why are trucks required to stop at weigh stations, and how does that whole thing work?

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I was on the freeway yesterday and saw a signed that said “Trucks not given bypass signal must stop at scales”. I saw several trucks in line at the scale and one pulling in, but one driving past without exiting. There also seem to be some overhead scanning devices similar the EZPass lane scanners just before the scales.

I understand why shippers would want to weigh trucks and track their shipments, but why would it be a law that people have to do this? How does it all work with the scanners and the bypass signals and the paperwork? What happens if you don’t stop?

In: Economics

8 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

On the interstate system there is a gross vehicle weight restriction of 80,000 lbs and restrictions on the axles, typically 12000lbs on the steer axles, 34000lbs on the drive axles (the two axles on the truck with four tires each) and 34000lbs on the trailer axles. The weigh stations are there to make sure the trucks are complying with the regulations. There’s also a Prepass system that has a transponder in the truck that indicates if you can bypass the scales if you’re truck is not to close to the weight restrictions, determined by a scale built into the highway surface just before those antennas you saw.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Yeah. As the other guy said. It’s that some roads and bridges are built with certain tolerances. Driving something too heavy, especially if it’s not broadly distributed (which is why some of the limits say per axle) could degrade if not outright ruin a road that wasn’t engineered to withstand that much.

As far as enforcement… :shrug:. But commercial trucking is pretty heavily regulated. I’m sure if you fuck up a few times, you’ll lose your CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) and then you’d really be up shit creek as that’s likely your only livelihood. And even though in the past truckers fudged their books (and I’m sure still do to some extent) technology has taken so the company can keep track of where they go and for how long they’re moving. And the company doesn’t want to eat a huge violation and fine just because the driver wanted to shave 20 miles off of their trip.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Trucks are heavy and they pound out the roads they’re also large and need extra safety measures. In order to regulate this, trucks have to comply with certain regulations. There’s a maximum overall weight and a limit of how much each tire can carry. Both so that a tire doesn’t put too much pressure on the road and also so that some goof doesn’t put all the weight on a single axle and suffer a blowout.

Hence the weigh scale. They make sure you’re complying. Once saw some poor trucker with an imbalanced load of lumber. He had to cut the straps and hand carry enough planks from the back to the front to make compliance. Sucks to be him.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The weigh scales aren’t for the shipping companies to track, but more for the department of transportation. The roads are meant to be able to handle a certain amount of weight, and the scales are there to make sure everyone is compliant. They can also do other inspections there, like brake inspections and paperwork inspections. Some trucking companies will try to overload a truck because they make more profit if they don’t have to pay for another truck. Some places have agreements with the D.O.T., and they can bypass the scales, because they’ve proven that their fleet of trucks are never overweight, or are in good condition, and don’t need to stop in.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A town I worked in had it’s 150 year old bridge and one of only two roads in and out closed for years due to an over weight HGV driving over it and damaging it, requiring very expensive surveying work.

It’s not about shipping or the weight of the goods and truck, it’s whether the infrastructure can take it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Notice potholes. Those potholes are caused by overweight vehicles. Same for those on the freeway, potholes are almost always on the truck lanes. The fines they impose on the trucks goes to fix the road.

Not all streets are constructed the same. Main streets and freeways have thicker reinforced concrete. Neighborhood streets are thinner and there are signs posted telling you the weight limit before you enter.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If no one is double checking then shady trucking companies will just overload their trucks. This causes immense damage to roads. Damage scales with the 4th power with weight. It can also be unsafe as it harder to stop the heavier you are.