To Haul or Not To Haul – Overweights

Can a company fire an employee for refusing to haul an overweight load?

Can the company make me haul a load that is overweight?

Can the dispatcher make me drive in bad weather?

Can the company make me pull an unsafe trailer or drive a truck that is not safe?

The driver has the last say in what he or she “has” to do. If the company “dispatcher” tells you that you MUST pull that trailer that is unsafe, DON’T DO IT. The driver is responsible, you will take the fall, not the dispatcher or the company. Same thing goes for weather, exhaustion and fatigue, etc. it is you the driver that makes that decision. Not the dispatcher, owner or anybody else.

If I worked for a company and the dispatcher told me to haul a load that was overweight, and there was no way to get it legal, I would laugh in his/her face and tell them HELL NO! If a company is too stupid to figure out how much weight they can haul…and bids on a contract for too much weight for each load…they should not be bidding on contracts.

A friend of mine today posted a picture of a weight ticket from a CAT scale, it showed the load over 80,760 pounds.

If there was no way to slide the tandems to get it legal, and the shipper would not unload it and reload it, then somebody else would be pulling that load. Pulling an overloaded trailer is not only dangerous, but it is illegal. Plus there is so much risk involved in doing it. What would have happened if a car would have made a mistake and hit the truck overloaded?

It would be the driver of the tractor trailers fault automatically because of the overweight load. What would have happened if the truck was pulled over routinely? The driver would probably receive whatever ticket for the reason they were pulled over for plus an overweight ticket. What would have happened if something had broken on the trailer, or the truck? The company could use it to fire you, or make you pay for the broken part. There is too much risk involved with hauling an overweight load, when you are NOT PERMITTED to do so. Even if a dispatcher were too “suggest” to the driver to go a different route to avoid the scales DON’T DO IT.

A truck driver cannot legally be fired for refusing to haul a non-permitted overweight load, or to drive an unsafe truck or trailer. If there truly is nothing you can do to either fix the overweight or make the equipment safe. Even if the company says you MUST DO IT! If the driver does do it, the driver is held responsible for anything that happens. If a driver is fired and has the proof to show that the load was overweight and or the equipment was unsafe to drive or pull. Then, the first phone call I would make, would be to a lawyer for a wrongful termination suit.

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I'm just a EX-truck driver, trying to pass along a little information. I been in the Trucking Industry as a driver for over 15 years. I have driven both as an owner operator and as a company driver. I have also been a driver instructor for an accredited truck driving school in KY. I am no longer a truck driver, but I consider myself to be a watchdog for the trucking industry. In fact this site is the #1 site for getting the real news about trucking. We don't hold back here, you will hear the full story. Twitter | Contact Me |Truck Drivers News Facebook
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5 Responses to To Haul or Not To Haul – Overweights

  1. Asia Reeves (Diesel Lady) says:

    So many times we do things due to financial motives. We sometimes get afraid and think, “What if I lose my job”? Your post helped bring things back into perspective. My freedom is more important than my livelihood. What if a car had hit the truck? What if a roadside inspection had occurred? The company would have backed away leaving the driver with 100% of the responsibility to face fines and or charges.

    Thanks for giving us a clear picture of what’s really at stake. When it comes to trucking, looking out for #1 is the most important thing a driver can do.


    • Asia, thanks for commenting. Essentially it looks like a “favor” was being done to get the load moved. I learned a LONG time ago doing “favors” will get you no where. Companies, will NOT back drivers up when something goes wrong while doing a “favor” for them.

      When I was driving a truck I lived by “CYA”- Cover your ass…A driver always has to put themselves first.

      A real quick story that happened to me just last winter. I ran into a “white-out” while running through the Northern part of Ohio one day. I called my dispatch up and told him I was pulling over for a while to see what was going to happen with this snow.

      His reply: “Yea, no since in losing a truck, due to the weather” He was NOT at all concerned about me as a driver. Just his truck…never mentioned me at all.

      Anyway, just glad nothing serious came out of the situation…Trust me everybody has been in the same situation.

  2. Chuck says:

    You are so right that the companies don’t care one bit.I fell and broke my elbow in 2007 and called my dm and all he said was he had to let safety dept know. I had to fly home from Fl to Ca and have surgery. I did not hear one word from the company for 6 weeks and were always told were number 1 (BS!!).

  3. Chuck says:

    Oh yea,never haul anything that would cause you to lose your license or your Life.
    The company is not worth it.

  4. ron says:

    In 2007, I was assigned to pick up a heavy haul load in California to deliver to LA. The bills of lading showed only gross weight, there was no scale at the shipper, and the load was sealed.

    I did the company a favor some months prior, and took the same type of unverifiable load from a shipper with no scales, and got an overweight ticket which the company refused to pay.

    I learned that lesson and applied it to the California episode, and so, refused to move it until they figured out how to get it scaled FIRST (the lack of scales at the shipper will not shield you from an overweight ticket).

    They left me sitting in the bobtail for two weeks(I never watched so many rerun dvds on my laptop in my life!), then gave me a load to come back to my state. When I got back to the shop, there was disciplinary report highlighting that I refused to move the load because I wanted to make sure it was legal before placing it on the road, and the shipper had no scales. The report said one more such notice and I’d be terminated. I signed the report, quit the job, and am now involved in a wrongful constructive discharge lawsuit. Take a wild guess at the company you think i worked for :)

    “breaker one nine, this here’s the rubber duck, you got a copy on me pig-pen, come on?”

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