Weigh stations annoy truckers — and are a source of confusion for many drivers. Scattered along the nation’s highways, weigh stations are much more than a regulatory inconvenience. They help keep the roadways safe for everyone — truckers included.
What happens in a weigh station?
When a weigh station is open, big rigs are required to stop for inspection — which naturally slows the transport process down.
However, weigh station officials are there to make sure that trucks are fit to be driven — and that their loads aren’t putting too much pressure on the mechanical equipment and tires.
Nationally, there are about 2.3 million inspections each year. Officials at the westbound Haywood station in Tennessee see about 4,000 trucks a day. They spend their time checking to see that drivers have the correct certifications and licenses. They’re also on the alert for truckers that are too tired to be driving — and vehicles that are in a state of disrepair.
What kinds of problems do weigh stations find?
Unfortunately, far too often, weigh stations find trouble that should have been detected well before a truck left the loading dock. They sometimes find things that may have happened on the road — like a tire that’s underinflated and going flat. However, they also find trucks with broken suspensions, broken frames and broken air springs. Of course, they sometimes find a cargo that’s too heavy or so haphazardly loaded that it could easily cause the truck to tip over while in motion.
Unsafe trucks cannot leave the weigh station and must be repaired on site. That prevents drivers from skirting back onto the road and putting themselves — and everyone else — in danger. Nationally, one out of every five large trucks fails inspection at weigh stations.
Those statistics tell you one thing: Trucking companies will absolutely put their delivery schedules ahead of safety. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a trucking accident, take the necessary steps to hold the trucking company accountable for its negligence.