So I was driving on interstate 95 this evening, and I've always wondered -- why do trucks stop at weigh stations? Why do they have to do that, and why do they sometimes just go by without stopping at all (or when they're closed at night)?
To keep the truckers and trucking companies honest. They monitor the truck drivers to keep them from driving for days and days without rest and to make sure the trucks don't carry too heavy loads; damaging the roads and being very dangerous.
they have a weight limit they are allowed to carry. its also a way to check the driver's logs to see how long they have been driving
A trucker among us? . You sir are correct. When you get the prorate for your truck (tractor actually), you are required to buy it for a certain weight. If you are overweight in total, you get a fine. Also, there are weight limits imposed by your DOT on the axles. So say your tandem rear axles are over 44,000 lbs (this is usually the limit). That means you get a ticket. However, you can receive permits if your tires are a certain size (thus you can haul more). Some states have instituted automatic "MVP"-type programs where the drivers gets expedited service if he/she receives no tickets/violations. This is for the ones who don't stop. Oh and if the station is full, that means they just pass by. If they're closed at night, who will check the weight?
But essentially, this is to check weight and logbook.
Yes it's mandatory. Overweight trucks have resulted in huge cost increases in construction of interstates. Without heavy trucks on the road most pavement sections would be 4-8inchs of granular borrow with 4inches of concrete, with the trucks most modern pavement sections are 12-14inches of concrete and usually an addtional 1-2feet of granual subbase. When they weigh trucks they assess fees based on the weight of the trucks to help defray some of the cost of the damage the trucks do (although the fees are minor compared to the construction costs). They can also run safety inspections and driver impairment checks, these are attempts to get bad truckers off the road making the roads safer for everyone else.
This would be a great thread to talk to my friend in Motor Carriers about; too bad he took off the week. Al the answers are correct AFAIK. They aren't all open because it would just cost too much money to have them all open all the time. So they open some of them (read: a few) and change them often to the drivers don't know weather one will be open or not, US Border Patrol does the same thing along to boarder on Mexico in SW US, they have stations along the interstates coming up from Mexico placed strategically up to ~50 miles for the boarder to check to make sure you and your passengers are in the country legally.
Since this thread has the attention of people that know about trucking.. I've noticed on stretches of I-75 there are things called SpeedPass or something along those lines (can't remember the name, or Google would probably answer my question). They look like little cameras, but don't have eyes so I guess they do some radio communication, suspended over the right lane of the highway around the exit for the way station. What do those do? What is their purpose in life?
Ahhh.. I did a little Google digging and found my answer right here! It's "Advantage 75"... pretty cool.
Any 'Trucker' with any experience knows the routes around the Weigh Stations. Listen to the 'local CB channel and you'll hear the chatter as they pin point the mobile scales and discuss routes around them or DOT checks
Trucking is the most highly regulated industry in the US and yet breaking the law is where the real money is. If you run perfectly legal you would go broke yesterday!
...well, I'm taking my wife out to breakfast or I'd go on about this....I'll be back.
OT: Dont be a trucker if you have kids, my dad would dissappear for weeks at a time when i was a kid. It sucked, and my mother hated it. NOT good on a relationship Thats why i took up computers, you can do that pretty much anywhere.
Weigh Stations: Yup, weight, safety, and log books, thats pretty much how they work. The trick is to hit them when they are closed
Here in Washington state, they've installed "Weigh-in-motion" scales. The trucks don't even need to pull into the weigh station. The technology works by weighing their truck while they drive down the freeway. If there is a discrepancy, a sign will flash on the road for the truck to pull in for a more thorough inspection.