What to Expect at a Trucking Weigh Station
Every commercial vehicle with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds is required to stop at every DOT weigh station they reach on the road for a weight check and security assessment. Failure to stop at a weigh station could lead to penalties, such as losing a commercial driver’s license and even facing jail time.
At a weigh station, transportation officers weigh and inspect trucks according to the security measures of the state. This can include checking compliance with fuel charge laws, weight limitations, hardware security, and hours of service.
A truck may be assessed by the axle, or measured as a whole. A weigh station may have rolling scales that allow the vehicle to keep moving while it is being weighed, or the truck may be required to stop. Trucks that are found to be over the weight limit may be waylaid at the station until another truck comes to transport the excess cargo.
Next, the driver’s equipment and electronic logging device (ELD) will be checked to ensure compliance with Hours of Service regulations. As long as the equipment is in good shape, the weighing and inspection should be done fairly quickly, without any delay. Weigh station officials may also check the truck’s brakes, kingpin, fuel tanks, springs, tires, rims/wheels, and tubing/hoses. A truck with leaking fluids, such as antifreeze, oil, or fuel, may be taken off the road and placed out of service until the necessary repairs are made.
Weigh station inspections are necessary to ensure the safety of drivers and other motorists. Federal law prohibits loaded trucks from exceeding 80,000 pounds because they are more difficult to control and pose safety hazards. The excess weight increases pressure on the tires and raises the risk of a blowout. In addition, overweight trucks are more likely to roll over and have longer stopping distances, increasing the risk of a collision.
Drivers now have the option to transmit truck data to virtual weigh stations through transponders or smartphone/tablet applications. These systems allow drivers to bypass traditional weigh station requirements, but in some cases drivers may still need to report to a physical weigh station.