Shortly after getting your CDL license and/or your carrier authority, you will soon be required to stop at weigh stations. Whether you’re beginning your journey as a driver, or an experienced roadster, here are some tips and other info that’ll answer some questions you may have about going through these stops.
- What exactly are weigh stations?
The definition can be quite literal to the name. Don’t be alarmed, weigh stations are simply roadside areas where DOT officials weigh your tractor and your freight. Typically, they’re stationary areas but sometimes you’ll run across portable ones in some places (especially Alabama).
- What’s the point of weigh stations?
Weigh stations are there to examine vehicles and to prevent unsafe and overweight vehicles from traveling. They do this by tracking the weight of your tractor trailer periodically along your trips. A DOT inspector will also do a visual test and could possibly do an additional inspection. These inspections can range from a Level 1 inspection to a Level 6 inspection, Level 1 being the most comprehensive.
- What happens in an additional inspection?
If the DOT inspector pulls you over for an additional inspection, you’re required to comply with it. Remain calm, complying with the officer will make the additional inspection shorter in time. Missing a delivery deadlines can get pretty annoying (especially if it’s not your fault) but arguing with the officer will probably not end up well.
- Can you bypass the scales?
Being able to bypass scales (legally) would obviously save some time and prove to be valuable, especially when on a strict deadline. Most trucking companies and some owner-operators invest in a PrePass subscription, which at one time was $15/month for every license. Other options are out there too! PrePass just seems to be the most popular option. This small device allows you to pass some, but not all, weigh stations.
Annoying as they can be, weigh stations are part of being a trucker or running a trucking company. They’re also a requirement by law so never take a risk with them.