How Do Truck Weigh Stations Work

Truck weigh stations are common along highways across the United States. This post provides an overview of these stations and what drivers can expect when they visit one. It also examines how truck weight limits help to maintain road safety.


Types of Scales Used at Weigh Stations 

Weigh stations check that trucks do not exceed the weight limit for their road. The most common type of scale used is the rolling scale. The truck drives over it, and if it weighs less than 80,000 pounds, the driver can proceed. If the truck exceeds the weight limit, the driver must pull over and be weighed again. Drivers need to know what type of scale they will use before reaching the weigh station.

How Do Truckers Know When to Stop at Weigh Stations? 

PrePass is an automated system that helps drivers avoid weigh stations. A transponder on the truck’s windshield sends a signal to a PrePass antenna. A computer checks the truck’s weight and identification against a database. If everything is correct, the computer sends a green light and an audible signal to the driver, authorizing the truck to bypass the weigh station. The driver must stop at the weigh station if the computer cannot confirm the truck’s credentials. Utilizing systems like PrePass can reduce congestion and improve efficiency on highways.

The Purpose of Truck Weigh Stations 

Weigh stations ensure a truck’s weight complies with state laws and safety standards. The Axle Weight and the Gross Vehicle Weight measure the weight of a truck. State and federal laws determine the amount of weight a truck can carry on each axle, and these laws vary by state. Overloaded trucks are difficult to stop and take longer to brake, which increases the likelihood of accidents. Weigh stations ensure that trucks carry only what they should, which keeps our roads safe.

Penalties for Overweight Trucks 

If a truck is overweight, the driver will be fined, and the truck may be impounded. This can cause major delays for the driver and an added expense. In some cases, the driver may need to unload part of their cargo to bring the truck back within the legal limit. Weigh stations are necessary to keep our roads safe and prevent damage to infrastructure. Drivers can avoid delays and costly fines by following the rules and regulations.

The Importance of Proper Truck Weight

Overweight trucks are a serious safety hazard on our roads. They put extra stress on tires and brakes, which increases the likelihood of tire blowouts or brake failures. Overweight trucks are harder to control, making their size difficult for other drivers to see. Consequently, overweight trucks are involved in many accidents that could have been prevented if the truck had been correctly loaded. To protect yourself and other motorists, always check the weight limit of your truck before hitting the road. If the load is too heavy, consider splitting it into multiple trips or using a different mode of transportation.

How to Avoid Truck Weigh Stations 

Several options exist for avoiding weigh stations. Drivers can take an alternate route, wait until the weigh station closes, or find a route around the weigh station. While these methods may help drivers save time, they are not recommended as they can cause safety hazards.

Do Weigh Stations Have Cameras? 

Weigh stations are typically located near state borders to ensure that commercial trucks do not exceed the weight limit for the highway they travel on. While some drivers may try to pass through weigh stations without stopping to avoid delays, it is risky because it can be challenging to determine if a truck is overweight just by looking at it. Some states have installed permanent cameras at weigh stations to enforce weight limits. These cameras take pictures of every truck that passes through, and if it is found to be overweight, the driver will be issued a ticket. States hope that using this technology can deter drivers from breaking the law and keep our highways safe.

What Happens if a Trucker Misses a Scale? 

Truckers who fail to stop at required weigh stations may be pulled over by law enforcement and instructed to return to the station for weighing. Not stopping at a weigh station can result in significant fines and add points to the trucker’s commercial driver’s license. Weigh stations are critical for ensuring that trucks are not overloaded, which can cause accidents. Therefore, truckers must plan their route to make all the required stops. By following the law, truckers can help to keep our roads safe.


Weigh stations play a critical role in maintaining highway safety. Truckers are legally obligated to stop at weigh stations. Failure to comply can lead to substantial fines and penalties. By properly planning their route and making all necessary stops, truckers can contribute to the safety of everyone on the road. Furthermore, maintaining their vehicles and practicing safe driving habits are additional ways that truckers can help promote road safety.

About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.