Krzak Rundio Law Group has successfully represented numerous victims of accidents involving commercial trucks, big rigs, 18-wheelers, and tractor trailers. The following article is intended to provide information about truck overloading requirements, limits, penalties for violation, and impact on road safety in the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago.
For more information about Illinois trucking law, we invite you to reach out to a Chicago truck accident lawyer at Krzak Rundio Law Group with questions.
Illinois Motor Vehicle Code Regulations
Under Illinois law, no vehicle or combination of vehicles with pneumatic tires may be driven when the total weight on the road surface exceeds the following weights by axle:
- 20,000 pounds on a single axle
- 34,000 pounds on a tandem axle (with no axle within the tandem exceeding 20,000 pounds)
- 80,000 pounds gross weight for vehicle combinations of 5 or more axles
Furthermore, there should be no total weight on a group of 2 or more consecutive axles exceeding the weight produced by using the formula: W = 500 times the sum of (LN divided by N-1) + 12N + 36. When using this formula to calculate weight limits:
- “W” equals overall total weight on any group of 2 or more consecutive axles to the nearest 500 pounds
- “L” equals the distance measured to the nearest foot between extremes of any group of 2 or more consecutive axles
- “N” equals the number of axles in the group under consideration
Any exceptions to the use of this formula can be found under the Code provided by the Illinois General Assembly. Drivers operating a commercial vehicle in the state of Illinois have an obligation to know and adhere to the weight limits for their vehicle and the load they are carrying. Not understanding the law is never justification for breaking it. Commercial vehicle operators will need to have an understanding of several types of vehicle weight specs, including:
- GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) – the maximum total combined weight of the vehicle
- GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) – the total combined weight of the vehicle and trailer
- GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) – the maximum weight either axle can carry on its own
The above-listed regulations exist to protect commercial vehicle operators, drivers of passenger vehicles, and roadways from the dangers of truck overloading—many of which we will discuss below. Yet, in an effort to save time and money, some trucking companies resort to overloading trailers to unsafe capacities. What may seem like an easy cost-cutting measure is the cause of numerous preventable injuries and deaths in our state and the nation as a whole.
What Happens When a Truck Is Overloaded?
When overweight laws are broken, there is risk of severe damage to roadways which are not built to withstand extreme weights. There are additional hazards to the operators of overloaded vehicles and the drivers of nearby passenger vehicles. When a large truck is overweight, there is increased risk of:
- Road damage
- Damage to a truck’s braking system
- Engine strain
- Damage to suspension, transmission, and other vehicle parts
- Tire failure or blowout
- Accidents due to miscalculated braking distances
- Rollovers due to higher centers of gravity
- Jackknife accidents
- Difficulty of control on turns, inclines, and at high speeds
- Overall higher rates of mechanical failure due to excessive wear
In Illinois, if a law enforcement officer is able to determine that a truck is over the legal weight limit, the driver can be charged and fined in accordance with the violation.
How Law Enforcement Can Determine If a Truck Is Overloaded
Illinois law states that a police officer need only to have “reason to believe” that the weight of a vehicle and load is over legal limits in order to require the driver to stop and submit to a weighing—either on portable or stationary scales. If a truck driver refuses to submit to weighing after being stopped, they will be given a fine of between $500 and $2,000. Similarly, the same fine applies if a vehicle operator removes all or part of the load before weighing in an attempt to reduce the weight to within mandated limits.
Once a vehicle and its load have been weighed, the officer will determine whether the driver is in violation of overloading regulations. If it is found that the truck is overweight, the law enforcement officer can charge the driver with an offense and calculate the amount of fine warranted for the situation. Illinois fines for overloaded trucks are based on the number of pounds a vehicle is overweight. Illinois overweight fines range from $100 to over $1,500.
How Much Are Overweight Fines in Illinois?
The following fine schedule determines how much an overweight ticket in Illinois will be:
- Up to and including 2,000 pounds overweight – $100
- 2,001 through 2,500 pounds overweight – $270
- 2,501 through 3,000 pounds overweight – $330
- 3,001 through 3,500 pounds overweight – $520
- 3,501 through 4,000 pounds overweight – $600
- 4,001 through 4,500 pounds overweight – $850
- 4,501 through 5,000 pounds overweight – $950
- 4,501 through 5,000 pounds overweight – $950
- 5,001 or more pounds overweight – $1,500 for the first 5,000 pounds and $150 for each additional 500 pounds
If any one driver or company is convicted of four or more overweight violations within a 12-month period, they must pay an additional $5,000 for the fourth conviction and every subsequent conviction within the same year. While some drivers or trucking companies may search for how to beat an overweight ticket in Illinois, attempting to sidestep safety regulations puts multiple parties in danger.
In addition to the overload regulations established by the state, some cities—including Chicago—have local overweight regulations that drivers must take into consideration when driving within city limits.
Chicago Trucking Regulations and Chicago Overweight Fines
The Chicago Municipal Code for weight limitations, violation, and penalties states that, unless specifically allowed by law, no motor vehicle with a gross weight exceeding the limits in the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code may be operated on the roads of Chicago. Drivers may be subject to weighing if an authorized agent of the city of Chicago suspects an overweight violation. Any driver who refuses or fails to stop for the required weighing (or who removes any portion of the load prior to weighing) will be fined no less than $500 and no more than $2,000.
For commercial truck drivers seeking information about how much overweight fines are in Chicago, please refer to the table below. The overweight fines in Chicago are as follows:
- Up to and including 2,000 pounds overweight – $73
- 2,001 through 2,500 pounds overweight – $166
- 2,501 through 3,000 pounds overweight – $200
- 3,001 through 3,500 pounds overweight – $303
- 3,501 through 4,000 pounds overweight – $347
- 4,001 through 4,500 pounds overweight – $484
- 4,501 through 5,000 pounds overweight – $538
- 5,001 through 5,500 pounds overweight – $924
- 5,501 through 6,000 pounds overweight – $1,007
- 6,001 through 6,500 pounds overweight – $1,090
- 6,501 through 7,000 pounds overweight – $1,173
- 7,001 through 7,500 pounds overweight – $1,256
- 7,501 through 8,000 pounds overweight – $1,335
- 8,001 through 8,500 pounds overweight – $1,418
- 8,501 through 9,000 pounds overweight – $1,501
- 9,001 through 9,500 pounds overweight – $1,584
- 9,501 through 10,000 pounds overweight – $1,667
- 10,001 through 10,500 pounds overweight – $1,746
- 10,501 through 11,000 pounds overweight – $1,833
- 11,001 through 11,500 pounds overweight – $1,916
- 11,501 through 12,000 pounds overweight – $1,995
- 12,001 through 12,500 pounds overweight – $2,078
- 12,501 through 13,000 pounds overweight – $2,161
- 13,001 through 13,500 pounds overweight – $2,224
- 13,501 through 14,000 pounds overweight – $2,327
- 14,001 through 14,500 pounds overweight – $2,410
- 14,501 through 15,000 pounds overweight – $2,493
- 15,001 through 15,500 pounds overweight – $2,576
- 15,501 through 16,000 pounds overweight – $2,655
- 16,001 through 16,500 pounds overweight – $2,738
- 16,501 through 17,000 pounds overweight – $2,821
- 17,001 through 17,500 pounds overweight – $2,904
- 17,501 through 18,000 pounds overweight – $2,987
- 18,001 through 18,500 pounds overweight – $3,070
- 18,501 through 19,000 pounds overweight – $3,153
- 19,001 through 19,500 pounds overweight – $3,236
- 19,501 through 20,000 pounds overweight – $3,315
- 20,001 through 20,500 pounds overweight – $3,398
- 20,501 through 21,000 pounds overweight – $3,481
- 21,001 through 21,500 pounds overweight – $3,564
- 21,501 through 22,000 pounds overweight – $3,647
- 22,001 through 22,500 pounds overweight – $3,730
- 22,501 through 23,000 pounds overweight – $3,813
- 23,001 through 23,500 pounds overweight – $3,896
- 23,501 through 24,000 pounds overweight – $3,975
- More than 24,000 pounds overweight – $3,975 for the first 24,000 pounds plus $75.00 for each additional increment of 500 pounds, plus $4.00 for each $40.00
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer for More Information
We at Krzak Rundio Law Group know that understanding Illinois trucking overloading regulations can be a complicated task. We also know the responsibility that operators of large commercial vehicles 20-30 times larger than a passenger car have to everyone with whom they share the road. In all two-car crashes involving a commercial truck and a smaller passenger vehicle, roughly 97% of fatalities are occupants of the small car. Both truck drivers and the companies that employ them need to recognize the duty they have to operate their vehicles under the conditions defined as safest under the law.
Commercial vehicle accidents are complicated by nature. If you have been involved in a collision that you believe may have been caused by an overloaded truck, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We always begin with a free consultation to help you decide if our law firm is the right fit for your case.