Are you operating a truck weigh station or starting one? Do you want to know what you’ll need to start an effective truck weigh station?
The trucking industry handles moving 70% of all freight in the US. It also takes care of the delivery of everyday goods throughout the country. They deliver medicine, food, and more to all the people who need them.
However, there are also safety measures to keep the trucking industry safe. Weigh stations are only one of those safety measures placed throughout the country. Keep reading to learn more on how these stations help local and nationwide shipping and more.
What Is a Weigh Station?
A weigh station is a point off the highway and somewhere up in the interstate for weighting vehicles. Often, it’s a place for checking the weights of trucks and other commercial vehicles. Often, the people operating a weigh station are employees of the state highway patrol.
Most weigh stations want commercial motor vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds to stop. Drivers with a PrePass or other weigh station bypass service can skip the weight check.
Risks of Transporting Heavy Loads and Overloading
As the name goes, it’s a place where highway patrol checks truck weights. Overloading a truck can cause major problems and big accidents. We’ll explain further why overloaded trucks cannot function well below.
If you put too much weight on a truck, it places unnecessary strain on the truck’s axles and other metal components. This makes a truck difficult to control and can increase the chances of accidents.
Due to the nature of their use, trucks have powerful brakes and strong tires. However, these brakes and tires also have their limits. When you overload a truck, all the extra weight can give the driver poor control and less stopping ability.
Observe how truck drivers press on the brakes earlier when they need to stop the vehicle. By nature, trucks need a lot of time and space to come to a full stop. When you overload a truck, this stopping time increases and can catch a driver off-guard.
How Weigh Stations Work
Trucking is one of the largest growing businesses in the US. The revenue for trucking firms increased to $77 billion in Q3 of 2018. However, because of its nature, it’s also a dangerous industry.
Weigh stations exist to reduce accidents by making sure that the truck isn’t overloading.
Today, weigh stations also function as a safety checkpoint for truck weights. A driver can also get checked for his paperwork and equipment functionality. They can search the inside of a truck to check for trafficked persons and illegal immigrants.
What happens if a truck driver gets caught driving an overweight truck?
The consequences will vary depending on the state where the weight station is. The general occurrence is that there will be a delay in services.
This will occur because the station personnel will start inspecting the truck. A truck driver’s time is his money, and so he’ll lose money if he gets delayed. It can also damage the driver’s or the freight company’s relationship with its customers.
Issuing fines is another way to punish drivers and companies that overload trucks. In some states, the fines can be quite high. They can range from a couple of hundred dollars to over $10,000 for each offense. Repeat offenders may pay double or triple the amount of the standard fines.
Some states are harsher with their punishments. If you get caught, you may go straight to jail with a sentence of up to two months. The state may also revoke your commercial driver’s license as part of the legal actions.
What You Need in a Weigh Station
If you want to set up a weigh station, you need to have high-quality truck scales or weighbridges. These are the most important pieces of equipment in a weigh station. You also need other equipment like vehicle scale terminals and peripherals.
Weighbridges and Weighbridge Types
Weighbridges come in three types. These types include pit-mounted, surface-mounted, and modular weighbridges. You pick one depending on the circumstances and environment where you’ll place the weighbridge.
A pit-mounted weighbridge gets placed inside a dedicated pit. This puts the weighbridge at the same level as the surrounding surface. It’s an expensive solution, but it’s also more long-lasting.
Pit-mounted weighbridges don’t need features like rails because they’re already in a pit. It’s also the safer choice because heavy trucks don’t need to change levels anymore. Plus, since it’s in the ground, it won’t obstruct vehicles or people and lets them travel across it freely.
Surface-mounted weighbridges will not need a pit for installation. Instead, you place it on the ground and let vehicles enter or leave it via ramps. This type of weighbridge is ideal for temporary use.
It’s also more cost-effective since you don’t need to create a pit for it. Installation is faster and you can start operations right away. However, it is more difficult to use, especially in small areas.
The final type is the modular weighbridge. This comprises two or more individual modules that you can use as one or separately. It’s ideal for businesses that want to start small and scale larger later.
Other Essentials: Expertise
When you look for people to man your weigh station, they must know the trucking industry basics. Keep a truck weight guide on hand in case you have new employees. Also, don’t forget to put your employees under proper training.
Have repairmen ready in case your truck scale or weighbridge malfunctions. They are essential during busy days and when there’s already a long line of trucks awaiting their turns. Men with safety training can reduce the injuries related to operating weigh stations.
Equip Your Weigh Station Well
We hope you learned more about weigh stations today from reading our guide. We also hope you now have a better understanding of the equipment and people needed to build a weigh station.
Do you want to keep learning about trucking and weigh stations? Feel free to check out our other guides for more information on the trucking industry.