What are the Legal Dimensions for a Flatbed?

If you’re in the trucking industry, then you’re probably aware of the wide variety of commercial trailers you have to choose from when deciding how to transport your cargo. Commercial trailers are available in all shapes, styles, and dimensions depending on your hauling and shipping needs. Apart from dry vans and dump trucks, flatbed trailers are one of the most common choices among owner-operators and fleet managers to move products from Point A to Point B.

One of the primary reasons why flatbeds are so often used in the trucking industry is because they are extremely versatile. Load them up from the top, rear, sides, or however you see fit; the only caveat is that there are restrictions on how much freight you can haul in accordance with the legal flatbed dimensions.

Read on about the various legal dimensions for a flatbed trailer to ensure you are operating in compliance with all federal and state laws. Use this guide to avoid costly fines and shipping delays by continuing to operate while following best practices.

Different Regulations for Each Type of Flatbed Trailer

Your business is unique, and so is the equipment you use. When it comes to abiding by the legal dimensions for a flatbed load, it’s important to know exactly which type of CMV and trailer you’ll be operating as the rules and regulations vary according to the exact trailer.

Let’s take a look at each type of commercial flatbed trailer and the corresponding weight and dimension capacity so that you can optimize your freight and load planning. As a rule of thumb, the total weight (truck + trailer + cargo) must be under 80,000 pounds. Heavier trucks, such as sleepers, may affect the cargo weight that can be carried.

Standard Flatbed Trailer Dimensions

A flatbed trailer is meant for transporting goods without an official enclosure (as opposed to dry vans or storage containers). They’re incredibly popular within the trucking industry because they’re great for shipping wide or large items that require loading from the side with a forklift or from above using a crane.

standard flatbed trailer
  • Maximum freight dimensions
    • Length: 48 – 53 ft.
    • Height: 8.5 ft.
    • Width: 8.5 ft.
  • Maximum freight weight
    • 48,000 – 52,000 lbs.

Single Drop Flatbed Trailer Dimensions

Single drop deck trailers are trailers with a lowered deck to accommodate taller cargo. The bottom and top deck are specifically designed to haul freight that cannot be carried or transported on a standard flatbed, which is usually due to height restrictions.

single drop flatbed trailer
  • Maximum freight dimensions
    • Main deck
      • Length: 37 – 43 ft.
      • Height: 10 ft.
      • Width: 8.5 ft.
    • Front deck
      • Length: 11 ft.
      • Height: 8.5 ft.
      • Width: 8.5 ft.
  • Maximum freight weight
    • 48,000 – 52,000 lbs.

 Double Drop Trailer Dimensions

Double drop trailers are similar to single drop trailers, but with a lower main deck and an additional rear deck. This trailer allows you to haul taller cargo up to 11.5 ft. on the main deck, 8.5 ft. on the front deck, and 9ft on the rear deck.

  • Maximum freight dimensions
    • Main deck
      • Length: 29 ft.
      • Height: 11.5 ft.
      • Width: 8.5 ft.
    • Front deck
      • Length: 10 ft.
      • Height: 8.5 ft.
      • Width: 8.5 ft
    • Rear deck
      • Length: 9 ft.
      • Height: 10 ft.
      • Width: 8.5 ft.
  • Maximum freight weight
    • 45,000 lbs.

Extendable Flatbed Dimensions

Extendable flatbeds have nearly the same dimensions as a standard flatbed, but the main deck can be extended to up to 80 ft. in length depending on the model. The legal dimension for this flatbed is longer in length than traditional trailers.

  • Maximum freight dimensions
    • Length: 48 – 80 ft.
    • Height: 8.5 ft.
    • Width: 8.5 ft.
  • Maximum freight weight
    • 45,000 lbs.

Single Drop Extendable Flatbed Dimensions

The main deck of a single drop extendable flatbed can be stretched up to 63 ft. These trailers are ideal for hauling loads that are too long for a standard single drop flatbed.

  • Maximum freight dimensions
    • Main deck
      • Length: 38 – 61 ft.
      • Height: 10 ft.
      • Width: 8 ft.
    • Front deck
      • Length: 10 ft.
      • Height: 8.5 ft.
      • Width: 8 ft.
  • Maximum freight weight
    • 45,000 lbs.

Double Drop Extendable Flatbed Dimensions

Double drop extendable flatbeds have three decks, with an extendable main deck to support longer cargo. This trailer is ideal for hauling cargo that is unusually long and cannot be carried by a regular double drop trailer.

  • Maximum freight dimensions
    • Main deck
      • Length: 29-50 ft.
      • Height: 11.5 ft.
      • Width: 8.5 ft.
    • Front deck
      • Length: 10 ft.
      • Height: 8.5 ft.
      • Width: 8.5 ft.
    • Rear deck
      • Length: 9 ft.
      • Height: 10 ft.
      • Width: 8.5 ft.
  • Maximum freight weight
    • 40,000 lbs.

Federal Size Regulations for Commercial Motor Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sets the standard for commercial motor vehicles in order to protect the public safety of motorists on the road. Although this post discusses flatbed trailers, keep in mind that a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) refers to any vehicle used to transport goods or passengers for profit. That includes semi-trucks, box trucks, vans, and even buses or taxicabs.

If your business relies on any type of CMV, it’s imperative that you learn all the applicable regulations to stay in good keeping with federal and state laws. Hale Trailer offers a solution for any commercial trailer rental that fits your need. Whether your fleet needs dry vans for enclosed transportation or you’re an owner-operator searching for a flatbed trailer rental, we can help.

Contact one of our trailer rental locations and learn the multitude of options available for your hauling needs. Our commercial trailer experts will help you find the best trailer that fits your cargo’s height and width according to the current legal flatbed dimensions.

All the information on this website - https://www.haletrailer.com - is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Hale Trailer Brake and Wheel does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information you find on this website, is strictly at your own risk. Hale Trailer Brake and Wheel will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of our website.