Let’s talk about weight. Don’t worry, we aren’t talking about your weight…. Just your commercial vehicle’s weight! 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. Let’s get started on the 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. What can you expect from a ? Well, you can anticipate someone asking for your medical examiner’s certificate, your hours of service documentation, any alcohol or drug use, your usage of a seat belt, and your daily logs. As for other things that the inspector will look out for, make sure you have your driver and vehicle inspection reports and that everything about your truck is in working order, such as your tires, brake system, turn signals, tail and head lamps, etc.
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 research the weight station rules, if you do not already know, so that wherever you end up going, you won’t end up in any situations that you can’t handle. Each route will most likely have different regulations, so stay up-to-date with your directions!
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 always follow. Everyone knows it’s not the most pleasant experience. It’s kind of like those annoying family dinners where you have to use manners and be respectful towards everyone, especially the family members that you don’t get along with.
With everyone in a hurry to get where they need to be, it’s definitely a pain in the butt to stop at a weigh station, 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. Keep all records on you at all times so you have proof. Plus, you will be more compliant and won’t have any additional issues 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 and waste your time. 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. More on those gadgets below.
We are well aware that you know just how important time is while you’re on the road. Time is money, and anytime you can bypass a weigh station means that you’re putting more moolah in your bank account. 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! Don’t be afraid to ask either!
How’d We Do?
Do you have additional questions about the weigh station rules? Drop your thoughts and concerns below! Let us know what problems you have encountered while being on the road. Have you broken a weight station rule? How did you handle the situation! Let us know today!