INDIANAPOLIS — Motor carriers operating in Indiana will soon be allowed to haul heavier loads of certain products, according to the state’s Department of Revenue. However, they must first apply for permits and adhere to restrictions designed to minimize the damage to the state’s highways and interstates.
Indiana HEA 1190, which takes effect July 1, contains several changes to Indiana’s oversize and overweight (OSW) motor carrier laws, including expanding Indiana’s Overweight Commodity Permit to include materials other than metal and agricultural products.
Under the new law, carriers can apply for a single-trip Overweight Commodity permit for divisible loads exceeding 2.4 equivalent single axle loads (ESAL) and weighing 80,000 to 120,000 pounds. Although the law allows only 8,500 of these permits annually, there are no limits on the number of annual permits issued for divisible loads less than 2.4 ESALs. An ESAL, or equivalent single axle load, is a unit designed by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHTO) to measure the damage done to roadways.
Previously, motor carriers not hauling metal or agricultural products were ineligible for an Overweight Commodity Permit and would need to make multiple trips or use multiple vehicles to meet the lower weight threshold.
Carriers who obtained an OSW Commodity Permit before Jan. 1, 2021, will be grandfathered into the new law, in certain circumstances: Single-trip permits will not count towards the annual limit if they haul only the commodity requested on the prior permit and do not exceed the previous weight thresholds of:
- Up to 120,000 pounds for metal.
- Up to 97,000 pounds for agricultural carriers and those who haul logs, wood chips, tree bark or sawdust under an OSW Agricultural Commodity permit.
Fines for violating OSW rules will also change. Deviating from the approved route or substituting a different vehicle than what is listed on the permit will be considered a violation and subject to civil penalties. Carriers could pay up to the following amounts for OSW violations:
- Up to $1,000 (formerly $500) for the first permit violation;
- Up to $1,500 (formerly $1,000) for each subsequent permit violation;
- Up to $5,000 for hauling an OSW load without the proper permit; and
- Up to $10,000 per violation for transporting loads too large or heavy to qualify for an OSW permit.
Among other OSW-related measures, HEA 1190 also:
- Instructs Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to change permit fees no later than Oct. 1.
- Allows INDOT to temporarily increase the number of OSW permits for divisible loads issued in response to an emergency or changes in market conditions.
- Allows INDOT to suspend overweight divisible load permitting if they observe increases in infrastructure damage on a permitted route or the number of accidents associated with these loads.
Most Indiana OSW permits are issued by the Indiana Department of Revenue’s Motor Carrier Services (MCS) department, under the guidance and rules set by the Indiana Department of Transportation and in accordance with Indiana law. MCS issues and collects civil penalties for OSW violations issued by Indiana State Police.
For more information about Indiana’s OSW permits, click here.