Truck Weigh Stations: What Are They and How Do They Keep You Safe?
You’ve probably driven on highways and seen the signs that announce that a truck weigh station is coming up. And because you likely were not driving an 18-wheeler at the time, you probably gave little thought to that weigh station or to what it is. But truck weigh stations play an important role in highway safety.
Enforcement of Regulations
You may already know that laws require truckers and trucking companies to follow a lot of safety regulations. Everything from driver fatigue and hours on the road, to the way that cargo is loaded, to the technical equipment that must be on board, to the inflation of tires, are all regulated by laws.
But once a trucker is on the road, on his or her own, who is actually monitoring those trucks? Many trucks can be on the road for days on end, in the middle of vast highways. It seems like there is nothing to stop a truck driver from just looking at an underinflated tire and ignoring it, or from secretly overloading the storage area of the truck, and driving on.
Requirement to Stop for Inspection
Enter the truck weigh station. When truckers encounter a weigh station, they must stop at it for inspection—something that most truckers and trucking companies, who make money moving product as quickly as possible, don’t like doing very much.
But if they fail to stop, the trucker or trucking company can be fined by the government. However, some drivers, with good long term safety records, can get a pre-approved pass that allows them to bypass these weigh stations.
Most weigh stations are at state borders, because inspectors are also checking for compliance with state trucking laws, which vary from state to state.
At the weigh station, the truck will be fully mechanically inspected by personnel at the weigh station. Everything from driveshafts to fuel systems to lighting, steering, and suspensions, are checked. If there is a mechanical problem, it will have to be fixed there, on site—the trucker won’t be able to just drive off and say he or she will fix the problem later.
Inspection of Drivers
Inspectors don’t just look at the trucks either—they will also look at drivers, and they can take action if they feel that a driver is impaired, or else, just too tired to be driving. Inspectors are authorized to look in the back of the truck as well, to ensure that cargo is properly loaded.
They will also look at electronic records in the truck to make sure the driver hasn’t been on the road too long, as well as looking at the drivers trucking licenses and skill performance certificates.
Of course, weigh stations also weigh trucks, which is mostly to ensure that trucks aren’t too heavy for our nations’ infrastructure—things like bridges or smaller roads or tunnels.
Injured by a semi truck or large 18-wheeler truck? Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today.