Every truck driver knows how poorly some bridge and road weight limits are marked. Missing a sign with the Pennsylvania bridge weight limit can result in dangerous driving conditions and possible legal ramifications.

One truck driver learned this the hard way in September 2014 when he mistakenly crossed the Pollacks Mill Bridge. According to the driver, he didn’t see a marked weight limit so he followed the directions of his GPS across the bridge. Unfortunately, the Pollacks Mill Bridge has a 4 ton weight limit that was much lighter than his 16.5 ton truck, causing a partial collapse of the bridge that resulted in his firm paying a settlement of $245,000 for repairs.

The driver himself was given a fine of $10,297.50 for disobeying a traffic control device and operating a vehicle that exceeded the Pennsylvania bridge weight limit as well as the weight limit for the road leading up to it.

What CDL Drivers Should Know About the Pennsylvania Bridge Weight Limit

Every CDL driver needs to know the exact weight of their truck. If your tanker, concrete transport truck, log carrier, or any other large truck exceeds the Pennsylvania bridge weight limit (or the weight limit of any road), you cannot drive on that bridge. Weight limits are set to keep both you and other drivers on the road safe, and the Pollacks Mill Bridge incident shows the financial and physical ramifications when a Pennsylvania bridge weight limit is violated.

Normally, a GPS for trucks can help a truck driver avoid bridges and roads with light weight limits. However, GPS devices are imperfect and cannot be solely relied on. If a truck driver does find themselves about to enter a road or about to cross a bridge for which they would exceed the weight limit, they should stop and turn around. If turning around safely and legally is impossible, call for assistance from a local police officer or your dispatch.

A Pennsylvania Bridge Weight Limit is Extra Important in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is nicknamed the City of Bridges for good reason, with over 446 bridges located within the city’s limits according to a University of Pittsburgh professor. This makes the city especially difficult for truck drivers to navigate, with each bridge having its own weight limit.

Even worse, a 2011 report found that the Pittsburgh metropolitan area has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges throughout the United States. Driving in Pittsburgh not only puts truck drivers at risk for unexpected Pennsylvania bridge weight limit violations, but at an immense safety risk as well.

What to Do If You Violate a Pennsylvania Bridge Weight Limit

As you can see from Pollacks Mill Bridge incident, the state of Pennsylvania places heavy fines for truck drivers caught breaking the law. These Pennsylvania bridge weight limit violations are serious legal issues and you should secure legal representation that has experience defending truck drivers in a wide variety of violations.

Based out of Pittsburgh, PA, Joyce & Bittner have a thorough understanding of Pennsylvania transportation law, defending truck drivers and helping them stay on the road for 25 years. If you have been charged with a violation relating to driving your truck, call (412) 281-9919.