| Read Time: 2 minutes | Glossary

If you’re unfamiliar with commercial trucks or recreational vehicles, you might be wondering, What does GVWR mean?

The vehicle’s total weight is its GVWR, meaning gross vehicle weight rating.

The GVWR of a truck differs from its towing capacity.

Read on for a more in-depth GVWR definition and to learn about how it impacts towing and commercial driver’s license requirements.

What Is GVWR and Why Does It Matter?

GVWR refers to the maximum weight of a vehicle based on engineering standards set forth by the manufacturer.

Components other than the vehicle body are factored into GVWR weight, meaning GVWR is the weight of the empty truck plus anything else, such as passengers, cargo, fuel, and other fluids.

However, it does not include other things, such as a trailer. Important factors in determining the GVWR include the frame’s strength, suspension, axles, and wheels.

If the truck is towing a trailer, the tongue weight will count against the GVWR.

Knowing a vehicle’s GVWR is important because drivers need a specific commercial driver’s license based on a truck’s weight.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues standards on CDL licensing and state testing standards. 

GVWR also determines where a truck can and cannot go. Drivers need to pay attention to the rules of the road they are on, as every state has its own guidelines on the maximum GVWR allowed.

Certain streets and bridges may be restricted to trucks under a specific GVWR, especially in states like Texas with international points of entry.

Knowing a truck’s GVWR is also vital because trucks loaded beyond the recommended GVWR can become unstable.

Too much weight can overload the suspension and cause problems with braking or tire blowouts, leading to an accident. Drivers who exceed a truck’s GVWR limit could be fined if they are pulled over.

What’s the Difference Between GVWR and GCWR?

GCWR stands for gross combination weight rating. It refers to the maximum weight of both the loaded truck and the loaded trailer, including passengers and the trailer tongue.

The GCWR is an important number because a truck might not qualify as a commercial vehicle, but when you add the trailer, the additional weight pushes the vehicle over that threshold.

Someone without a proper license often lacks the experience and skills necessary to operate a commercial vehicle.

For example, in the event of an emergency, they might not be able to safely stop the truck.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck drivers who ignore GVWR rules and regulations put countless motorists at risk every day.

If you were injured in an accident involving a large commercial truck in Texas or New Mexico, you have rights. At Flores, Tawney & Acosta P.C., we have years of experience helping people injured in truck accidents get the compensation they deserve.

Let our attorneys fight for your best interests so that you can focus on your recovery.

If you suffered injuries in a truck accident in New Mexico or Texas, contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation. 

Author Photo

James Tawney

James Tawney is a native of the Southwest dedicated to serving his community. He was born and raised in Arizona where he attended Northern Arizona University where he received his undergraduate degree. James then went on to attend Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock, Texas. In 2016, he, along with fellow plaintiff’s attorneys Connie Flores and Alejandro Acosta, founded Flores, Tawney & Acosta, P.C. with offices located in Las Cruces and Carlsbad, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas.

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