Cargo Weight Guide

1) Maximum Legal Gross Weight = Weight of Truck, Fuel, Chassis, Container and Cargo. Cannot Exceed 80,000lbs. in Texas.

2) Maximum Axle Weight – No single axle may exceed 20,000lbs. No tandem axle may exceed 34,000lbs. No tri-tandem axle group may exceed 42,000lbs. [see variable #6]

Texas State Permits

Carrier’s can purchase a 2060/1547 permit from the State of Texas or the county in order to increase the legal gross weight limit by 5% over legal gross and 10% over legal axle. This permit is only good on State highways and must be done annually on a truck by truck basis. It is not good on Interstate highways and just because a truck line shows you one does not mean their entire fleet is permitted. Clarification on this point will reduce your exposure.

The Bridge

Maximum legal gross weight assumes the bridge (see below definition) is sufficient to support 80,000lbs. Depending on the equipment, the maximum weight limit may not reach 80,000lbs. A standard 20’ chassis hooked to a conventional tractor will not qualify for 80,000lbs. because the bridge is not sufficient. Hence, the need to run slider tandem and tri-axle equipment to handle heavy loads.

A) Outer Bridge – The distance from the center of the steering axle of the truck to the center of the last chassis/trailer axle.

B) Inner Bridge – The distance between the first drive axle to the center of the last trailer axle. Bridge laws are in place to displace wear and tear on our highways by ensuring proper load distribution. Note: TXDOT provides a Permissible Weight Table listing on their web site. This chart will break down the bridge distance in feet and associated allowed tolerances.


If a load is overweight, you can buy a permit. In Texas, there is no way to permit a divisible load outside of the 2060/1547 permit noted above. If the load is divisible, you must break it down at a port facility or the cargo is going to move illegally. If the cargo is not divisible, you can purchase a single trip permit on a load by load basis. An example of cargo that would be approved for a single trip permit would be a large piece of machinery that could not be broken down.

Tire Rating

Load limit determined by the manufacturer. Tire rating is added to the inner bridge limit to help determine gross weight.

Truck Weight

Conventional Truck Weight w/ Fuel
17,000lbs. – 19,500lbs.
The vast majority of owner operators operate used conventional trucks, which allow them to handle both local and over-the-road deliveries.

Chassis Tare Weight
[specs may vary +/- 5% depending on manufacturer]
20’ Slider = 6,600 lbs | 40‘ = 6,800 lbs | Triaxle = 9,600 lbs
20’x40‘ Combo Triaxle = 10,700 lbs

Container Tare Weight
[specs may vary +/- 5% depending on manufacturer]
20’ = 5,000 lbs | 40’ = 8,300 lbs | 40’HC = 8,900 lbs
Reefer = 10,900 lbs

Axle Weight
The axle groupings and distance between them determine maximum permissible axle weight. See limits listed under ‘maximum axle weight’.