Weigh stations are something which most truck drivers will experience at some point. However, for new drivers, they can be a little overwhelming at first. Still, these stations play an important role in making sure that both you and other drivers are safe on the road…
Weigh Stations: A Quick Guide
Who has to stop
A weigh station, as the name implies, is a place for the Department of Transportation to weigh commercial vehicles. After all, overweight and oversized vehicles can pose serious risks to both their drivers and others on the road. In the U.S., for instance, the most any truck and a full trailer can weigh is 80,000 pounds.
At these stations, any commercial vehicle which weighs at least 10,000 pounds must stop. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, if a driver has something like a PrePass or a bypass service, then they may not need to stop. A good way to check for stations on your route is by using a map service like Google Maps.
The weighing process
The weighing process starts even before you make it to a weigh station. First, you have to look for signs which indicate open stations. Once you see an open one, then you must stop at the station. After that, your truck will be weighed by the DOT, usually by rolling scales which you just drive your truck over.
If a truck is under 80,000 pounds, then the officials will clear it to continue driving. If it’s overweight, then it’s flagged and often times inspected. However, the DOT can also perform truck inspections for other reasons too. They might do this to check for fluid leaks, cracks in the rims, flat tires, and much more.
Weigh stations also involve log book inspections. DOT officials will enter in your DOT number to a database to check your log books. The officials do this for two reasons. Firstly, it’s to make sure you are doing your part and are keeping record of your driving hours.
Secondly, and most importantly, they also want to make sure you aren’t violating hours-of-service laws. Truckers have strict rules on how long they can drive per day and per week. These rules help ensure drivers get proper rest in-between their hauls.