Why Do Trucks Have To Stop At Weigh Stations?

Do Truck Drivers Have To Stop At Weigh Stations?

A weigh station is usually located just off a highway (the exit signs indicate their location to turn off); they are basically like a checkpoint, where officials inspect the weight of the passing trucks. These weigh stations are operated by officials of the Department of Transportation, or the state highway patrol teams.

Why Do Trucks Have To Stop At Weigh Stations Brief

These weigh stations exist to check the weight of the trucks to ensure they are not driving over capacity and therefore placing others at risk when they travel on the highways, overpasses, bridges etc. The overall weight limits are important to ensure minimal tire or axle overload and damage or a semi-truck rollover.

“If the truck driver has a PrePass that allows them to bypass weigh stations, they won’t need to stop. In addition, commercial and non-commercial vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 lbs. likely won’t need to stop at a weigh station.” (Source: www.moving.com.)

What Trucks Sizes Need To Stop At Weigh Stations?

Most of the time, the weigh-in rules apply to commercial vehicles only due to their size and weight. However, this depends largely on the state one is traveling in. For example, when it comes to driving moving trucks, every vehicle over 7,500 lbs in GVWR is required to pass through the weigh station in the state of Virginia.

In other states, such as Washington or West Virginia, the rules differ: “Only agricultural trucks or commercial trucks with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds are required to stop at weigh stations. However, a state highway patrol officer may require a vehicle or combination of vehicles to proceed to the nearest weigh station within three miles for weighing and inspection.”

Noncompliance can cost $300 per violation, as there are cameras at every turnoff spot. (Source: housemethod.com.)

When looking at average weight for moving trucks to determine whether or not they have to use the weigh station, below is some helpful information:

“A rented moving truck will have a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) between 8,600 pounds (4.3 tons) for a 10′ truck and 26,000 pounds (13 tons) for a 26′ truck.” (Source: www.movinglabor.com)

How Do Weigh Stations Work?

The CAT Scale Website lists the exact steps that occur when weighing the truck at a weigh station. Depending on the type of vehicle, there are different protocols. For example, when weighing a truck and a trailer, this is what one must do: “ When weighing your truck and trailer it must be completely on the scale and it is best if you position the steer axle (front wheels) of the truck on platform 1, and the drive axle or rear axle of the truck on platform 2. The trailer will normally show up on platform 3.”

For semi trucks, the protocol is a bit different, and more simple: “As you can see, all three axles are on the scale at one time.Drive onto the scale so that your steer axle is positioned on platform 1, your drive axle on platform 2 and your trailer axle on platform 3.” Overall, the protocol depends on the total amount and location of axles.

(Source: catscale.com.)

“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.” (Source: www.hamrickschool.edu)

If your truck is overweight, there are several things that happen: if you are over 6,000 lbs overweight, you will be out of commission/grounded until you can lighten the truck and bring it back into compliance. Some states also charge a per-lb-overage fee, anywhere from pennies to up to $65/lb! As you can see, this can easily put an owner-operator out of business if they drive over weight limit. 

What To Do When Stopping At Weigh Stations?

Unless one has a bypass app/device, every truck over 10,000 lbs of GVWR must stop at the weigh station to be weighed. In addition to the weigh-in, there is often at least a Level 3 inspection.

As you approach the scales, the license plates are being checked in the database against any violations or flags, including past incidents. Further, inspectors already perform a visual walkaround test to look at the tire conditions, the overall condition of the truck, the lights, as well as any obviously unsafe transport possibilities (such as, securing of the cargo).

As mentioned above, there are three levels of inspections and most trucks might have to undergo a Level 1 inspection, which is the most thorough. The three levels of inspection are Level 1 (full), Level 2 (walk-around), or Level 3 (driver-only). Prior to the Level 1 inspection, the inspector will request the driver’s hours-of-service records and then escalate the inspection level accordingly.

Some items the DOT personnel inspects during a Level 1 inspection are:

  • “license, log book, inspection reports, permits, HAZMAT documentation, and other paperwork
  • tires, wheels and rims
  • brakes
  • coupling devices
  • kingpin
  • springs
  • fuel tank and line
  • hoses and tubing
  • seat belts and safety gear.”

(Source: gpstrackit.com)

What States Require Moving Trucks To Stop At Weigh Stations?

Below is a map of all weigh stations in the USA. For a most accurate map, go to drivewyze.com.

Below is a list of weight limits per state that requires moving trucks to stop at weigh stations:

State Stop? Requirements
Alabama No “An officer may require the measuring or weighing of truck or trailer.”
Alaska Yes “Trucks over 10,000 lbs. GVWR are required to stop.”
Arizona Yes “Gross weight fees apply to trailers and semitrailers with GVW of 10,000 lbs. or more and all commercial trailers and semitrailers.”
Arkansas Yes “The following vehicles must stop at weight/inspection stations: (1) agricultural vehicles; (2) passenger or specialty vehicles, whether single or in combination (towing a trailer) with GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or more; (3) commercial trucks with GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or more.”
California Yes “Rental trucks can be a U-Haul, Ryder, Sears, Budget, Enterprise, etc. A rental truck is a motor truck, according to CVC Section 410, and must stop at the weigh stations. Most scale facilities make this very clear with signs reminding drivers: ‘All Daily Rental/Moving Trucks Must Stop At Scales When Open.’ However, if the rental truck is a pick up, it does not necessarily have to stop… If the rental truck is a flat bed or utility bed, then YES, it does have to stop.”
Colorado Yes “Every owner or operator of a motor vehicle having a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of over 26,000 lbs. shall secure a valid clearance from an office of the DOR, from an officer of the Colorado State Patrol, or from a port of entry weigh station before operating such vehicle or combination of vehicles in the state.”
Connecticut No  
Delaware No  
Florida Yes “(Yes, but only those carrying agricultural products or stopping at an Agricultural Inspection Station)

“The following vehicles must stop: (1) agricultural, motor vehicles (including trailers) which are or could be used in the production, manufacture, storage, sale, or transportation of any food product or any agricultural, horticultural or live stock product, except private passenger automobiles with no trailer in tow, travel trailers, camping trailers, and motor homes; (2) any commercial vehicle (a) with a GWR of 10,000 lbs. or more, (b) designed to transport more than 10 passengers, or (c) used to transport hazardous materials.””

Georgia Yes “The following vehicles must stop…(2) passenger or specialty vehicles, either single or in combination (towing a trailer) with GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or more”
Hawaii Yes “Trucks over 10,000 lbs. GVWR must stop.”
Idaho Yes Trucks over 26,000 lbs. GVWR must stop.
Illinois Yes Trucks over 16,000 lbs. GVWR must stop.
Indiana Yes “All trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 10,000 lbs. or more must stop.”
Iowa Yes “All vehicles weighing over 10,000 lbs. must stop.”
Kansas Yes “All vehicles registered as trucks are required to stop at motor carrier safety and weight inspection stations when signs direct them to do so.”
Kentucky No  
Louisiana No  
Maine No  
Maryland Yes All vehicles with a GVWR greater than 10,000 lbs. must stop.
Massachusetts No  
Michigan No  
Minnesota Yes “All vehicles with a GVW rating in excess of 10,000 lbs. must stop.”
Mississippi No  
Missouri Yes Vehicles with a GVWR greater than 18,000 lbs. must stop.
Montana Yes All vehicles with a GVWR greater than 26,000 lbs. must stop.
Nebraska Yes “All trucks over 1 ton must stop, except a pickup truck pulling a recreational trailer.”
Nevada No  
New Hampshire No  
New Jersey Yes Trucks with a GVWR greater than 10,000 lbs. must stop.
New Mexico Yes “Trucks with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more must stop.”
New York Yes All vehicles with a GVWR greater than 10,000 lbs. must stop.
North Carolina Yes All vehicles with a GVWR greater than 10,000 lbs. must stop.
North Dakota Yes “All vehicles with a GVWR in excess of 10,000 lbs. must stop. Exception: recreational vehicles used for personal, recreational purposes.”
Ohio Yes “All commercial vehicles over 5 tons (10,000 lbs) are required to cross the scales if the weigh station is open in Ohio.”
Oklahoma No  
Oregon Yes All vehicles with a GVWR in excess of 10,000 lbs. must stop.
Pennsylvania Yes “Regardless of size, the following vehicles are subject to inspection and weigh station examinations: (1) agriculture vehicles when using public highways; (2) passenger and specialty vehicles towing large trailers; (3) large recreational vehicles, and (4) trucks.”
Rhode Island No  
South Carolina Yes “If the Department has reason to believe that the weight of a vehicle and load is unlawful, it may require the driver to stop and submit to a weighing of the vehicle and load either by means of portable or stationary scales and may require that the vehicle be driven to the nearest public scales.”
South Dakota Yes “The following trucks must stop: (1) agricultural vehicles with a GVW rating over 8,000 lbs.; (2) trucks over 8,000 lbs.; (3) drive-away operations in excess of 8,000 lbs. GVW rating.”
Tennessee No  
Texas No  
Utah No  
Vermont No  
Virginia Yes “Trucks must stop if their registered gross weight exceeds 7,500 lbs.”
Washington No  
West Virginia No  
Wisconsin Yes “Trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight must stop.”
Wyoming Yes “”Trucks are required to stop when instructed by a regulatory sign (black letters on a white background) or a police officer. Trucks and drivers are chosen for inspection on a random basis.”


(Source: www.moving.com.)

Why Do Trucks Have To Stop At Weigh Stations Brief

Where Are Weigh Stations Located?

Many weigh stations are located at state borders and ports of entry. Below is a Website that shows maps with the locations of weigh stations per state: www.allstays.com.

What Happens If Trucks Don’t Stop At Weigh Stations?

It is illegal and not a good idea to ignore the weigh stations, if you are in the category that’s supposed to stop. In all 50 states, this applies AT MINIMUM to all trucks weighing over 26,000 lbs GVWR. Non-compliance can get really expensive, with a $300-600 fine per non-compliance event, and higher for each subsequent noncompliance.

There are cameras at each weigh station entry point. Furthermore, your noncompliance with the weigh stations will alert the authorities that you might be hiding something, whether it’s unsafe driving conditions or questionable cargo.  A highway patrol officer might stop you to follow up and issue a citation.

Can Truckers Avoid Weigh Stations?

While there might be valid reasons to want to avoid weigh stations (e.g. not wanting to waste time and gas, knowing the truck is within compliance etc.), the weigh stations are there to keep truckers and everyone around them safe. These weigh stations cost at least $10/pull-in/truck for the truck company, which adds up really fast! (Source: onswitchboard.com)

There is a way to bypass the weigh stations and that is with a bypass program transponder (such as Switchboard Bypass) or a PrePass app. The trucking company must apply for those and continue to submit service and safe driving records on a regular basis to remain on the program.


Do 15-foot U-Haul trucks have to stop at weigh stations?

Trucks over 10,000 lbs of GVWR might be required to stop in certain states. For example, this is the rule for California: “Rental trucks can be a U-Haul, Ryder, Sears, Budget, Enterprise, etc. A rental truck is a motor truck, according to CVC Section 410, and must stop at the weigh stations. Most scale facilities make this very clear with signs reminding drivers: ‘All Daily Rental/Moving Trucks Must Stop At Scales When Open.” (Source: www.moving.com.)

Do trucks that pull campers have to stop at weigh stations?

The most common question RV owners have in regards to weigh stations is whether or not they are required to stop at them or not. In almost every case, the answer is no, unless directed by local signage or told by highway patrol to do otherwise.

How much does it cost to weigh a truck at a weigh station?

“There are currently no additional charges from CAT Scale for using Weigh My Truck. Pricing for U.S. Locations is $13.00 for a first weigh and $3.50 for a reweigh.” (Source: weighmytruck.com.)

Do Penske trucks stop at weigh stations?

Again, this is the same principle as for U-Haul trucks. Some states might require trucks weighing over 10,000 lbs GVWR to stop at weigh stations.

Can you weigh an RV at a truck weigh station?

Yes, you can pull in and have your RV weighed, although these scales are used for commercial use only. You will also be charged a small fee for doing so.

Is there an app that helps to avoid weigh stations?

There are a few. Two of them are Drivewyze and PrePass.


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