Industry Insights

Spring Frost Laws and How Colder Climates Can Affect Your Fleet

As winter comes to an end and we head into spring, frost laws, also known as seasonal weight restrictions, will soon go into effect. These laws or restrictions exist across many northern states and Canada provinces, and can vary greatly by state or province due to the different weather conditions. For employers in the transportation industry, it’s vital to stay informed of the latest laws and when they go into effect as we approach the spring season.

Frost laws are referred to as quite a few different names, some of which include spring frost laws, spring thaw, spring thaw weight restrictions, spring thaw restrictions, seasonal load restrictions, etc. which is important to keep in mind when searching for your state or province. 

What Are Frost Laws?

In some northern states and Canada provinces, frost laws can reduce or restrict speed and weight limits on roads that are thawing out during the winter and spring months as temperatures begin to change. Typically frost laws are implemented in March and April and can last all the way into July depending on the state or province. To determine frost laws, states and provinces will adjust weight restrictions according to temperatures, rainfall, weather forecasts, and soil moisture sampling.

Why Are Frost Laws Important?

When roads thaw, moisture gets trapped beneath the pavement causing the roads to weaken, and trucks traveling across those roads are more likely to cause road damage than any other time of the year. This is why weight restrictions are so important to protect the roads and ensure the safety of drivers.

How Do Frost Laws Affect Me?

When frost laws or seasonal weight restrictions are implemented, they can delay the transportation of goods through the territory in which it’s in effect to protect the public and its roads. Since the laws are based on weather conditions and vary by state and province, it’s vital that employers stay on top of the latest changes and updates for the laws.

How Do I Find My Province or State’s Frost Laws?

Visiting your DOT website will help ensure that you’re aware of any frost law implementations and help you better prepare. Typically, the following states and Canada provinces have frost laws or seasonal weight restrictions and are expected to publish for the 2019-2020 winter and spring seasons, if they haven’t already done so. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, check your DOT website periodically for restrictions:

United States

Canada Provinces

*Please be advised that these states and provinces are subject to change dependent upon the weather conditions and decisions made by the DOT.

How DISA Can Help

DISA’s complete suite of transportation products and services will help support your DOT compliance efforts. We can offer assistance regardless of which DOT agency you report to, including FAA, FRA, FTA, FMCSA, PHMSA, and USCG. DISA professionals can assist you in ensuring that you meet your compliance standards and stay in the loop of the latest laws, regulations, and requirements for your DOT agency. Our DOT mandated services include:

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