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What Are Highway Weigh Stations For?

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truck highway weigh station purpose

Giles Weigh Station
TruckPR via cc/Flickr

No doubt you’ve been travelling along the highway and passed by a mysterious pull-off that leads to a solitary building lit up by red and green arrows. This mysterious truckers-only wonderland is a magical place that only those driving big rigs can enter.

If you’ve ever yearned to know what lies beyond the gates of this freeway firmament–or simply wondered why it exists–we have the answers.

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The Purpose of Truck Weigh Stations

US weigh stations are operated by each state’s Department of Transportation or Department of Motor Vehicles, collaborating with state patrol or police. These stations can be found throughout states but are most common along major highways right after entering a state (known as ports of entry).

The purpose of highway weigh stations concerns the compliance of semi-trucks or other large commercial vehicles. The purpose of these checkpoints is two-fold: tax purposes and safety purposes. Originally, these stations were created as collection kiosks for commercial trucks to pay fuel taxes. Now, with trucking companies paying such fees quarterly, the stations allow officials to enforce the submission of outstanding fees and paperwork.

Other tasks performed at weigh stations include ensuring carriers don’t surpass federal weight limits, (done by on-site scales), check paperwork and equipment condition, and provide wide-load escorts if necessary. A vehicle can be flagged for additional evaluation for items such as tire condition, fluid leaks, cracked parts, or other condition violations.

Essentially, weigh stations serve as Department of Transportation inspection points.

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Sources: How Stuff Works, Trucker Path