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AGO 1953 No. 147 - October 13, 1953
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

SPECIAL PERMIT -- SPECIAL PERMIT FOR LOG TOLERANCE WEIGHT IN EXCESS OF ALLOWABLE WEIGHT.

Ten percent allowable for special permit is maximum only and may be less in discretion of director of highways.

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                                                                October 13, 1953

Honorable W. C. Raugust
State Senator
Senate Committee Room 6
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 147

 

Dear Sir:

            Your letter of September 25, 1953, addressed to this office requested an opinion as to whether the director of highways may issue a log tolerance permit which would provide a tolerance of less than the ten percent maximum allowable under section 10, chapter 254, Laws of 1953.

            It is our opinion that the director of highways may, under section 10, chapter 254, Laws of 1953, issue a special permit to a three‑axle truck tractor and a two-axle pole trailer combination engaged in the operation of hauling logs under conditions set forth in said section 10 for a weight less than the maximum allowable.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The foregoing opinion is based upon our interpretation of section 10, chapter 254, Laws of 1953, set forth as follows:

            "In addition to the limitations of RCW 46.44.040, 46.44.042 and 46.44.044, a three‑axle truck tractor and a two-axle pole trailer combination engaged in  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] the operation of hauling logs, shall have an allowable variation in wheelbase length of six feet for the distance between the first and last axle of the vehicle in combination which has a wheelbase overall length of thirty-seven feet or more and upon special permit the gross weight of two axles spaced less than seven feet apart may exceed by not more than sixteen hundred pounds the maximum gross axle weight specified for two axles spaced less than seven feet apart, being thirty-two thousand pounds as provided in RCW 46.44.040, and the maximum gross weight of the combination of vehicles may exceed by not more than six thousand eight hundred pounds the maximum legal gross weight of the combination of vehicles, when fully licensed as permitted by law, being sixty-eight thousand pounds."

            The word "maximum" in law means "the greatest possible quantity, amount or degree, and implies the comparison of one thing with another of a lesser degree."  Stevenson v. Fleming, 117 P. (2d) 717, 720; 47 Cal. App. 2d, 225.

            Our court in the case ofPoolman v. Langdon, 94 Wash. 448, accepted the definition of the adjective "maximum" as "the greatest quantity or highest in degree attainable or attained," or "the greatest or highest allowed by law or authority."

            Because the legislature has fixed the maximum weight allowable by special permit does not mean that the director of highways may not provide by special permit a weight of a lesser amount under conditions believed "necessary to assure against undue damages to the road foundation, surfaces or structures or safety of traffic" within RCW 46.44.093.

            In the event the director of highways shall issue a special over-load [[overload]]permit for less than the maximum, the fee shall be in accordance with paragraph two of section 10, chapter 254, Laws of 1953, or the same as if the maximum were allowed.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

DONALD E. WATSON
Assistant Attorney General

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