Truck drivers are drawn to the profession because of the freedom offered by the open road. Whether driving domestically or internationally, you’ll get to experience locations most people only hear about.
While you’re making good time on your first haul, may notice a sign for a weigh station. Your trucking school told you about them, but here’s an explanation of what to expect from your first experience.
What Is a Weigh Station?
If you’re on the border of two states, a weigh station might be called a port of entry.
Weigh stations ensure that the open road you’re enjoying is safe to drive on. Commercial motor vehicles (CMV) transport heavy materials. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the highway patrol run weigh stations to make sure your rig isn’t so heavy that it damages the road.
Who Has to Stop?
All CMVs over 10,000 pounds are required to stop at weigh stations. However, due to the large number of truckers on the road, these stations can get backed up. The delays can put you behind schedule. The Trucker Path app can save you time by finding available weigh stations in the area.
PrePass lets you pre-screen your vehicle ahead of your trip. When you get to a PrePass-equipped station, you’ll be notified if you can continue on the road or if you need to pull over for an inspection.
What Should I Expect?
Once through the weigh station line, you’ll drive to the scale. It’ll give you directions on how fast you should drive over it and when to stop your truck. Your rig can have a maximum weight of 80,000 pounds, but some states allow for more. In some cases, the DOT will weigh each axle.
After passing the scale, there might be an inspection. Your DOT number will be input into a computer. Your logbook will be examined for accuracy, and they’ll check your safety rating. First-time drivers likely won’t have a safety rating yet. In that case, you’ll get a pass.
Sometimes, the DOT will also perform a detailed safety inspection of your rig. The inspection includes ensuring that there are no leaks, that the tires are full, and that the brakes function. They’ll also look for damage and poorly secured equipment.
Once you pass the weighing and inspection, you’re free to get back on the road.
Our accredited day and night courses provide students with classroom and road experience, preparing them for life on the road as truck drivers. For more information on our hours and financial aid program, reach out to us at (330) 239-2229.
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