What is a Weigh Station?

What is a Weigh Station?

A weighing station on a highway is perhaps not something that is unfamiliar to us because most of us have probably passed by a major state where weighing stations are commonly seen. But what really are the weigh stations along the highways for? 

Do they have a purpose? When you pass by major a state, these kinds of stations are present so they can check the gross vehicle weight of commercial trucks as well as any other commercial motor vehicle. These weigh stations check whether trucks and other commercial vehicles are abiding in their weight limit requirements before they can be allowed to enter or pass through another state.

Weigh stations are like checkpoints on a highway as they make sure that the required weight limit of trucks and other related vehicles is being followed. These weigh stations come with truck scales that vary in the type such as single axle scale or multi-axle sets and the like as well as the technology being used. 

Some truck scales are able to weigh the vehicle weight of a motor vehicle or a truck without them needing to stop, while the older versions of the scale would need the truck drivers to stop their trucks so that its gross vehicle weight can be measured.

Sometimes it also happens that a random check occurs, and this is when truck drivers must stop their trucks and comply with whatever the patrol officer is requiring them to present. If all the requirements are satisfied, then they will be allowed to go on in their journey. 

When a truck driver gets random checked, a patrol officer may inspect different items such as the content of the truck, its tires whether the threads or if it is flat or low, its breaks, if there is any leak in the oil or fuel, if springs are broken as well as the other features of the truck may also be inspected while in a weigh station. 

This is a necessary process required by the department of transportation to ensure that every truck that comes into another state complies with the laws of that certain area.

The presence of a weigh station was originally to collect taxes, but at the present time, weigh stations are simply used to check if trucks and other commercial vehicles are following the weight limit required in a state. 

For temporary situations where trucks need to be weighed, a portable scale is set up. This is usually implemented on isolated roads or as a seasonal weigh station.

Purpose of having weigh stations

The main reason for having weigh stations along highways is for safety requirements. A weigh station sees to it that trucks that come into the state follow the required limit for a truck, and a truck driver must always know the limits set by the department of transportation. Following the necessary weight is highly essential so that damages or destruction of roads and bridges can be avoided.

If a truck weigh more than the required limit and it bypasses a weigh station, it may cause some irreversible harm to the roads. There are different laws for every state and if you are entering them, then you must obey their rules, some require non-commercial vehicles such as those that are used for moving to weigh in station. 

These non-commercial moving vehicles should weigh not more than 10,000 pounds. If however for some reasons, you are not aware whether you are required to stop at a weigh station or not, you may simply stop at the station and the patrol officer would tell you anyway if you must stop, and if not, you will be waved through and you will be allowed to pass.

If you are moving to another state and do not want the hassle of knowing about the policies in weigh stations, the easiest way is to just hire a professional and let them handle the issues that come with weigh stations. 

Should you decide to hire a professional mover or even if you decide to drive the truck yourself, you may want to consider getting an insurance from a trusted source like the East Insurance Group which is an insurance company that is composed of professionals who are committed and works fast. 

This insurance agency knows how to provide you with only what you need and at the best price. Having insurance will definitely give you peace of mind and save you from further stress while on the road.

How the weight of a truck is calculated

Though the maximum limit for a truck differs according to states, the standard is usually around 15,400 kg or 34,000 pounds, and taxes are collected according to the weight of the content of the truck. The weight of a truck is computed in different methods, and it can be through its axle weight which is the quantity carried by every axle, or it can also be through the gross weight of a truck which is the sum of all the axles combined.

Truck scales that are found in weigh stations are tough and are built to last for a very long time. In fact it has the capacity to handle such massive amounts as it is able to weigh 80,000 pounds of about 200 trucks each day for the entire year in a period of 25 years!

The materials of a truck scale also varies. Some are made of concrete, some are made of steel, and others may be a combination of both. 

Scales used to measure the weight of trucks in weigh stations also use different technologies which can either be the load cell systems where every cell is made up of a sturdy material such as concrete or a steel with strain gauges attached to it or can be the technology called the bending-plate system which utilizes strain gauges that are attached to metal plates. 

Some also use another type which is the piezoelectric system which is a string of piezoelectric sensors.

In weigh stations, trucks are weighed in three various ways:

  1. One-Stop – is when the whole truck is weighed at the same time and works when a series of scales are attached to an electronic controller which automatically puts together the axle weights in order to know the gross weight of a truck.
  2. One Axle – involves a single scale where in the truck needs to gradually drive across it, and requires the truck to step every time a set of wheels is on it. When each axle has been weighed, the sum is combined together.
  3. WIM or Weigh- in- Motion – makes use of a series of sensors to compute the weight of every axle, and the truck simply needs to drive over the sensor pad without being required to stop.

Some highways already have a WIM systems installed in them and they are used to monitor the speed of all traffic.

The maximum limit required in the United States is 80,000 pounds but this come with exceptions. Trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds must stop in a weigh station but those with some form of bypass service or with a Pre Pass may be waived from stopping in a weigh station.

It is important to note that a driver’s log book is also an essential item that must always be present as it can be asked for during a random check. The log book is at times inspected in a weigh station to make sure that the driver is abiding by the hours of service required. 

A driver should have a maximum of 11 hours of service driving in a period of 14 hours, and that he or she cannot exceed 60 hours of total service in 7 straight days or not exceed 70 hours if working for 8 successive days. It is mandatory for the driver to have 10 days off work in consecutive days after an 11 hour period of driving.

When driving a commercial vehicle and you know that you are passing through a weigh station or several weigh stations, be sure that you have all the necessary permits, log books and other documents that might be needed from you in the stations to ensure a smooth passage for you.

Through this article, the question of what is a weigh station has been discussed in great deal. Even if we do not operate a commercial vehicle, now we all have an idea about what happens in weigh stations and we also know that weight limits exist and that it can be inspected at a weigh station. We must not forget that if we are not sure if we must stop at certain weigh stations, then we simply must stop.

If you are driving a commercial vehicle, try to know if your route will have a weigh station so you can be prepared and avoid incurring fines or penalties. Before you leave for the road, prepare everything you need.

What Happens if a Truck Doesn’t Stop at a Weigh Station?

Weigh stations are designed to ensure that vehicles comply with the road-based restrictions as they enter a new state. In these stations, the weight of the vehicle and other information would be measured and stored correctly. If a truck does not stop at a weigh station, you may not get charged any immediate fine/fee.

But over time, a law enforcement officer may stop the vehicle and ask the driver to provide the basic information, including the compliance forms. Since these compliance forms are available only after check-in at a weigh station, you cannot have them.

Depending on the state where you are driving, the absence of the compliance documents can cause fees and other issues. Therefore, it always makes sense to stop a truck at a weigh station while crossing state borders.