Why Do Commercial Trucks Use Weigh Stations?

Curious about commercial trucks and the trucking industry? You’ve probably seen weigh stations up and down the highway and at truck stops. But what are weigh stations and how do they help with hauling cargo? 

Weigh stations are a necessary part of the commercial trucking industry. They are places where commercial trucks can go to have their weight measured, which is important for many reasons, including ensuring that a truck is not overweight and that it can operate safely. In this blog post, we will explore the purpose of weigh stations and why they are important to the trucking industry.

What Are Weigh Stations? 

Weigh stations are facilities at which commercial trucks must stop to have their weight measured. Typically administered by officials from the Department of Transportation (DOT) or state highway patrols, these highway checkpoints exist to ensure trucks stay within safe weight limits, both for truck operation and to ensure the safety of drivers around them. Overweight trucks can have serious implications, such as putting stress on the axles and affecting the truck’s braking and handling abilities. Weigh stations also help law enforcement officials identify trucks that may be violating weight limits, which can cause damage to roads and bridges. 

What Do Weigh Stations Look For?  

As a truck passes through a weigh station, two measurements are calculated, including gross weight and axle weight. 

Gross weight refers to the total weight of the truck, including the driving truck, the trailer, its cargo, and any accessories. 

Axle weight refers to the amount of weight that each tandem axle carries on a truck. This weight is found by dividing the total weight of the load and trailer by the number of tandem axles and then adding the tractor (the driving truck) weight. 

Officials at weigh stations may also check for proper paperwork or carry out a DOT inspection. These extra checks look for cargo that matches the paperwork as well as ensures that the truck is properly functioning and in safe working condition. 

Where Are Weigh Stations Typically Located? 

Weigh stations are found in a number of highway and local locations. On the highway, they are often located near ports of entry, such as seaports or near state borders. They can also be located near areas with high freight loading volume, such as near areas with large industrial presence and commercial warehouses, and at commercial truck dealers, as new and used commercial trucks must also be weighed before the sale. Many cities and towns also have truck scales so that owner/operators and other truckers that may not have access to a scale can be weighed locally before setting out on the open road. 

Temporary weigh stations can also be set up to accommodate an increase in truck traffic, whether seasonally or along stretches of roads with heavy truck traffic to alleviate backup at permanent weigh stations. 

Weigh stations are an important part of the commercial trucking industry. They help keep our highways and local roads safe by ensuring that trucks are not carrying too much weight. Need to find a weigh station? Stop into a Nextran Truck Center! 

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