Nine Midwest states agree on uniform truck weight limits during disasters

February 3, 2022

Tyson Fisher

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Delivering loads for natural disaster relief efforts can be tricky with a patchwork of state regulations. States in the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials organization are working together to establish more uniform weight limits.

Recently, member states of the association have identified acceptable “emergency divisible load” truck weights for disasters in the region. Those 10 states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The policy expands emergency interstate truck weights from 80,000 pounds to a permitted weight of 88,000 pounds, with no more than a 10% increase per axle. These weights are only minimums. Individual states may allow heavier permitted weights.

Consistent truck weight limits across state lines may expedite movement of emergency supplies during extreme flooding, tornadoes, pandemics and other disasters.

The new weight limit policy applies to presidentially-declared major disasters.

According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, this first-in-the-nation unified permitting approach enables better coordination of multistate transportation of critical loads. Nine of the 10 states will implement the new truck weight strategy. Kentucky is the one holdout.

“We learned the importance of working regionally during the pandemic and are using those lessons to be better prepared for the next disaster,” Julie Lorenz, president of the association and Kansas secretary of transportation, said in a statement. “We need to help truckers speed delivery to communities by setting the same emergency weight limits and cutting red tape before the disaster hits.”

Lorenz also said she hopes this truck weight unification will spark similar harmonization of state regulations through the nation.

According to a news release, more than $6 billion worth of goods move across the 10-state region’s freight corridors each year. More than 70% of the total freight value of all modes moves by trucks. By weight, 66% of all tonnage is moved on trucks across the 10 states.

In April 2020, transportation officials in the 10 member states made efforts to permit overweight freight shipments to expedite the process of moving crucial supplies. The also relaxed CDL regulations to ensure as many truckers as possible were moving freight. Furthermore, the 10 states eased license and registration renewal requirements to prevent the need to make an additional trip to a department of motor vehicles, further exposing drivers to public contact.

For more information about the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials, go to MAASTO.net.

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Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.