Trucks Pack on Illegal Pounds

Light penalties, costly gas make cheating attractive; roads and bridges take beating
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2007 1:17 PM CST
Many trucking companies are intentionally overloading their vehicles to cut down on gas and fuel costs, knowing that penalties are light.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – More American truckers are carrying illegally heavy loads, looking to offset diminished manpower and skyrocketing fuel prices—and light fines encourage cheating, the Christian Science Monitor reports. With road damage at issue following August's Minnesota bridge collapse, 30% of trucks are reportedly overloaded—and each of the 8 million tractor-trailers on US roads has the impact of 5,000 cars.

But the heat might not be on its way: Overloading drivers are willing to risk getting caught—sometimes dodging weigh stations altogether—because fines are lenient. "What we're experiencing is that [trucking companies and drivers] are consciously making a decision to run heavier and taking the risk of being caught instead of paying extra manpower costs or buying additional vehicles," one policeman said.