What Graduates of Dispatch Training Should Know About Seasonal Truck Weight Restrictions
March 20, 2018
While both dispatchers and truck drivers must be aware of permanent weight restrictions in place at locations such as bridges, they must also stay up to date on seasonal weight restrictions, which annually go into place across Canadian provinces and many US states. These are usually put in place in spring—the time of year when roads are most susceptible to heavy trucks carving out potholes and surface gouges. Here’s what dispatchers need to know about these limits.
Why Seasonal Weight Restrictions Are Applied Across Canada and the US
Spring is a trying time for North American road surfaces. This is when snowmelt and accumulated rain water tends to saturate the soil and road base material that lies underneath the pavement, or road surface. This soaked material no longer firmly supports the surface layer that sits upon it. In effect, this lowers the road’s load bearing capacity, making it more susceptible to damage by heavy vehicles passing over it. Authorities accordingly seek to minimize damage to roads by limiting truck weight.
One of the most important things for transportation businesses to bear in mind regarding seasonal load restrictions is how they can be applied on different dates every year. This reflects the varied dates that the spring thaw can occur on, and each jurisdiction can apply different dates. Like most provinces, the Ontario Ministry of Transport publishes the timeframes and weight limitations that apply to specific zones and routes every year. This is the key information that truck drivers will need to follow to the letter.
Exceptions and Enforcement of Seasonal Weight Restrictions
While professionals with dispatch training will know these restrictions are most commonly issued in the spring, weight restrictions can also be imposed in the fall, particularly when there has been considerable rainfall. Additionally, local officials are empowered to swiftly impose restrictions or even close roads entirely to trucks if conditions warrant, meaning that transportation businesses will need to be ready to compensate with little or no warning.
While the restrictions put in place apply in a general sense to any vehicles on the road, there are a range of exceptions. Many states and provinces do not apply these rules to the likes of school buses or vehicles providing government-mandated services.
Heavier loads that exceed limits can conceivably be carried, but driver must be in possession of a permit that explicitly covers the truck’s use of a certain route during the period in question. Vehicles stopped by law enforcement and found to be in breach of restrictions can often get penalties of hundreds of dollars, and companies can even be pursued for the actual cost of repairing road damage associated with the passage of an overweight vehicle.
How Professionals With Dispatch Training Should Approach Seasonal Restrictions
Seasonal weight restrictions are nothing new to veteran graduates of dispatcher courses. They have been in place for many years, and have been adopted across Canada, many US states, and several European countries. Those in charge of dispatching vehicles should therefore account for these restrictions in the same way as other inevitable factors, such as speed limits and mandated driver rest periods.
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