With a projected compound growth rate of 3.6% annually through 2020, the U.S. automotive aftermarket continues to pick up steam. And, of course, with increased demand of goods being delivered quickly and with the utmost convenience, it's no surprise that trucks are a common sight on American roads. In order for truck drivers to ensure the safe delivery of their cargo, they need to complete certain steps and follow all regulations. In addition to ensuring that all tractor trailer parts are working properly and performing maintenance, repairs, or replacement of those parts when needed, drivers also need to make certain that the loads they're carrying are within the proper weight parameters. Let's learn a bit more about load scales and why weigh stations are so important.
What Is a Weigh Station?
A weigh station is an area (which can be either portable or stationary) specifically intended to measure commercial truck weights. Each state may have different guidelines pertaining to appropriate and safe truck weights, which is just one reason it's essential for truck drivers to stop and have their cargo weighed. In most cases, 34,000 pounds is considered to be the standard, although the maximum often varies. At the weigh station, officials will determine whether your truck's weight is within the allowable range or whether you might require an additional inspection.
What Happens at Weigh Stations?
When a driver arrives at a weigh station, they will need to pay attention to signal lights, which illuminate and indicate the next steps to take. Some scales can weigh trucks in motion, while others require vehicles to stop completely prior to being weighed. These scales may be either single axle or multi-axle in nature. After the driver passes over the scale (which can withstand weights of 80,000 pounds during multiple weigh-ins per day for over two decades!), inspectors will indicate whether the driver can continue on their way or whether an inspection is required. If you are told to pull over for an inspection, do not argue and always remain calm. Keep in mind that some weigh stations will not operate during the nighttime, over the weekend, or during holidays.
Why Do Trucks Need to Be Weighed?
Although you can certainly face consequences if you don't adhere to regulations by having your truck weighed or subsequently inspected, there are other reasons why you should care about ensuring that load scales are used to determine how much cargo you're carrying.
For one thing, there are financial concerns associated with truck weight. States collect (and carries pay) taxes depending on the weight of the goods being transported, as this weight can add substantial stress to state roadways. Those taxes go back into the upkeep of roadways and bridges, which can benefit those communities immensely, but it also ensures that carriers will be accountable for what they're transporting. If weights are calculated incorrectly prior to goods being transported, carriers may face delivery delays and other problems. Of course, the value of a given commercial truck shipment is also determined by its weight. Knowing exactly how much is being transported can allow companies to be more accurate in their accounting. Without this information, carriers will have a tough time increasing their profit or keeping costs low.
Another big reason drivers should care about weigh stations? Safety. When your truck isn't performing the way it should, you probably take a good, hard look at your current tractor trailer parts and obtain any necessary truck replacement parts online to ensure your vehicle is safe for both you and others out on the road. Weighing your truck ensures that you won't do any damage to roadways over time (which could potentially harm other motorists in the future) or be more likely to crash due to overloading. Even if you've replaced all the tractor trailer parts necessary, you could still be involved in a serious collision if the truck exceeds weight limits.
Weigh stations play a critical role in carrier finances and the safety of the vehicle itself. For more information on how our tractor trailer parts can lower your long-term costs and improve your truck's safety, please contact us today.