With the arrival of Spring, truck operators have a new concern on the roads. A set of regulations – known as Frost Laws or Seasonal Weight Restrictions — mandating the amount of load that trucks can carry, and the speed at which these heavy vehicles can travel, to make sure the roadways, freshly thawing out of ice and snow, are not damaged when they’re at their most vulnerable state.
With the onset of the Spring melt, the roadbed becomes increasingly soft from moisture trapped beneath the pavement. The presence of moisture weakens the support strength of roads until the excess moisture drains away in due course and the roadbed becomes strong and stable again.
The most obvious winter damage on roads that anybody can see is potholes. These occur when melted water freezes and weakens the top layer. Although modern road-building technology has advanced so much that moisture in the top layer can be controlled significantly, thereby reducing the occurrence of potholes, the base and sub-base layer of the roads are still affected by run-off moisture in the spring season – from March to mid-June. And unless a Frost Law controls the pressure exerted on them, roads can easily bend and warp, rendering commute for all vehicles unsafe.
Frost Laws not only differ from state to state, the allowances change every year as well. The mandates depend on the environmental conditions through the preceding winter. And while the Frost Laws typically begin on March 1, the start date may change as well. It could begin later if the winter was unusually long and cold, or earlier if the winter weather was exceptionally warm.
In general, during the spring thaw, restrictions can reduce maximum axle weights by as much as 35%. Every state that applies Frost Laws has established maximum axle and gross vehicle weights for key national and state trucking routes.
And while private car and van owners rarely have to come face-to-face with these Frost Law restrictions, they are a major concern for trucking, transportation and construction companies, for obvious reasons. To stay complaint with the current Frost Laws of each state, they need updated information as soon as possible.
At Custom Truck One Source, safety is our prime concern, which is why we’re alerting small fleet operators and other businesses that employ specialized trucks to check into the Frost Laws applicable in the following Northern states:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Seasonal restrictions can change on short notice. Therefore, it is wise to check each state’s laws and freeze-thaw postings prior to each trip.