Here’s some trivia for you: one of the top four busiest scales in the nation is just north of Houston—near Huntsville, on I-45—and it writes out one of the top number of violations in the nation.
Weigh stations are busy for specific reasons—most of them good ones, and most of them involving safety.
For example, the heavier a truck, the more likely it will contribute to road damage like potholes. And we all know that potholes leave vehicles vulnerable to dangerous things like tire blowouts and axle damage, especially on our highways that have higher speed limits than on city roads.
That combination of speed and potholes is often literally an accident waiting to happen.
Playing that forward: potholes mean road repair, which means highway construction activity, which means slowed traffic, which means more time to reach your destination, which means more driving time and fuel costs.
Everybody wins when trucks follow federal and state weight restrictions. If the shipment is non-divisible—i.e., long, heavy support beams for building construction—we secure permits for oversize and/or overweight loads (a NATCO specialty).
Beyond that, weigh stations are also designed to inspect for vehicle obstructions and proper license plates.
There’s a reason why drivers call weigh stations “chicken coops.” If traffic is busy, everything is backed up, and they get stuck for a while…like they’re in a coop.
We’re getting more efficient with our evaluation of trucks and compliance on the nation’s roads. Intelligent transportation system (ITS) services like PrePass and NORPASS have been created to monitor trucks electronically. As they pass a station, trucks fitted with digital readers send information that’s measured against state requirements.
These devices use Weigh-in-Motion technology. The truck doesn’t need to stop, which means that drivers can deliver more efficiently.
Of course, if you want or need to stretch your legs and don’t mind the chicken coop thing, an old-school weigh station is your perfect opportunity.