A Complete Guide to Weigh Stations

As a truck driver, there are certain deadlines and schedules that you must meet. Arriving late could cost you a lot of money and possibly your job. Making stops, if not planned perfectly, can make your schedule tight or make you late. This is especially true when you do not know how long the stop is going to take. Weigh stations, or as some truckers call them “chicken coops”, are the ultimate time killer. Knowing what to expect at a weigh station will help speed things up and get you back on the road. Check out our complete guide to weigh stations.


What is a weigh stations?

Weigh stations are there to keep the roads safe by keeping overweight and unsafe vehicles off the road. In America, the maximum weight for a truck and trailer is 80,000 pounds. The DOT inspector will also do a walk around your truck and may pull you over for inspection. These inspections vary from a level 1 to a level 6. Level 1 is the most thorough type of inspection.


Who has to stop at a weigh station?

If you are hauling freight from state to state, keep in mind that each state has different weigh station rules. Most states require a truck over 10,000 pounds to stop at a weigh station. Some state’s weight requirements are less and some are more. For example, Rhode Island’s weight requirement is 8,000 lbs and Oregon’s is 26,000lbs. It is a good idea to check each state’s weigh station rules. Figure out how many weigh stations you might run into before starting your route. This will give you a better idea of how to manage your trip.


If a truck is overweight, there are a variety of consequences the driver will face. Depending on the state you are in, there can be harsh fines attached to driving an overweight truck. Each state varies on how much they charge per pound you are overweight. This can quickly add up and cost you thousands of dollars. While some states charge fines, other states will send you directly to jail. So, be aware of your vehicle’s weight and check each state’s laws before entering a weigh station.


What happens at a weigh station?

If a weigh station says open, the truck driver must take the exit and weigh their truck. Most weigh stations have rolling scales where a truck will roll past the scale to determine if the truck is safe or not. After the truck goes through the scales, a DOT or state inspector officer could flag the vehicle for further inspections. Failing the inspection could lead to the towing the truck. It will also be declared out-of-service until the repairs to the violations found in the inspection are complete. The truck isn’t the only thing that can be inspected. A trucker’s log book can also be inspected. An inspector can check to see if the trucker is logging their daily hours and if there are any violations.


Weigh station behavior

There is a certain weigh station protocol that truck drivers should follow. Everyone knows how frustrating and time consuming weigh stations are. Being polite and cooperative can make things go much smoother and quicker. It is best to have everything ready and well organized just in case you get inspected. Do not argue with inspectors, be respectful and follow our guide to weigh stations. This will make the process much better.

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Maranda Heaverin

Maranda Heaverin

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