Author Archives: Chip Howard

A dump truck with a trailing axle in order to be federal bridge law compliant for larger weights
Understanding Federal Bridge Laws

If you own a truck or a truck fleet, you must understand federal bridge laws. Nothing can stop a business in its tracks as quickly as a big fine for an overweight truck or a side-lined truck in your fleet.

Keep reading to learn how you can comply with federal bridge laws in all parts of the United States.

Federal Bridge Laws and Formulas

Federal Highway Administration and Federal Bridge Formula Weights determine the proper bridge weight formula, the weight a vehicle should be for a given bridge. The law states the amount of weight a vehicle may be depending on the number of axles and the distance between the axles.

This weight limit refers specifically to traveling on the Interstate highway system. So if you have trucks transporting heavy equipment on Interstate systems, you must understand the federal bridge laws.

To understand the bridge formula, you must first understand the terms.

  • W refers to the overall gross weight on any group of two or more consecutive axles to the nearest 500 pounds.
  • N refers to the number of axles in the group under consideration
  • L refers to the distance in feet between the outer axles of any group of two or more consecutive axles
  • the Federal Bridge Formula is thus W = 500 [ LN/N-1 + 12N + 36]

Here’s how to work your way through the formula to make sure you have the right weight. Begin with the inner part of the brackets.

  1. Multiply the number of axles times the distance in feet between the outer axles of any group of two or more consecutive axles.
  2. Then subtract one from the number of axles in the group under consideration.
  3. Divide your first number by your second number.
  4. Multiple 12 times N (the number of axles)
  5. Add that number to the number from step 3.
  6. Add 36 to the number you have from step 5.
  7. Multiply this final number times 500.

This final number is the maximum gross weight allowed. This means the truck and its load may not weigh more than this final number.

How The Federal Bridge Formula Works

You need to understand three basic definitions to understand the Bridge Formula.

  1. Gross Weight: This number refers to the weight of the vehicle and its load. You may not have a vehicle with more than an 80,000-pound gross weight unless the Bridge Formula makes the weight limit lower.
  2. Single-Axle Weight: This weight number refers to the total weight on single axles not spaced more than 40 inches apart from other axles. You may not legally have more than 20,000 pounds on a single axle when traveling on the Interstate System.
  3. Tandem-Axle Weight: This refers to the total weight on consecutive axles with centers spaced between 41 and 96 inches apart. On the Interstate System, the Federal government limits your tandem-axle weight to 34,000 pounds.

The history of truck production helps best explain the Bridge formula. Post World War II, truck manufacturers began to produce heavier trucks. As a result, the federal government became concerned about the wear and tear on bridges.

Thus, the federal government adopted axle and gross weight limits on the Interstate System in 1956. Some states were allowed to “grandfather” or keep higher weight limits.

The number of axles and the distance between axles help create a formula that protects bridges and keeps trucks and drivers safer when driving on aging infrastructure.

For example, a single-axle weight limit takes the place of the Bridge Formula weight limit on axles that are less than 40 inches apart. The tandem-axle weight limit takes the place of the Bridge Formula weight limit when the axles are between 40 and 96 inches apart.

So when you have two axles that are 97 inches apart, the truck may carry 38,000 pounds.

State Specific Laws

Each state has its own weight-limit statutes as well. These have clauses which include a level of restriction on state weight limits. This way states can still receive Federal funds because they’re complying with Federal requirements.

If a state were to not follow the Federal provisions, they run the risk of losing essential Federal funds for not complying.

States comply in a few different ways. Many pay close attention to Federal law changes. Then they require their legislature or their State Department to raise limits when the Federal law changes. The states may also require the legislature or State Department to increase the weight limits if their current laws do not comply with Federal law.

Most states have two different weight limits. They have one for State highways and another for Interstate highways. Often the weight-limit laws do not state the specific limits for Interstates in the statute, though, because the Federal law makes that clear.

In Connecticut, Nebraska, Hawaii, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Wyoming, and Washington, the weight limit in the law is actually higher than the Federal Limits for Interstate travel. However, the statutes have a Federal compliance clause. This clause protects states from losing Federal funding by stating that Federal weight limits still apply to the Interstate system.

Research the state where you plan on trucking to learn its specific requirements. You are responsible for knowing and following the laws where you travel and work.

Best Practices

Ultimately, truck owners and fleet owners must make sure their trucks comply with the laws of the states they visit. You can ensure compliance by making sure your weight does not exceed the limitations of the state or the federal formula.

Measure your axles. Know your truck dimensions. Do not fib on the weight of the truck.

Then make sure you’re keeping your truck in good working order. If you’re not sure about specifics for truck inspection, hire a professional service for your truck inspection.

Federal bridge laws exist to protect roads, bridges, and the trucks that travel on them. If you know the law and follow it, you have nothing to worry about. If you skip a step and try to guess the weight of your truck, you’ll end up with a hefty fine and a sidelined truck.

As you can see, there are many factors involved in choosing the right equipment while staying compliant with federal and state laws. We have product specialists ready to assist you in finding the right products and options for your needs. Contact us to get started!


Freightliner M2106 LK 2000 Gallon Water Truck
Water Trucks: 6 Useful Applications

Wherever there is a need for bulk water on wheels, there are water trucks with the right capacity (from 500 to 5,000 gallons) to service it.

These specialized vehicles carry large water tanks. The tanks have controlled spray nozzles mounted on the side or front to disburse water as needed. They’re simple, one-job trucks, but when you study their applications, it is easy to see why they’re in high demand. Not just seasonally, but year round, they are extremely popular trucks to buy or rent.

# 1: Dust Control

Construction, quarrying, and mining create a lot of dust. Wherever there are large-scale earth-moving operations, dust is an inevitable byproduct that impedes work and poses health risks (such as bronchitis, eye and lung irritation, asthma, and heart disease) for crews.

Water trucks are lifesavers in such scenarios. They work alongside digging crews, spraying water on clouds of rising dust to suppress them and keep the air clear for improved visibility and breath-ability.

# 2: Soil Compaction

The second crucial role that water trucks play in digging sites is soil compaction. The presence of moisture in soil affects its density. But if an optimum balance of water and soil particles is not maintained, the ground condition can be either too dry or too wet for industrial work. By using water trucks, compaction can be achieved and controlled. Because the amount of water can be calibrated, one can create whatever soil density is required during a specific project.

# 3: Agricultural Applications

Drought is one of the worst natural disasters that impacts the agricultural sector in the United States. It can cause billions of dollars of losses when water is in short supply.

The most infamous spell of drought in the nation’s recent history occurred during 2011-2016 in the Midwest and West Coast. This first brought water trucks into the spotlight as emergency irrigation equipment. States like California, especially its central valley area which grows more than half of the country’s produce, were losing vast quantities of crop. Livestock was also dying on farmlands for lack of drinking water.

Many steps were taken at the time to fight the drought. In 2008, for example, shade balls – plastic floating balls – were dropped into reservoirs to prevent water evaporation. Cloud-seeding programs, a process of releasing chemicals into the sky to artificially mimic weather conditions that encourage rainfall, were launched. Funds were secured to tackle different aspects of the water shortage.

But what about short-term solutions?

Farmers needed some sort of water supply to irrigate their land and hydrate their cattle immediately, and water trucks fulfilled this pressing need. They could carry both potable and non-potable water into rural areas to fill tanks for agriculture and water troughs for animals. They were capable of travelling through rural areas to go wherever someone needed their services.

What people primarily considered mining equipment until that time is now a fixture in farmland applications over the past few years. Now water truck rentals are even helping farmers reduce water waste by matching tank size to their specific volume needs.

# 4: Firefighting

In rural areas, where there are no fire hydrants, local fire companies keep an inventory of known water sources. This includes natural ponds, lakes, stored water tanks, etc. so they can use fire pumpers to pull water from these sources.

But what if there are no bodies of water geographically within reach in the event of a fire?

Water trucks are the quickest and easiest source of water in such circumstances, because they are portable and can travel to the fire. They also help fire companies be proactive by dampening ground that falls in a fire’s path to stop its progress.

# 5: Emergency Services

When natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes strike, the first requirements to rehabilitate a community are safe shelter and drinking water. Those in charge routinely deploy water trucks into crisis zones on such occasions. They help emergency management workers with a ready supply of safe, drinking water.

# 6: Urban Community Services

Water trucks find various applications in urban communities, too. Filling swimming pools is a common job handled by bulk water delivery companies. Landscaping projects with decorative water installations, like fishponds and waterfalls, also use them.

Want to buy or rent a water truck? We have what you need!

Custom Truck One Source, America’s leading provider of specialized trucks, sells and rents 2,000-gallon and 4,000-gallon water trucks – the two most popular models in the market – built by Load King. Our customers can purchase or rent water trucks on a variety of chassis brands and models.

With superior technological and build advantages, like individually air-controlled spur heads, Berkeley-style pumps that perform both suction and discharge, and strategically located baffles, we offer a variety of features and add-ons that our competitors don’t.

Call us at 844-282-1838 or email us at We’re standing by to help you!


Water Trucks for Sale and Rent
What You Need to Know About the Many Uses of Water Trucks

What are water trucks used for?

Water trucks – specialized vehicles equipped with large tanks in the rear for transporting water and controlled spray nozzles for distributing it – are a familiar sight in a variety of sectors such as civil construction, mining, farming and fire control.

The advantages they offer by transporting and disbursing both potable and recycled water can be put to a variety of uses too, and we will discuss them below so you can see how the addition of a water truck can actually improve operations in your own business.

# 1: Dust Control

Construction and mining sites kick up a lot of dust that would impede progress without water trucks with 2,000-4,000-gallon tanks that tamp down dust very efficiently by following a grading equipment that is leveling and preparing soil for work.

Dusty jobsites not only slow down work but increase health risks such as eye and lung irritation, bronchitis, asthma and heart disease, and by dampening dust, water trucks remove them from the air that miners and construction workers are breathing.

# 2: Firefighting

Water trucks are especially useful in remote, rural areas where there are no fire hydrants to help put out fires. These trucks transport water needed by firefighters to not only control fires but dampening fire-prone areas that are likely to be consumed in the blaze.


ICUEE 2019


# 3: Soil Compaction

Soil must be compacted to create a flat, even ground at construction sites so that buildings, roads, bridges etc. can be built safely. When soil is compacted with heavyweight compacting tools like rollers, rammers and vibratory plates, the air component is removed from the soil while keeping the water content intact.

Too much water will make the ground sludgy and unstable. Too little water will not let the dry soil particles adhere to each other either. Water trucks not only provide a portable and ready water source at construction sites, they also provide just the right amount of liquid to maintain good water to soil ratio to create strong and stable compaction.

# 4: Farming

The agricultural sector in the United States started using water trucks during the severe drought that was experienced throughout the Midwest and West Coast of the country between 2011-2016.

When rains fail, these trucks carry recycled water to affected farmlands so irrigation can continue, and both crops and livestock can be saved.


Interested in buying a water truck?

Contact us at Custom Truck One Source, the nation’s single-largest provider of specialized trucks and heavy equipment.

Check out our vast inventory by clicking HERE.


Dump Truck Lineup
7 Reasons Why Custom Truck One Source Rules the Dump Truck Market

Need a dump truck? Have a particular set of specs in mind? Want to see the widest product range? Looking for financing?

Come to Custom Truck One Source! We’re the leading single-source company for dump trucks in the United States, and both major companies and independent operators with modest fleets enjoy a variety of advantages when they choose to work with us.

# 1: We Have Multiple Locations

We’re located all over the country, so you don’t have to come to us. We come to you!

# 2: Our Inventory is Unbeatable

We have the largest inventory of dump trucks in the United States, on the ground and ready to go!

# 3: We Offer a Variety of Specs

There could be over 50 dump trucks all with different specs. We have a variety of specs to choose from on a variety of chassis.

# 4: We Are Region-Compatible

We offer region-specific options in dump trucks that will work anywhere, from California to the Northeast.


ICUEE 2019


# 5: We Offer Real Solutions

Retail sale, wholesale, rental, lease or RPO – we customize options to suit your budget and needs. We also offer in-house financing, which takes that concern off the table for you.

# 6: We Are Well-Stocked Throughout The Year

Our stock doesn’t run low in the last quarter of the year when people actually want to invest in equipment rather than pay tax.

# 7: We Sell Super Dumps

Custom Truck One Source carries the largest range of Super Dumps, so our customers never have to compromise on their choice of one.


Contact us about your dump truck needs today! We’ll have the right solution that will work the best for you.


Super Dump - Dump Trucks
What are Super Dumps – and Why They’re So Special!

There are several kinds of dump trucks on the market, designed for different payloads and different operational needs. And spec’ing them out at the time of purchase can be a pretty complex business.

For example, you have to understand not only the maximum weight a dump truck can haul, but also its total gross weight. State laws don’t have uniform regulations about dump truck weight limits. Therefore, it’s really important to understand weight regulations in the states you’re going to operate in. That’s how to make sure you’re not breaking any law.

Federal Bridge Law

All trucks have a maximum weight they can carry. The federal bridge formula stipulates these. This calculation involves total gross weight and the weight on each axle and axle group.

Invented more than 30 years ago, Super Dumps, or super 10 dump trucks, maximize not just the gross weight they can carry, but also the payload and profitability as well. Super Dumps haul more material in the least amount of time. This means increased revenue over the lifetime of the vehicle.

How do they do this?

With a nifty addition of a load-bearing trailing axle that increases the length of the vehicle.

Weight restrictions exist to make sure our roads and bridges don’t flounder under excessive weight. To ensure this, the weight of the dump truck has to be properly spaced out according to the stresses that bridges and roads are designed to hold.

For a regular tandem dump truck, having 3 axles and spanning 22 ft, the limit for the gross weight is 52,500 lbs. If you add a pusher axle, it now has 4 axles, even though the overall span remains 22 feet. And commensurately, the allowance has also increased to 56,500 lbs.

If we add the Super Dump’s trailing axle to the back of the truck, the length automatically increases to 34 ft (instead of 22), and with 4 axles, the allowance also increases to 64,500 lbs.

The trailing axle stores above the vehicle, well out of the way when not needed, to facilitate dumping operations. And by storing it off the ground, the Super Dump truck has all the maneuverability, quickness and agility of a short-wheel based tandem truck. On command.

This is what makes Super Dumps so special.

Additional Benefits of a Super Dump

And that’s not all!

To maximize the amount of legal gross weight, Super Dumps can be equipped with 3 pusher axles. This means there are 7 axles in total, spread out over 34 ft. This means it qualifies to carry the maximum gross weight allowed on the interstate: 80,000 lbs!

The body of the Super Dump has been rigorously engineered to dump easily and quickly with all unnecessary weight eliminated. From the shape of the bed to the shape of the tailgate, the same high-strength steel is in every component. And the precise placement of the body on the truck chassis further helps in optimum weight distribution.

IntelliTruck, an advanced on-board control system, uses robust mobile electronics and streamlined custom components, to reduce the number of wires needed (and potential failure points) by over 60%, for long-lasting, trouble-free performance and dependability. Plus the color Control Monitor makes it the easiest-to-operate system in the dump truck industry. That’s thanks to descriptive buttons, on-screen illustrations, informative notifications, status screens, and operator error prevention.

Since Super Dumps came to market in 1989, they have proven to be particularly useful for asphalt and concrete paving applications. But they’re also the most profit-boosting option for any operation that’s looking to haul and shift the most amount of material in the shortest possible time!


13 Truck Safety Tips
13 Tips to Keep Your Truck Operational in Winter

Winter weather is hard for any commuter trying to get from Point A to Point B, fighting slow-moving traffic, snow storms, ice and blizzard. But for trucks – and truck drivers – the winter weather-beaten roadways are even more of a challenge because their livelihood depends on it. And timely pick-up and delivery of goods is of the essence.

To keep your trucks in good working order, so you don’t have to deal with unexpected breakdowns that will only compound your problems during these cold months, here are 13 things you can do make sure your vehicle runs smoothly during extreme cold weather. These tips are particularly useful for OTR trucks that are travelling from warmer, southern parts of the country to freezing northern states:


Winter Tips for Drivers


Resource: All State
Improved Safety Features: New Growth Area In Vocational Truck Specs

Vocational trucks represented less than 6% of new Class 8 vehicle registrations in 2017. The niche nature of the market means innovations are often slow to catch on. But that said, more and more technologies initially for on-road fleets are now migrating to vocational trucks. As an older generation of drivers is phasing out of the workforce, a younger generation is replacing them with a modern outlook that readily embraces technology to improve drivability, safety and overall job-related performance. From a fleet management point of view, adopting safety features affords long-term benefits. They reduce operational costs and retain a healthy and experienced workforce for the long term.

Safety-related specs are one of several innovations for vocational trucks and are currently a major area of interest:


Working in closed urban neighborhoods and sharing busy, congested road space with an increasing number of passenger cars, safety is one of the most pressing concerns with vocational trucks these days.

As of now, over-the-road fleets definitely have an advantage over vocational ones when it comes to advanced safety specs like tire pressure management systems, active driving systems, automatic braking, human detection systems, side-looking vehicle detection systems etc.

Features such as these would make vocational trucks safer on the roads, especially for young, inexperienced operators. However, they are still not so commonplace that you can spec them easily from OEMs.

But that day is soon coming.

Vocational trucks often work in more dynamic, unpredictable and congested environments than long-haul trucks, and the more safety features they can be fortified with the better it’s going to look for a business’ bottom line with less chances of accidents, injuries, escalating healthcare and insurance costs etc.


The manual gearbox is becoming antiquated in vocational fleets. This is especially true in medium-duty applications where driving is only a part of the job.

Automated and automatic transmissions are already here. They are definitely the way of the future. As the workforce gets younger, new drivers find it easier to transition safely into the job with automatic transmission. Thanks to these two-pedal transmissions, there is one less distraction on the road. Additionally, there’s less physical fatigue that results from clutching and shifting a manual transmission.

And it isn’t just improved driver health and safety that reduces maintenance costs in the long run either.

Automatic and automated transmissions are offering application-related features that are congruent with the very specific needs of construction companies, road pavers, cement mixers and other vocations in which old-timer operators have traditionally been biased in favor of three pedals to get tasks done.

The amazing versatility of these transmissions on jobsites and on highways mean less burnt-out clutches and broken axles, improved vehicle maneuverability, fuel economy etc. – which all add up to make fleet management more robust and operationally less expensive in the long run.