Excessive Truck Weight:

An Expensive Burden We Can No Longer Support

CED-79-94A: Published: Jul 16, 1979. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 1979.

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GAO provided a supplement to its report on the impact heavy trucks have on highway deterioration and problems with federal and state weight enforcement efforts. A questionnaire was sent to all states to obtain information on general highway data, weight laws, and enforcement efforts. Through the responses, data were compiled on state highway mileage, maintenance needs, the impact of heavy trucks on highway conditions, and the extent of state research on weight-related issues.

States indicated that lack of funding and the consequent need to defer maintenance are presenting major problems to state highway departments. Responses on highway maintenance needs indicated that the principal problem of state highway departments was too little money to adequately maintain their highway systems. The need to defer maintenance was considered a serious problem by 32 states. Other than financial problems, states said heavy trucks and illegal overweight trucks were major causes of highway deterioration. No state felt that all their highways were capable of handling current truck volumes and weights without decreasing serviceable life. States have done much research relating to weight enforcement and the impact of heavy and overweight trucks on highway conditions. Much of this was related specifically to state needs, such as permanent scale site selection and cost allocation studies.

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