There are a lot of question’s out there as to what happens if a truck doesn’t stop at a weigh station. There are a lot of misguided answer’s out there as well. Today I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about them!
First things first, if you are coming up to a weigh station and it shows open, if you don’t get a green light with your prepass, you need you ENTER THE WEIGHT STATION!
The only time you should bypass an open scale house and you didn’t get a green light, is if the electronic sign along the road tells you to go ahead and bypass.
Why Are Weigh Stations Important?
Weigh stations are there to enforce weight limits for trucks and in some states buses. The heavy weights can cause damage to the roadway or bridges through normal wear and tear, but if a truck is overweight either with its axles or overall weight, there is more damage caused.
They are also used for random inspections and as we all know, DOT will do their yearly BLITZ. It is very important for the safety of everyone on the roads that each truck is up to par. If you get a level 1 inspection, odds are they will find something minute to get you on.
They will also usually check to make sure all your permits are correct and up to date. Things like your IFTA sticker and Fuel tax permit are the most important to keep up to date.
They have been known to check your fuel receipt’s when they check your log’s, but that isn’t all to common.
Do You Have To Stop If You Are Empty?
Yes. Even bobtails need to pull in unless given the green light. A lot of weigh stations are getting upgraded with “Weigh in Motion” which allows trucks to not even have to pull in.
They have placed them in the roadway before you get to the scale house and they can check each truck’s weight while going down the highway, if they can’t determine the accurate weight, or find that you are overweight, you won’t get the green light.
With technology getting better every day, they are now able to place camera’s over the roadway that can snap a picture of every truck. If you don’t stop at the scales, odds are they will contact your company, this can get you fired.
They can also identify who it is that didn’t stop by using the transponder in your truck. Things like PrePass are assigned to each individual truck, so if they gave you the red light they already have your information.
What Are The Penalties And Fines?
These vary state by state and depending on how bad of a day the DOT officer that got you has had. You can even have your license suspended. Expect to get a level one inspection. They will waste your time since you have wasted theirs.
The fines are usually under $300 for not stopping, but they can go up from there if they find anything wrong with your equipment.
If you can stop at the exit ramp of the scale house, you should. You can bring your paperwork in, odds are they will still give you a ticket for not stopping, but sometimes they won’t.
Not stopping can also cause more trouble for the other drivers in your company. If your companies CSA score gets too high, you will more than likely lose your PrePass ability.
This will in turn cause more pull ins at the scale house and give you a higher chance of being pulled in for an inspection, wasting even more of your time.
Can You Get Fired?
Some companies will keep you on, but most of the major companies will fire you, or at least put you on probation.
The reason being Is that when you fail to stop at the scales, your company can be fined or receive a bad CSA/ISS score, causing even more problems for the company and its driver’s.
They may also have their insurance rates go up due to the higher scores, which is why you can be fired.
Do You Always Get Caught?
You will not always get caught blowing a scale house. There won’t always be a chaser, but if they do have one, it won’t be out in plain sight, so it is always best to stop.
With budget cuts affecting how often a scale house is open and how many people can be on staff there at any given time, the likelihood of having a chaser is getting slimmer.
You DO NOT want to bypass a scale house in states like Washington, California, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Texas and Connecticut. These are the states with the highest amount of chase vehicles.
There are other states that are hit and miss, but these are the ones you don’t want to chance.
Do I Have To Stop When Hauling Produce?
Yes! States like Florida and California are very strict on anything to do with agriculture. If you are hauling any kind of produce and bypass an Agricultural Inspection Station, you can open yourself up to a long inspection if they chase you down.
The reason why Agricultural Inspection Stations are important is because they are there to protect the region from any outside pests. Things that are not native to the area can cause havoc on the local crops.
Any kind of invasive species can destroy a whole field. So, when there are places with a lot of AG and Horticulture coming in and going out, they are more cautious about what they let come through.
Any Helpful Apps For Weigh Stations
There are a few apps out there that are great for drivers. One of the popular ones is TruckerPath. Not only does it let you know what Scales are open, but it also shows you Truck Stops throughout the US.
Drivewyze is another good one, both of these apps do require input from other driver’s, so it won’t always be accurate.
What Are The Different Levels Of Inspections?
The three main levels of DOT inspections you can receive are Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
With a Level 1 Inspection, you can expect to burn through a lot of time. They will check everything thoroughly. Small things that you might not have caught on your Pre-Trip, they will find during a Level 1.
A Level 2 Inspection consists of them just checking things that they don’t have to crawl underneath and check. Light’s, tire pressure and tread depth, loose lug nuts and air leaks are the most common for this.
A Level 3 Inspection is just looking at the driver. Making sure they have all their permits up to date and all the paperwork in order.
Any time you have to do an inspection, you put yourself at risk of getting fine’s, ticket’s, and CSA points against your record.
Make sure to always wear your seat belt. They will use binoculars to look at you going down the road, if they don’t have cameras set up and they will give you a ticket.
Should I Stop At A Roadside Inspection?
Yes, you should. The chances of having a chaser available for Roadside Inspections are high. Although the signage for random inspections can be hard to spot, you are required to stop.
The signs are usually temp signs and they don’t always stand out. You should always be listening to the CB for updates as to what Is going on down the road.
These inspections won’t always be on the interstate, you will find them on the highways as well.
In some areas where they have a lot of trucks avoiding the scales by taking backroads or other routes all together, they will set these up.
The most important thing to remember is that your equipment should always be in tip top shape. Weigh Stations and inspection points are important for keeping the motoring public safe.
If you fail to keep your equipment in line, then what happens is on you. If you get in a wreck and injure or kill someone, you will have to live with that.
Keep your dash clean, don’t have old paperwork stuffed up there. If an officer sees your cab is a mess, that tells them that your truck is likely in the same shape and they will want to do an inspection!