I have been out here on the road for over 40 years. You learn your equipment, your customers and the type of freight they ship. When hauling the same type of freight repeatedly, if a shipper tells you the commodity weighs 42,000 lb. and, if you have hauled it before, you know where to set your axles. Example: You pick up 20 pallets of melons, weigh your trailer and find it is OK. Next week and the following weeks you repeat and find they all weigh close to the same. Soon you may feel it is not necessary to weigh the load because you know what it should be.
Recently, I picked up the same 20 pallets of melons. I left the shipper heading toward the nearest scale to make sure the load was legal. The first commercial scale was 80 miles up the road with a state scale in between. No problem, right? Wrong! When I pulled onto the state scale the scale master came out with his clipboard and a big smile.
“I got you, you’re 2,300 lb. over gross,” the state official crowed.
“What? I only have 20 pallets of melons on board,” I said in disbelief.
He quickly responded, “I’ve heard that a lot today. Take your paperwork, license, and registration inside.”
I received a $115.00 citation. I hauled the load for little or no profit. I am not in business to haul freight for nothing. What did I do wrong?
I had become complacent.
I took it for granted that the 20 pallets of melons were the same type that I had hauled in the past, but they weren’t. The shipper had added a layer to those pallets which added an additional 160 cases to the pallets. In reality, the 160 cases added 6400 lb. to my load. No wonder I was over gross. One expensive lesson learned.
NEVER take anything for granted. Whether it be your equipment, your route, or the freight you put on you truck. Check and recheck. Make sure everything is correct BEFORE you move. Don’t get a D.A. award for taking thing for what they should be and not for what they really are.