The commercial trucking industry is one of the most essential parts of the California economy. Every day, thousands of communities across the state rely on commercial trucks to deliver materials, food, and other goods. The commercial trucking industry has a demanding job, and it faces strict regulations at both the state and federal levels. Therefore, trucking companies need to balance their efficiency in completing deliveries with their need to abide by applicable regulations, especially commercial truck axle weight limits.

The axles of a commercial truck are critical components that are responsible for ensuring proper handling. When a truck is overloaded, axles become unstable, and an imbalanced commercial truck can easily cause a devastating crash. Overburdened truck axles can also disrupt other systems within a truck, leading to crashes. Therefore, it’s vital for truck drivers and trucking companies to understand California’s commercial truck axle weight limits for 2024.

What Are Commercial Truck Axle Weight Limits?

California law aligns with federal law when it comes to commercial truck axle weight limits:

  • -The gross weight on any single axle of a commercial truck cannot exceed 20,000 pounds.
  • -The gross weight on one end of any single axle of a commercial truck cannot exceed 10,500 pounds.
  • -Steering axle weight cannot exceed the weight limit assigned by the tire manufacturer. In most cases, the tire-based weight limit is no more than 620 pounds per lateral inch of tire width.
  • -Two consecutive sets of tandem axles on a commercial truck can support up to 34,000 pounds of gross weight each, but only if the distance between the first and last axles in a set of tandem axles is 36 feet or more.
  • -The maximum total vehicle weight for a commercial truck in California is 80,000 pounds.

Truck drivers must visit weigh stations at designated points along their delivery routes. Trucking companies must ensure every commercial truck is loaded in compliance with applicable commercial truck axle weight limits. However, in some situations, other parties are responsible for loading commercial trucks, and these parties must follow all applicable truck axle weight limits to ensure safe delivery.

What Happens If Truck Cargo Isn’t Loaded Correctly?

Imbalanced cargo and exceeded weight limits are sometimes cited as the causes of truck accidents in California. Truck accidents are often devastating, resulting in injuries and economic losses to everyone involved. Determining fault for these incidents is essential for victims to recover. However, affected drivers may need to prove precisely how their truck accidents happened to secure compensation for their damages. If you believe your recent truck accident happened because of overloaded axles or any other cargo-related issue, it’s essential to consult an attorney who can help you prove fault for your accident.

Determining liability is often one of the most challenging aspects of a truck accident claim. Due to the nature of the trucking industry and the many different parties that often play roles in trucking operations, it’s possible for the legal concept of “vicarious liability” to come into play, complicating victims’ legal proceedings. This legal concept applies to any situation in which one party bears liability for the actions of another party, such as a trucking company bearing fault for the actions of one of its drivers. It is also possible for several parties to share liability for a trucking accident.

Your truck accident lawyer can help you determine the party or parties responsible for your recent accident. For example, if your accident occurred due to a violation of commercial truck axle weight limits, your attorney could help you hold the at-fault party accountable for your damages. The party responsible for violating applicable weight limits may face fines and other penalties from various oversight agencies.


Q: Why Are Commercial Truck Axle Weight Limits Important?

A: Commercial truck axle weight limits help to ensure commercial trucks can handle their heavy cargo safely. Ensuring that cargo weight is evenly distributed and within safe parameters helps ensure safe handling of the truck and reduces the risk of accidents. When truck axles are overburdened, they can become unstable in certain situations, such as sharp turns that impose more weight on one side of an axle.

Q: What Are the Risks of Overburdened Commercial Truck Axles?

A: Weight distribution is vital for safe trucking. When a commercial truck is not balanced correctly, there are several possible consequences. For example, tires may burst under excessive weight, axles can potentially bend and break, or trailers may tip over around sharp turns. Improperly loaded cargo can also make it very difficult for the truck driver to safely handle the vehicle.

Q: Can I Be Partially to Blame for an Accident With a Truck?

A: If you contribute to causing a truck accident, it’s likely for California’s pure comparative negligence law to come into play in the subsequent legal proceedings. Under this law, you would still be allowed to seek compensation for your damages, but you would lose a percentage of your total compensation equal to your percentage of fault for contributing to causing the accident.

Q: Do I Need a Lawyer If a Truck Accident Happens Due to Weight Limit Violations?

A: If an imbalanced load or violation of California’s commercial truck axle weight limits caused your recent truck accident, you would likely need the assistance of an experienced attorney to navigate your civil claim successfully. Your attorney can help you prove exactly how your truck accident happened and who is at fault. The right attorney will also help you calculate your claimable damages accurately, potentially yielding far more compensation than you initially expected.

Truck accidents are some of the most damaging vehicle accidents that anyone can experience. Unfortunately, navigating the legal proceedings these incidents often generate can be extremely difficult without legal counsel. Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates has extensive experience representing California clients in a wide range of complex civil claims, including truck accident cases. If you need to hold another party accountable for violations of California’s commercial truck axle weight limits, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a case evaluation with an experienced truck accident attorney.