What is in this article?:
- Mississippi authorities will be checking for overweight grain trucks
- Decades-old bridges
- Harvest permits available
“We’ve had a lot of calls about overweight trucks running in and out of grain elevators all over the Delta and damaging state and county roads,” says Maj. Dennis Hopper, MDOT Office of Enforcement at Batesville, Miss. "MDOT Chief Willie Huff has received complaints about trucks coming into elevators weighing 100,000 to 120,000 pounds, and he is stressing that we’re going to focus on these overweight trucks."
THIS BRIDGE collapse in Mississippi, caused by an overweight truck ignoring posted limits, was “very costly” to the truck owner and its driver, Mississippi transportation officials say.
Harvest permits available
A harvest permit may be obtained that is vehicle specific and is good for one year, Hopper says. It allows a gross weight of 84,000 pounds for proper axle and length configurations. They may be issued to out-of-state trucks with an apportioned tag or a temporary Mississippi tag. Application forms for these permits may be obtained on the MDOT website.
“It’s important to know that no permit allows an overweight truck to cross a posted bridge,” he says. “If a bridge is posted, that posted weight overrules everything else — it doesn’t matter what your harvest permit says, the posted limits apply.”
It is illegal, Hopper notes, to use on-farm dyed fuel in any vehicle traveling on the state’s roadways.“This is to helpreduce tax evasion by identifying fuel on which excise taxes have not been paid, and to help reduce air pollution by identifying fuel not suitable for use in motor vehicles.
“There is a $2,000 minimum penalty — $1,000 from the state, $1,000 from the Internal Revenue Service — and it can be much higher, depending on circumstances.”
Any visible evidence of dye may result in a penalty, Hopper says, and mixing dyed fuel with regular fuel makes the entire load unsuitable for highway use and subject to penalties.
“We’ll pull a fuel sample and if it’s dyed, we send it to the IRS and they’ll bill you at as much as $10 per gallon; if you’ve got 300 gallons in the tank, that’s $3,000 to the IRS and $3,000 to the state.
“If your driver tells us he got it out of the tank on your farm, we’ll come to your farm, check the number of gallons in your tank, and you’ll pay a per-gallon fine for that. I know of one company that got a $70,000 bill for a violation.”
Mixing dyed fuel with undyed fuel makes the entire load illegal for highway use and subject to penalties, Hopper says.
“Some companies tell us they mix transmission fluid with their diesel to help keep fuel injectors clean. You should be aware that transmission fluid has the same dye as dyed fuel, and it can contaminate your diesel and put you in violation of dyed fuel regulations.”
There have been reports, he says, of thieves going onto farms and stealing dyed diesel fuel. “We will try and help when we can, but we can only try and catch them on the road. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce has personnel to actually investigate these cases, so you may want to work with them on any theft of dyed fuel.”
Our website also has a map showing truck weight limits for state roadways, Hopper says. “It is continually updated, and you can use it to check low weight roads and warn your drivers to avoid those roads. The 4,000 harvest weight permit does not apply on these roads. If we catch someone in a violation, it can be expensive. The website also has information about all the permits and application forms.”
In addition to the state roads and bridges that have posted weight limits, Hopper says farmers and truckers should be aware that counties also have weight limits on some of their roads and bridges, and “you would do well to check on this to be sure you’re in compliance all along your route of travel.”