blog home Trucking Accident What Is the Purpose of Truck Weigh Stations?

What Is the Purpose of Truck Weigh Stations?

By Aghabegian & Associates on March 4, 2021

Truck weigh stations can be found all along the freeways of California, and even across the country. While it is fairly obvious that these stations are meant to weigh trucks, what you may not have realized is that weigh stations also play an important role in ensuring that truck drivers are awake, alert, and following federal regulations.

Truck Weight Laws in California

An overloaded truck is incredibly dangerous. Trucks are heavy, even without full trailers. This weight makes them difficult to control. Truck drivers have to take a lot more time to slow down before they come to a complete stop. Turns must be taken slower as well, as a fast turn could result in a truck rolling over. Due to the added dangers that come with greater weight, most states, California included, place strict limitations on how heavy a truck can be.

Under state law, a big rig may be no more than 80,000 pounds. There is also a limit of 20,000 pounds per axle. When a truck goes over this limit, then those responsible for loading it (usually both the driver and the trucking company) are violating the law. Special permits can be obtained if a load must be over the weight limit. However, these must be granted before the overloaded truck can legally travel on the roadways.

Sadly, many trucking companies put their own profits over the safety of others. Adhering to weight laws can cut into how much product a company can move, and permits can take a while to process. Oftentimes, a trucking company will simply decide to send out an overloaded truck without permits in order to make as much money as possible. That is where weigh stations come in.

The Weigh Station’s Role

Chances are very high that you have seen these stations along the freeway, and you may have wondered what the purpose was. Well, it’s all in the name. A weigh station allows trucks to be weighed while still on the road. Trucking companies are responsible for making sure that the trucks they send out are under the legal weight limit. However, trucking companies are often untrustworthy. This makes weigh stations necessary.

Any truck that is over 10,000 pounds is legally obligated to stop at a weigh station. This means that most commercial transportation vehicles must stop at any station that they pass that is open. Whether a station is open or not will be posted via traffic signage along the side of the roadway. While at the weigh station, the truck will be weighed via rolling scales, which means that the drivers can simply drive over the scale, rather than having to come to a stop. If the truck is under 80,000 pounds, then the driver will get the green light to continue to the freeway.

However, weight is not the only thing that is checked at these stations. Sometimes there will be a surprise inspection of the driver’s logs. These logs detail how long the driver has been on the road, how many breaks he has been taking, and how long his rest periods have been. Truckers’ hours are tightly regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) due to the dangers of fatigued driving. If these logs indicate that the driver has broken regulations, then the driver and the company he or she works for may be fined or further penalized.

Even with weigh stations and random inspections in place, trucks are still the most dangerous vehicles on the road. If you have been injured in a trucking accident near Glendale, then you deserve proper compensation. To speak with an experienced Glendale truck accident attorney, call Aghabegian & Associates, PC, at (818) 507-4311 today. We offer all potential clients a free consultation.

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