GROSS OVERWEIGHT AND OVERWEIGHT ON THE AXLES
New Jersey Police Officers will usually enforce the Weight Restriction Violations under either NJSA 39:3-20.3 (Overweight as to Gross Vehicle Weight - GVW) or under NJSA 39:3-84 (Overweight on the Axles). The first Violation NJSA 39:3-20.3 leads to much higher fines than the latter NJSA 39:3-84. The Fines for being overweight as to the GVW are $500 for the first 1,000 pounds and then $100 for each 1,000 pounds thereafter. Therefore if you are driving a Tractor Trailer with an 80,000 GVW restriction and are found to weigh 90,000 pounds the fine would be $1,400. The overweight on the axles ticket issued under NJSA 39:3-84 is usually a lower fine based on the weight on each axle at the scale. The fines are .02 Cents per pound up to 10,000 pounds and then .03 cents per pound thereafter. So if you are found to be 15,000 pounds overweight on your axles a fine of .03 cents per pound will be assessed totaling $330. The axle weights are determined through counting the number of axles and then calculating the distance between the first and last axle.
Steven P. Lombardi is a highly experienced New Jersey Ticket Attorney. He is a Ticket Lawyer practicing in all New Jersey Municipal Courts.
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IMPORTANT NOTE FOR VEHICLES THAT ARE UNREGISTERED OR REGISTERED AT A GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT LOWER OR HIGHER THAN ACTUAL WEIGHT LIMITS ALLOWED FOR VEHICLE
On occasion some Trucking Companies will register their vehicles in a false manner, meaning either under the allowable Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or over the weight for the Power Unit. Usually the under registration occurs on Straight Trucks where the company is seeking to operate the truck with a non-CDL licensed driver. In New Jersey, as in most jurisdictions, a Class B CDL License is required for vehicles with a GVW in excess of 26,001 pounds or Trucks that have Air Brakes. Many times the Police enforcement units will look the other way on the air brake requirement if the Straight Truck is a leased vehicle and under the 26,001 pound limit and not enforce the CDL requirement. However, if the allowable GVW for the Straight Truck is over 26,001 pound, as some 24 to 26 foot trucks are, and registered at a lower weight to be under the CDL requirement limit this offense can result in serious fines for the company and license suspensions for the drivers. Some of the Straight Trucks in the 24 to 26 foot class lengths allow GVW's of up to 33,000 pounds.
The other situation that usually occurs is trucking companies over registering the trucks for weights greater than the designated weight allowable for the truck model. This usually occurs with Landscaping Companies that register their 14,000 to 19,000 pound Dump Body Trucks into the 24,000 range to allow them to carry heavier loads as the dirt and stone they typically transport is too heavy for these types of units. If this occurs not only can the company be heavily fined for the safety violation but the company can lose its right to register any commercial vehicle in the State of New Jersey.
UNREGISTERED TRUCKS SET THE WEIGHT TO ZERO
For unregistered trucks the fines for being overweight are significant because the law allows that the GVW be set to zero for unregistered vehicles or even vehicles with expired registrations. This means that even if your Power Unit is allowed to carry a GVW load of 80,000 pounds the weight is set at zero. Therefore if you are carrying even an underweight load you will receive a summons for the entire weight hauled. If the ticket is written under NJSA 39:3-20 the fines can be tremendous. For example at 66,000 pounds you will receive a ticket for being 66,000 pounds overweight generating a potential fine of $33,000. Our firm specializes in these truck overweight violations and can obtain either a dismissal or significant downgrade in the fines.
OPERATING OVERWEIGHT ON DESIGNATED ROAD WAY
If you are found to have operated on a roadway with a weight restriction the fine is $400 for a first offense and $700 for a subsequent offense. These Road Limit Violations are also sometimes written under local ordinances and these fines vary with each Municipality. Click here for Truck Routing Regulations. Click here for a Map of the Large Truck Designated Routes. The recent Third Circuit Court Opinion of American Trucking Ass'n v Christine Todd Whitman struck down the ban that was in place forbidding 102 inch wide and double trailer trucks from operating on the New Jersey Network of roadways.
OVER HEIGHT VIOLATIONS
The maximum height allowed for any truck in New Jersey is 13 Feet 6 Inches. At the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing the Port Authority Police Department have measuring sticks to assess the height of your truck Aerodynamic Fairing that exceeds this height will make you subject to the violation.
DISPLAY OF GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT
Your Commercial Vehicle or Truck must have the Name of the Owner or Leased Operator DOT Number and the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) displayed at all times. The lettering must be three inches in height. If your company does not have a DOT Number the Municipality of operation must be displayed.
LOCATION OF PERMANENT SCALES IN NEW JERSEY
There are four permanent scales located in New Jersey although these are not always in operation recently due to some budget constraints. Temporary Scales are set usually on Route 31 and other random areas. These are located on the following roads.
Carney's Point in Salem Count at milepost 3.5 on I-295 Northbound (always open)
Piscataway Township at milepost 9.0 on I-287 Northbound (open usually weekdays only)
Greenwich Township in Warren County at milepost 4 on I-78 Westbound (Note that there is also an Eastbound scale however this is rarely open)
Knowlton Township at milepost 2.3 on I-80 Eastbound (Rarely open)
Portable Scales are also used heavily by the Port Authority Police Dept. usually set up outside the Lincoln Tunnel. These are rarely used these days.
The Bergen County Police Department also sets up random enforcement on all Bergen County Roads. The Union County Police Department also has a portable scale unit that sets up usually on Route US 1 in the Linden, Rahway or Elizabeth Areas