5 Tips for Passing Your Next Weigh Station Inspection
With approximately 680 weigh stations across the United States, drivers are bound to have different experiences at each one. Processing through a weigh station is like driving a semi-truck versus driving a Chevy Colorado truck. They both have engines, tires, and fuel; however, the experience you have driving is completely different! Each officer is looking for the same things — safety and compliance. From one weigh station inspection to the next, every officer goes about the stop differently. No one wants to spend one-minute longer than required at a weigh station as it can cost you time and money!
Our team has spent time at weigh stations on the California state line and at America’s busiest weigh station, located on I-40 “Freight Alley”, Knoxville, TN. During our time, there were several observations drivers should follow at all weigh stations to ensure a smooth and successful visit.
5 Tips for Weigh Station Success
Be Organized – Have a complete organized binder with all of your required documents. Complete permits, insurance documents, your driver’s license, registration, and all of your forms. In “Freight Alley”, a driver was observed handing an officer a broken accordion file with papers falling out, not one piece of paper organized in any way, with the driver telling the officer “it is in here somewhere,” handing the file to the officer. That was a rough stop for that driver! The officer is not your secretary. If organization and filing are not your strong skills, get help before you even start your trucking business. Review your completed binder, label it, and know where to find the documents in the binder. Most importantly, ensure all of your permits and licenses are not expired.
Be Quick and Secure – Know how to unlock the lock on the back of the trailer quickly! Standing in the sun at the CA weigh station, in the heat because you can’t open the trailer ensures you will have an officer hot under the collar! Make the switch to the secure digital locks. Example: My20 Locking System is keyless, safe, secure, and easy for you to open for an officer at a weigh / inspection station. During our observation time at the California weigh station, a driver was observed using the unsafe method of a padlock and key, unable to locate the key. Let’s just say, it was not a pleasant stop for either of them!
Be ELD Compliant – Know how to transmit your logs for an officer to review. FYI: You do not need to give your phone or tablet to the officer. The My20 ELD has 3 simple steps (select trips/dates, sign, share) to transfer your PDF of HOS records to the FMCSA officer. With your My20 App, select “HELP” to view how to transfer the logs and to watch driving training videos before you ever leave home for your trip. Pro tip: Speaking with confidence about your logs goes a long way!
Have a Positive Attitude – Check your attitude at the dock before you ever pull onto the ramp of the weigh station. Argumentative, unhelpful drivers can be felt a mile away. Smile! Be pleasant, be nice, and be kind. You are a professional driver. Share your attitude of professionalism and confidence when you speak with an officer. Remember the officer is a human being and has a job to do, just like you. Most officers do not want to go out in the snow, ice, rain, or hot sun to lay under your truck. Be honest with the officer and give respect.
Know Your Business – For each trip, ensure you have a contact sheet listing every person’s name and phone number along with after-hours contact numbers for nights, weekends, and holidays. Include on your list roadside assistance number for the routes you drive. Sitting at America’s busiest weigh station in Knoxville, TN, because you do not have page 2 of a wide load permit and don’t know who to call will keep you parked for hours. Don’t be that guy!
Taking a few minutes before your trip to organize your paperwork and a few minutes before you pull into a weigh station to organize your thoughts and attitude will have you driving through each weigh station smoothly, avoiding all the “potholes” along the way. Being able to quickly process through a weigh station will, in the end, save you time and money!