How to avoid weigh stations

As a truck driver, your work life is run by schedules and deadlines. Making stops is the ultimate time killer for professional drivers. This is especially the case when you don’t know for sure how long a stop might be or if it will lead to more red tape. So, what happens when you approach a weigh station? What if you see a red light go off? It’s important to be aware of weigh station rules and etiquette so that you can get back on track as soon as possible. Continue reading for a basic overview of weigh station rules for truck drivers!

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What exactly is a Weigh Station?

Weigh stations are roadside areas where the federal government requires commercial vehicles to stop. It’s exactly as it sounds – a place where trucks are weighed and inspected to make sure they are safe and meeting guidelines. The purpose of having these stations is to prevent unsafe and overweight vehicles from traveling on the road. Officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation, or DOT, examine both the tractor and its freight to find the gross vehicle weight rating. DOT officials also perform a visual inspection, which ranges from a Level 1 to a Level 6. Level 1 is the most thorough type of inspection that can be carried out at a weigh station.

Weigh Station Rules for Each State

If you’re hauling freight across the country, keep in mind that each state has its own weigh station rules. Having different rules for each state can get complicated. Most states require that trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more must stop at all weigh stations. However, some states have a much higher weight requirement. For example, Colorado’s weight requirement is 26,000 pounds. Other states not only focus on weight, but they also have weigh station rules based on the materials that you are hauling. Before you head out on your delivery, you should already know where you are going and what the rules are for that specific route.

Weight is only one of the regulations the Department of Transportation uses to ensure the safety of truck drivers and everyone else on the road. They also consider tire-load safety, road width, bridge height and other on-the-road conditions. Width restrictions are 102 inches in general, but some states require 96 inches or less.

Weigh Station Etiquette

There is a certain weigh station etiquette that truck drivers should follow. Everyone knows it’s not the most pleasant experience, and everyone is in a hurry to get where they want to go. However, when at a weigh station it’s best to hold your tongue and remain calm. If you argue or don’t do as you are told, it will just cause even more delays for you. Another important thing when you go through the weigh station is to keep your ticket for your records. This way you have proof you are compliant and shouldn’t have any additional trouble later.

How to Get Out of Weigh Station Stops

Alright, so this is the moment you’ve been waiting for, right? Is there any way to avoid having to stop at weigh stations? The good news is that weigh stations aren’t always going to be a required stop for you. If a weigh station is closed, you won’t have to stop. This is often the case on weekends, holidays, and sometimes even late at night. There are also special gadgets you can get that allow you to bypass weigh stations along the highway.

We’re well aware that you truckers know just how important time is while you’re on the road. Time is money, and anytime you can bypass a scale means that you’re putting more money in your pocket. You can do this without breaking the law by getting a PrePass device. This gadget lets you bypass some weigh stations along the highway but not all. However, any weigh stations you can avoid is one less roadblock that will cause you to miss your deadline for delivery. Many companies will actually offer to pay for PrePass so when you’re on the hunt for a new job, make sure to look for companies offering this perk!

Do you have additional questions about the weigh station rules? Drop us a comment below!

If you’re thinking about driving a moving van, semi, or other large truck, taking notice of weigh stations will be a necessary part of your job. If you’re a long distance mover or any other type of driver, how will you know when to stop?

1. Common requirements

The difference in rules and requirements across state lines can make things confusing. However, most states’ laws are similar, and require trucks of 10,000 pounds or more to stop at all open weigh stations.

2. Approved routes

Many relocation companies, long distance movers, or other companies that employ drivers have approved driving routes. Drivers will know from the start whether their vehicles meet requirements along these routes. But if you’re ever in doubt, stop at all weigh stations. Getting pulled over for disobeying any regulations will most likely result in a fine.

3. Approved bypass programs

There are ways for drivers of relocation companies, long distance movers, and other drivers to bypass weigh stations legally. PrePass and NORPASS are two examples; some programs also offer mobile apps. Not all states accept these programs, so it’s important to check before driving across state lines.

Weight is only one of the regulations the Department of Transportation uses to ensure the safety of truck drivers and everyone else on the road. They also consider tire-load safety, road width, bridge height and other on-the-road conditions. Width restrictions are 102 inches in general, but some states require 96 inches or less.

Fortunately there are resources available to help drivers from relocation and other transportation companies stay on top of requirements for weight regulations.

  • AAA Motor Laws – A list of weigh station rules by state
  • eHow – A basic DOT weigh station regulations overview

We’re interested in helping drivers succeed. Talk to us about van operator careers, and other opportunities with Suddath ® , a transportation, logistics and relocation company.

How to avoid weigh stations

When most people think of weigh stations, they think of semi-trucks hauling large commercial loads. These vehicles are required to submit to weighing for safety reasons. Vehicles exceeding weight requirements pose a danger to other people on the road and to the roads themselves. Most states require vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more to submit to weigh station protocols. What does this have to do with RVs? Quite a bit because fully loaded, larger RVs with slide outs easily reach or even exceed 10,000 pounds.

Knowing When to Stop

This is the tricky part because weigh station requirements vary from state to state and by vehicle type. Plus, the language of the laws is sometimes confusing with RVs referred to variously as recreational vehicles, specialty vehicles and vehicles registered as trucks. Here is a breakdown of basic RV weigh station rules by state:

  1. Vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more are required to stop in 20 of the 50 United States. Some states specify vehicle types, others require all vehicles in the weight range to stop.
  2. Vehicles registered as trucks, including RVs, are subject to weigh station laws in Kansas.
  3. Passenger or specialty vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds must stop for weighing in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
  4. States with recreational vehicle exclusions include North Dakota and Florida
  5. Large recreational vehicles are subject to weighing and inspection in Pennsylvania
  6. At the request of law enforcement, all vehicle types must submit to weigh station protocol in the following states:
  • Alaska
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Texas

Your best option is to read up on RV weigh station requirements for each state you’ll be traveling in. If you need to weigh in, just google “weigh station near me” to find the nearest weigh station location.

How to avoid weigh stations

Drivers regularly see signs for weigh stations along the highway. While passing they’ve asked themselves “what are weigh stations for?” And, “what trucks have to stop at weigh stations?” These questions can be just as confusing for fleet companies, especially after changes such as the new ELD mandate. The ELD mandate is just part of an overhaul of transportation industry rules. The changes came with the passing of MAP-21, or “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century”. MAP-21 altered highway toll collections and safety rules, and tolls and safety are exactly what weigh stations are for.

We’ll take a deeper look at the purpose of weigh stations and who needs to stop at them below.

What is a Weigh Station?

A weigh station is a location off the highway, where officials weigh vehicles. The Department of Transportation, Department of Motor Vehicles, or highway patrols are in charge of these duties. Fleet drivers park their vehicles over a stationary or portable scale. Alongside the scale is a scale house or office, in which the official reads the weight.

These officials also carry out an inspection of the vehicle and the driver. The inspection begins with reading the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). This includes the tractor and the freight. They will then do a walk around of the vehicle for the inspection. Inspections range from level 1-6, with the most comprehensive inspection being level 1.

Level 1 inspection:

A level 1 inspection is the North American Standard Inspection. It’s a comprehensive inspection and includes both the vehicle and driver. Inspectors must check all paperwork and search for drugs, alcohol and hazardous materials. Drivers need to have the following documents:

  • License
  • Hours of Service log
  • Driver and Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR)

Inspectors will check various parts of the vehicle as well. Ensure that the following parts are operating properly and are ready for inspection:

  • Seatbelt
  • Coupling devices
  • Brakes
  • Tires, rims, hubcaps
  • Exhaust and fuel systems
  • Emergency exits
  • Electrical cables
  • Frame
  • Lights, headlamps, brake lamps, tail lamps
  • Securement of cargo
  • Steering mechanism
  • Safe loading
  • Suspension
  • Windshield wipers
  • Turn signals

Level 2 inspection:

A level 2 inspection is a walk-around driver/vehicle inspection. There is little difference between level 1 and 2 inspections. You will still encounter many of the same checks. The difference is that the inspector will not climb under the vehicle. This removes items such as the suspension and frame from the inspection. It’s still a fairly comprehensive inspection, but less so than a level 1.

Level 3 inspection:

A level 3 inspection is a driver-only inspection. It encompasses driver credentials and inspection of the items below:

  • Record of Duty Status (RODS)
  • Driver’s license
  • HAZMAT requirements
  • Medical card and waiver
  • Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate
  • Vehicle Inspection Report
  • HM/DG requirements
  • HoS documentation
  • Seat belt
  • Alcohol and/ or drug use

Level 4 inspection:

A level four inspection is an inspection of specific features of the vehicle. The features they inspect depend on DOT research. The Department of Transportation may decide to focus on a common violation from the previous year. As a result, they may check these common violations year after year to track improvement.

Level 5 inspection:

A level 5 inspection is a vehicle-only inspection. It’s usually conducted after an arrest or accident. This typically means the driver isn’t on-site at all. The inspection is rather thorough. In fact, it’s on-par with a level 1 inspection, minus the driver aspects of the inspection.

Level 6 inspection:

A level 6 inspection is for any motor vehicle carrying radioactive materials or Highway Route Controlled Quantities (HRCQ). The inspection is similar to a level 1 inspection, but also includes a check of:

  • Radiological shipments
  • Radiological requirements
  • Enhanced out of service criteria

What are Truck Weigh Stations for?

Originally, weigh stations were a method of collecting taxes. Fleet vehicles typically pay a higher tax because of their weight and the stress they put on the roads. This is why weigh stations now focus on a truck’s weight for safety purposes. Roads and bridges can only handle so much weight and stress. When a truck is over the weight limit, it poses a greater risk of bridge collapse or compromise. In addition, the constant heavy weight on the roads leads to a higher rate of repair of these roads. In the United States, the maximum weight permissible for a truck with a full trailer is 80,000 pounds.

During weighing, trucks are also inspected to ensure drivers and trucks are safe enough to be on the road. The passing of MAP-21 called for the creation of new HoS rules via electronic logging. This ELD mandate ensures that HoS numbers are correct and manipulation isn’t possible. Officials check these records at weigh stations to ensure compliance.

Other tasks performed at a truck weigh station include:

  • Provide wide-load escorts
  • Submission of any outstanding fees and paperwork
  • Flagging vehicles for additional evaluations

What Trucks Have to Stop at Weigh Stations?

In many states, any vehicle over 10,000 pounds must stop at a weigh station. The only exception to this is if the driver has a PrePass or other bypass service. These bypass services are helpful, especially in the event of a closed weigh station. This is all common knowledge for those in the fleet industry. However, the lines get a little blurry with the differences in state to state weigh station laws. For instance, in Colorado, the law states:

“Every owner or operator of a motor vehicle having a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of over 26,000 lbs. shall secure a valid clearance from an office of the DOR, from an officer of the Colorado State Patrol, or from a port of entry weigh station before operating such vehicle or combination of vehicles in the state.”

As you see, the weight is set at 26,000 pounds in Colorado. On the other hand, the law in Montana states:

“Vehicles transporting agricultural products and trucks with a GVW of 8,000 lbs. or more and new or used RVs being transported to a distributor or dealer must stop.”

Weigh station requirements vary by state. Check the requirements for each state on your route to be sure. You can check each state’s requirements at AAA Digest of Motor Laws.

Truck weigh stations are a means of ensuring safety on the road. Azuga telematics ensures the same for your fleet. We keep you ELD compliant, efficient, and safe with GPS fleet tracking, dash cams, and eLogs. Learn more about how to stay compliant and avoid penalties with Azuga.

How to avoid weigh stations

Weigh Stations are an inevitable aspect of freight transportation.

You know the drill – drivers pull up in an inspection station to get their trailer and truck weight checked.

Most carriers and drivers have come to terms with the fact that weigh stations are a necessary annoyance. First, let’s talk about why.

What are weigh stations for?

Weigh station inspections are intended to ensure that goods are being transported properly and safely.

At each of these weigh station checkpoints, a DOT representative will be able to inspect vehicles for safety purposes.

Originally, weigh stations were used to collect taxes. Now they are mainly intended for checking the weight of trucks in order to ensure they are complying by the state’s laws. These rules were put in place in order to ensure the weight of the trucks do not damage the roads and highways.

For safety purposes, they may occasionally inspect the contents of the truck or various parts such as tires and breaks as well.

As important as weigh stations are, they can also be very frustrating and waste precious time and gas for truck drivers and carriers.

How much does it cost to pull-in?

Put simply, repetitive weigh station stops increase fleet costs. Time spent idling at weigh stations results in lost time and wasted fuel.

It costs $9.27 per pull-in per truck according to a study of 94 million pull-ins. That adds up!

If you are an owner operator who stops at 10 weigh stations a month, that’s almost $100 less off your income every month, or $1200 a year.

If you manage a fleet of 10 trucks, that could be upwards of $1200 a month!

How can you avoid weigh stations?

No, drivers can’t just pretend they didn’t see the weigh station pull-in sign and skip it without the proper permissions.

The good news? Times have changed.

Today, weigh scale stations are equipped with much more technology that have made them very different from 25 years ago.

Out on the highway, bypass program transponders and mobile apps now have the ability to relay the safety record and credentials of the truck and its fleet to the weigh station.

How to avoid weigh stations

When a truck pulls into a weigh station, cameras read the license plate number or the DOT number of the truck.

Those credentials are cross-checked against a computerized “hot list” of stolen vehicles and fleets with unpaid citations.

When scales focus on the important fleets, good drivers are allow to pass through and skip the weigh station, saving both the driver’s and the scale’s time and effort.

How do I get onto these bypass programs?

If you’re not already leveraging weigh station bypass capabilities, you are missing out. This translates to hundreds or thousands of dollars in monthly bottom-line cost reduction associated with idling time and fuel usage, and exceed customer expectations with faster load delivery.

There are various solutions out there that will let you compliantly skip the weigh station. However, not all are made equal.

Most times, these programs or solutions require you or your drivers to install an additional transponder that will communicate with the weigh station. Not to mention the high monthly fees.

With Switchboard Bypass, no transponders are required to be installed in the vehicle. Switchboard Bypass is integrated into the Switchboard technology, streamlining the process of bypass services for vehicles on the road. Learn more about Switchboard Weigh Station Bypass here.

Exceptions

As mentioned earlier, only good drivers are eligible for these bypass programs. This means that your company must have a good CSA/ISS score.

If your company is experiencing hours of service violations that are affecting your safety rating, take a look at this article to refresh on all the hours of service rules.

The #1 Resource for Weigh Station and Truck Safety Information

How to avoid weigh stations

Total Weigh Stations & Truck Scales: 8

Connecticut weigh stations have signs stating that all trucks and commercial vehicles must stop at scales when they are open.

Connecticut means congestion. Anywhere west or south of Hartford is just, simply GOING to have a lot of traffic. From the New York City traffic (all the way from I 95 at the New York border up to where I 91 turns north in New Haven), to Connecticut traffic- Hartford, Waterford, Danbury, Greenwich… there’s a lot of commuters and travelers on those freeways. But once you get past all that, Connecticut is really quite calm.

Once you get past New Haven on I 95, you’re not likely to have a back up- unless there is a wreck or construction. Traffic, yes. But the traffic is nothing like what goes on south of there.

There is a popular indian casino on I 395 in eastern Connecticut. The Mohegan Sun is a major attraction. Located off exit 79 A on I 395, the casino has plenty of parking and we’ve never experienced a problem getting in, out or parking there. From gambling, to dining to concerts, the Mohegan Sun can be a nice distraction from the sometimes difficult driving you’ll find in New England. To contact the Mohegan Sun, call 888-226-7711.

Another place to check out is the Golden Age of Trucking Museum in Middlebury, Connecticut. The trucking museum features trucks from the early 1900s through 1974. It is located off I 84 at exit 16. From east bound I 84 turn left, from west bound I 84 turn right. Go past the Mobil gas station and the hotel and you’ll see the first entrance to the trucking museum on the right. You can enter through the first entrance but we suggest using the next entrance. There is room for 5 to 7 trucks to park and visit the trucking history museum. For information, contact the museum at 203-577-2181.

The Connecticut fuel tax rate is $0.37 per gallon of diesel. Connecticut used to impose a gross receipts earnings tax on gasoline sold at the the wholesale level that was eliminated in 2007. They, instead, increased the excise tax an additional $0.11 per gallon of diesel.

Over-Gross Weight Tolerance: Premium Content

Over-Axel Weight Tolerance: Premium Content

Over-Axel Weight Procedures: Premium Content

Overweight Fines and Consequences: Premium Content

Important Phone Numbers:
Commercial Vehicle Safety Division: 860-263-5446

By Renee Nordstrand on March 30, 2021

How to avoid weigh stationsAs a California driver, you have likely seen the many weigh stations that line our major highways, including those here in Santa Barbara County. And what gets weighed? Vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs. These weigh stations exist to ensure that large commercial trucks and trailers meet all California and federal safety standards and to ensure these vehicles are not overloaded.

If a truck driver does not stop at these stations or overloads the vehicle, this is negligence, which can cause a serious accident.

Who Has to Stop at Weigh Stations?

In California, anyone operating a truck that weighs more than 10,000 lbs. must stop at a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility, as required by the California Department of Transportation (DOT) and enforced by California Highway Patrol (CHP). While these laws mainly apply to commercial semi-truck drivers, they also include moving trucks and rental trucks.

Exceptions exist for certain vehicles, including:

  • Buses
  • Motorhomes and RVs
  • Firetrucks
  • Public utility vehicles
  • Logging trucks
  • Horse trailers
  • Trucks that are near a loading or unloading facility, such as a distribution center
  • Trucks with local overweight permits

What Do Weigh Stations Check For?

Weigh stations inspect each vehicle’s weight, certifications, and safety features to ensure that the vehicle is safe to operate. The DOT has strict rules for how heavy a semi-truck and its trailer can be. Typically, the maximum weight for a single-axle vehicle is 20,000 lbs., and there are several other rules for heavier vehicles, including a federal one that limits 18-wheelers to a maximum of 80,000 lbs.

In addition to a vehicle’s weight, these stations can check:

  • Trucking logbooks and the driver’s hours of service records
  • Vehicle paperwork, including maintenance reports
  • Freight paperwork

Truck drivers and trucking companies are expected to follow all of these regulations and apply for specific certifications when overloading a vehicle. When they fail to do so, it is considered negligence. Overloaded vehicles are extremely dangerous and can cause serious trucking accidents.

The Dangers of an Overloaded Trailer

Big rigs are powerful, heavy, and large vehicles that can cause serious damage in an accident. Due to their weight, these vehicles need extra time to come to complete stops. If a trailer is overloaded, the truck takes even longer to stop, potentially leading to a rear-end collision with other cars if the brakes fail or the trucker isn’t paying attention.

Overloading a trailer can also lead to other catastrophic truck accidents. For example, if a truck is traveling at high speeds and comes to a sudden stop, the trailer may jackknife. When a trailer jackknifes, it can swing out to either side of the truck and form a right angle, crossing multiple lanes of traffic and striking other vehicles. If the truck’s hitch is strained or damaged, the trailer may come loose and cause further destruction.

Cargo spills are another risk of overloading trailers and tanks. Whether a truck is transporting Amazon packages or brand-new cars, if the cargo spills onto a busy highway, anyone in its path can be severely injured. These accidents become more dangerous when they involve hazardous cargo, such as oil, gasoline, or chemicals.

It is a simple fact that the heavier a truck is, the more dangerous it can be in a collision. More than 75% of all fatal truck accidents involve trucks that weigh more than 26,000 lbs., according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). There is no room for mistakes when loading a truck’s trailer. If a shipping company or driver violates our state’s weight limits, it can result in a deadly trucking accident.

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured by a negligent truck driver or trucking company, you should contact a San Barbara injury lawyer as soon as possible. Our team at NordstrandBlack PC has worked with numerous clients who were injured in trucking accidents. We know how to get you full and maximum compensation for your injuries. In one case, we successfully recovered compensation for an elderly couple injured by a semi-truck in an intersection collision. We have more than 40 years of combined experience and can personally investigate the cause of the accident to secure you compensation. To sit down and talk to us in a free consultation, call us at (805) 962-2022.

How to avoid weigh stations

Weigh Stations are an inevitable aspect of freight transportation.

You know the drill – drivers pull up in an inspection station to get their trailer and truck weight checked.

Most carriers and drivers have come to terms with the fact that weigh stations are a necessary annoyance. First, let’s talk about why.

What are weigh stations for?

Weigh station inspections are intended to ensure that goods are being transported properly and safely.

At each of these weigh station checkpoints, a DOT representative will be able to inspect vehicles for safety purposes.

Originally, weigh stations were used to collect taxes. Now they are mainly intended for checking the weight of trucks in order to ensure they are complying by the state’s laws. These rules were put in place in order to ensure the weight of the trucks do not damage the roads and highways.

For safety purposes, they may occasionally inspect the contents of the truck or various parts such as tires and breaks as well.

As important as weigh stations are, they can also be very frustrating and waste precious time and gas for truck drivers and carriers.

How much does it cost to pull-in?

Put simply, repetitive weigh station stops increase fleet costs. Time spent idling at weigh stations results in lost time and wasted fuel.

It costs $9.27 per pull-in per truck according to a study of 94 million pull-ins. That adds up!

If you are an owner operator who stops at 10 weigh stations a month, that’s almost $100 less off your income every month, or $1200 a year.

If you manage a fleet of 10 trucks, that could be upwards of $1200 a month!

How can you avoid weigh stations?

No, drivers can’t just pretend they didn’t see the weigh station pull-in sign and skip it without the proper permissions.

The good news? Times have changed.

Today, weigh scale stations are equipped with much more technology that have made them very different from 25 years ago.

Out on the highway, bypass program transponders and mobile apps now have the ability to relay the safety record and credentials of the truck and its fleet to the weigh station.

How to avoid weigh stations

When a truck pulls into a weigh station, cameras read the license plate number or the DOT number of the truck.

Those credentials are cross-checked against a computerized “hot list” of stolen vehicles and fleets with unpaid citations.

When scales focus on the important fleets, good drivers are allow to pass through and skip the weigh station, saving both the driver’s and the scale’s time and effort.

How do I get onto these bypass programs?

If you’re not already leveraging weigh station bypass capabilities, you are missing out. This translates to hundreds or thousands of dollars in monthly bottom-line cost reduction associated with idling time and fuel usage, and exceed customer expectations with faster load delivery.

There are various solutions out there that will let you compliantly skip the weigh station. However, not all are made equal.

Most times, these programs or solutions require you or your drivers to install an additional transponder that will communicate with the weigh station. Not to mention the high monthly fees.

With Switchboard Bypass, no transponders are required to be installed in the vehicle. Switchboard Bypass is integrated into the Switchboard technology, streamlining the process of bypass services for vehicles on the road. Learn more about Switchboard Weigh Station Bypass here.

Exceptions

As mentioned earlier, only good drivers are eligible for these bypass programs. This means that your company must have a good CSA/ISS score.

If your company is experiencing hours of service violations that are affecting your safety rating, take a look at this article to refresh on all the hours of service rules.