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!
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!