight over the spacing and amount of axles; the heavier the weight, the greater the required spacing between axles.

Federal weight limits are set at 20,000 lbs. for a single axle, 34,000 lbs. for tandem axles, and 80,000 lbs. gross weight. In addition, the current FBF is overly cautious and no practical basis is given for the overstress criteria used to limit weights and configurations. These limits are the most restrictive of any developed nation. By comparison, though comparable U.S. trucks are limited to a maximum 80,000 lbs., the maximum weight for a six-axle truck in Canada is 95,900 lbs., in Mexico it is 106, 920 lbs., and the European Commission has set the limit at 97,000 lbs.