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The Truck is Overweight, and has been Detained


The truck has loaded your shipment, and has then proceeded along the highway, where it has been stopped at a government inspection scale, and found to be overweight.

The truck has been charged with being overweight (and there could also be a charge pending against the shipper), and the truck is being detained at the roadside scale under enforcement supervision until enough freight can be shifted or removed to make the truck road-legal.

It is illegal for a shipper to load a truck in a way that makes it overweight, and it is illegal for a driver to drive an overweight truck. Being put officially “out-of-service” and parked at a roadside scale house is the result.


  1. The carrier has advised us of the situation, and we will advise you.
  2. We are working with the carrier to locate either:
    a) a local crew with a truck and a forklift that can come out to the government scale to rework / remove enough freight to make the truck road legal; or,
    b) a nearby cartage company or warehouse that the truck can be moved to under supervision in order to have the freight reworked / removed at that location, to make the truck road legal.
  3. We will advise you of what we and the carrier are able to arrange, and what the approximate charges will be.
    Fair warning: this will be an expensive and time-consuming process, it will be performed under the control of enforcement personnel, it is subject to enforcement review and approval when it has been completed, and there is no alternative strategy or solution set available.
  4. If the freight is moving subject to temperature control, we will also advise you that, given the roadside circumstances, we cannot guarantee that the carrier will be able to maintain temperature control, and the carrier will not accept liability for maintaining temperature control on a shipment found to be illegally loaded.
  5. As the plan proceeds, we will advise you of progress. When the rework / removal has been completed, we will give you a revised delivery ETA, and we will provide an estimate of the costs incurred.
  6. If freight has been removed from the trailer in order to make it road legal, we will provide you an estimate of the cost to have the removed freight shipped from its current location to the receiver’s, or back to the shipper’s if that is you preference. We will ask you to approve this, as any removed freight will not be able to be left or stored at its current location.


Usually a shipper who overloads a truck does so unwittingly. This is almost always the case if the overweight is on a single axle and the corresponding gross weight is legal.

However, on occasion a shipper overloads a truck in an effort to save on shipping costs. Governments view this as creating a safety hazard on the public highways in order to achieve a small personal saving, and have prescribed penalties accordingly.


A crew or warehouse is located, and within 24-48 hours the freight is re-worked. It is usually necessary to cut the load, either because the truck is overweight on gross weight, or because a full unload and re-load is difficult under the circumstances. The truck is then re-weighed and, if found to be legal, allowed to proceed with the reduced shipment. Freight that has been removed is picked up and delivered later that week or the next.

There will be significant costs and delays that arise from an overloaded truck being detained at a roadside government scale.

The costs can easily exceed $1,000, and the total delays can be as much as a week.