What Is The Purpose Of Highway Weigh Stations?

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            State governments are in charge of regulating the weigh stations in their respective state and this means that each state may have slightly different requirements. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the Department of Transportation (DOT) usually operate weigh stations, with the state police or state highway patrol providing enforcement when needed.<br /><br />Original Use of Weigh Stations <br /><br />The original purpose of weigh stations was to issue tax permits for commercial vehicles and trucks and collect road-use taxes from operators. The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) adopted late in the last century simplified the tax collection process and made the stations unnecessary for their original function. Truckers can still pay taxes at weigh stations, but the stations now serve several purposes and one of those is to help truck drivers and fellow occupants of the road avoid personal injury that can occur as the consequence of <a href='http://www.brownchiari.com/'>an auto accident</a>. <br /><br />Safety is the Priority <br /><br />Enforcing safety regulations is the most important function that takes place at weigh stations. Officials at weigh stations check equipment to ensure that it meets safety requirements and checks for adherence to weight restrictions, fuel tax laws and Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. In many states, officials check logbooks to verify that drivers obey the federal requirement for maximum daily driving hours allowed. Most states use weigh stations to carry out the greatest number of their DOT inspections, so state inspectors may check drivers and trucks, along with vehicle and freight paperwork. When a truck stops at a weigh station, law enforcement officers have an opportunity to detect other violations and determine the condition of the trucks tires and its general stability. Officials can also determine whether a driver is fatigued or unfit for duty. The safety checks performed at weigh stations can help prevent auto accidents that could result in <a href="http://www.brownchiari.com/personal-injury-attorneys/auto-accident-attorney-buffalo/buffalo-auto-accident-lawyers/">personal injury or even death for truck drivers</a> and other travelers on the nations highways.<br /><br />Weight Limits<br /><br />The state of Maine was first to put a weight law into practice in 1918, setting an 18,000-pound limit for vehicles on the states highways. Weigh stations along the highways now serve as checkpoints to test the weights of commercial vehicles and trucks, as well as to enforce fuel tax laws. Most weigh stations are close to the borders of states and known as ports of entry. Some states have additional weigh stations at freight delivery or origination areas, as well as at choke points. The maximum weight for vehicles in the country is now 80,000 pounds. Although trucks can travel on the highways when they weigh more than the maximum amount, they must have a permit for each trip and may be required to travel specific routes. Operators can get overweight permits only if they cannot separate the shipments into several smaller loads that weigh less than the federal weight limitation and do not have any other option to move the shipments by truck. Oversize trucks must be escorted in most states and before beginning their trips, operators must usually coordinate with law enforcement agencies and the DOT in each state through which they will travel. <br /><br />In some instances, drivers may have to park overweight trucks until they obtain overweight permits. In other situations, drivers may have to pay tickets for operating overweight trucks and could be required to remove enough freight to comply with the weight limit. However, if the overweight loads consist of hazardous or perishable materials, it may not be feasible to unload any of the freight. <br /><br />How Trucks Are Weighed<br /><br />Weigh stations use several types of truck scales, including older models that require vehicles to stop and modern Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) scales that allow trucks to keep moving. As the trucks move through the stations, signal lights let the drivers know that they are free to continue their trips or if they must stop for inspection.<br /><br />Electronic Bypass<br /><br />Many states lessen truck traffic through their weigh stations by using electronic bypass systems, including Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI), North American Preclearance and Safety System (NORPASS) or PrePass. A transponder mounted inside a trucks windshield transmits signals to equipment located in weigh stations. As the truck passes under beams located over the highway near a weigh station, an electronic reader sends data to the station. When the information received at the station is satisfactory, the transponder receives a signal to continue. However, if the data reveals a problem, the signal will indicate that the driver must stop at the station for an inspection. <br /><br />Portable Scales<br /><br />States can set up temporary weigh stations anywhere by using portable scales. Some of their common functions are to provide checkpoints where drivers may attempt to avoid stationary scales, as well as to furnish seasonal checkpoints during times of heavy truck traffic. Adjustments like these are always made to make sure the roads stay safe for all drivers. <br />
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