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An overhead shot of two semi-trucks on a highway October 03, 2022 - BY EagleLogistics LLC

Why and How to Use a Weigh Station

The general public probably assumes there isn’t a lot of paperwork with trucking, but that’s not true. It may not be actual paper as much as it used to be, but it’s tedious just the same. As a new driver you may be disappointed to learn that documentation and compliance are a big part of what you do. However, the good news is that you have options. If you want to drive but not do paperwork or follow procedures at, we’ll say, a weigh station, you don’t have to. You can just slink on by, perhaps sticking your tongue out at the Highway Patrol officer, and then subsequently be relieved of your duties to drive for a little bit. They’ll take care of everything! Just kidding, it’s worse. But, speaking of a weigh station, let’s talk about what those are, why they are needed, and what your responsibilities are.  

WHAT IS A WEIGH STATION AND WHY DO WE NEED THEM?

The mandatory stops for weighing your rig and its load are designed to keep any commercial vehicles hauling loads over 18,000 pounds from carrying an unsafe amount of weight. A load that’s too heavy is a safety concern, because heavier vehicles are harder to stop, for one thing. Having a large vehicle on the road that can’t stop quickly –  because it wasn’t made for the amount of load it’s carrying –  is not wise. Have you ever been bowling? That’s what we are all trying to avoid – a  juggernaut barreling through small cars. Cornering, climbing, and functioning in adverse weather are also concerns based on the weight of the entire rig. 


On top of the immediate safety is the long term effects of overloaded trucks on the roads. The integrity of the road can be pushed beyond its design and dangerous consequences arise in the form of damaged surfaces and even foundational problems. Another purpose of the stations is to check for DOT compliance. Registration, accuracy in reporting, equipment competency, and many other points of information are acquired during these stops. 

Fantastic resources for locating weigh stations, as well as other info like crucial phone numbers, state by state policies, info on tolls, etc. are easily found at coopsareopen.com. Note that some truck drivers will get a “PrePass,” which although it’s very nice to have, does not exclude them from a weigh station if they are hauling overweight or oversized loads. 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED AT A WEIGH STATION

Be sure you are 100 percent complaint, documented, and organized before you visit the station. Just think about how burnt out and impatient your local DMV worker is, now give that person the legal authority to shoot you like a License-To-Kill 007, watch them get under your trailer in the summer swelter to inspect it, and you’ll feel how important it is that you show up prepared and organized. Here’s what you need to have: 


  • Contact Sheet (Info for All Parties for the Shipment, After Hours Contacts, Roadside Assistance, etc.)

  • Permits

  • Insurance Documents

  • Driver’s License

  • Registration 

  • Forms

  • Logs (Fleet Tracking Systems)

Do you ever see the metal detectors at the store to catch shoplifters and suddenly get a little rush of panic? “What if they catch me? Wait, I didn’t steal anything. Oh, right. But, still, let’s walk fast. Go. Go.” Well, you may feel like that at a weigh station, but rest assured, if you are prepared, respectful, and patient, it’s easy as pie. We’re full of helpful information at Eagle Logistics. Maybe it’s our decades of successful experience or the fact that we care enough to be helpful, but with us, you will not be hung out to dry on the road. When you come to work with us, we will do as we’ve always done - treat you the way we want to be treated. Contact us as soon as you’re ready!