In most cases you will see a weigh station which is just a regular check point where trucks and in some other cases other types of commercial vehicles are being inspected.
Around few mile before every weigh stations you will start to see signs like this that are supposed to warn you that you are approaching a weigh station.
In some cases some truck scales can even identify your truck by built in transponder and determine automatically are you qualified for a weight inspections. Some other weigh stations will require all trucks to go trough the check point where they will be inspected. It all depends how advanced is the weigh check point and what is the technology used.
Don’t be surprised when you see some sort of displays saying and informing you that you should take the exist towards weight check point. That kind of advance technology will recognize your truck if he is from the company that has some issues with over weight trucks in the past and if you are from that kind of company you will be directed to weight stations more often.
And finally once you enter into the weight check point with your truck there is two possible ways to get inspected. Again it all depends how advanced the weight check point is from technology point of view.
In some cases you will be required to pull over and stop the truck in order to be inspected. On the other hand more advance systems can measure the weight even while you are driving. Of course not too fast but they can measure it.
There is a sensor technology built inside of the road so it measures the trucks weight even when the truck is moving. If there is a need for more detailed inspections (and almost every time there is) you will be also asked to stop your trucks for more detailed inspection.
What are the law requirements?
The laws and regulations are very simply written and can be understood very easily so that there is no chance do get away from the penalty in case you were stopped by for weigh inspection. Of course there is some different rules and regulations among different states and countries (Mexico and Canada) but generally speaking some of rules are pretty much the same.
In my opinion one of the the best possible explanations about weigh rules and regulations can be found on Wikipedia and I’m sure you will get all the information you need to know:
The maximum federal weight limit is set at 80.000 pounds and trucks that are exceeding that limit can still operate in certain state and drive trough the state but they need to obtain overweight permit.
Those kind of permits are issued only before that scheduled trip meaning company need to apply for it and provide all the required info about that exact load and once they get that permit it is only valid until the end of that trip meaning that for every trip you need to get a new one.
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It is very good and important to know that those kind of permits can not be obtained for every type of load you can transport. If you want to get this one it can be issues only for the loads that cannot be broken down to smaller pieces that could match the weight limitations meaning that there is no alternative ways of transporting that load.
Those kind of special transport events in most cases require few different agencies to be involved such as DOT or Police and Law Enforcement Agencies and in most states those kind of transportations will require that oversized and overweight trucks to be escorted.
The Penalties for Overweight Trucks
OK, so you got caught and the result of the truck weigh inspection shows a red light meaning you are in the not allowed area. What happens next or what can you expect to happen.
No need to panic but there is some negative scenarios that could arise. First you will get the ticket and for sure you will need to pay some fines. The amount of fines will depend of the pounds you were over weight and of course that makes sense.
So if you were let’s say 1000 pounds and 5000 pounds (in most states everything under 4000 pounds is considered less dangerous) over weight you will not get the same ticket.
The more pounds you are overweight the bigger the fine you will get. Starting from few hundred dollars all the way up to few thousands dollars and in some cases you can risk some criminal charges as well in some states.
But let’s say that with few hundreds dollars you can get yourself out if this is your first time you are getting overweight ticket or one of the first times.
In the future you can expect to be inspected more often since your ticket will be stored in database so the next time you go trough the weigh check point sensors will read that your truck and company had some issues in the past so you will be asked to stop for inspection immediately.
From all the informations you could read above it is clear that excess truck weight brings only negative things to the table. In order to avoid any bad scenarios and situations where the entire trucking company could be at risk it is better to stay away from this kind of situation developments.
Train your drivers, warn them and make your dispatchers check this information for every load. Circumstances can be really bad and small lack of attention can lead to risking of people lives. Remember you are only few minutes away on a daily base to 100% control and avoid this happening. Invest those few minutes and be 100% legal.