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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Progress Report: Some Motor Carrier Compliance Improvements Made, But Overweight Vehicle Penalties Not Raised, Report No. 01-45, October 2001
Full report in PDF format

The Department of Transportation (FDOT) implemented several recommendations for improving the Motor Carrier Compliance Program. OPPAGA’s 1999 report found that Florida’s overweight penalty structure failed to deter repeat and more serious violations, which do more severe damage to highways.
  •  A carrier may pay in advance for an overweight permit when a load will exceed weight limits. As OPPAGA recommended, the department reviewed its permit fee structure and found that, taken as a whole, current fees were sufficient to cover the administrative costs and the cost of road damage anticipated from advance permitted overweight vehicles.
  • The department also attempted to conduct a study to determine whether Florida’s intrastate driving time exemptions for commercial motor carriers increase the risk of crashes.  However, department managers reported that only one motor carrier was willing to participate in the study.  The experience of a single company cannot be used to draw valid conclusions for the industry.  Department managers said they may revisit Florida’s requirements for commercial motor vehicle driver hours of service next year.  Florida’s current driving time requirements preclude the state from receiving approximately $3 million in annual federal funding.
  • The department improved its data system to provide staff better access to law enforcement resources.
The Legislature did not increase penalties for truck weight violations. Existing fines are a mere nuisance to many truckers and are not graduated to increase in proportion to the amount of damage caused by the violation, which increases exponentially at higher weights. We continue to suggest that penalties should be increased to deter overloading and to help ensure that violators compensate for road damage. Our recommended fine structure would bring in an estimated $56 million in additional annual trust fund revenues.

What were our earlier findings?

Report No. 98-86  Justification Review of the Motor Carrier Compliance Program, published in June 1999.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Motor Carrier Compliance (Truck Weights and Safety)

    Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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