View Full Version : What's the procedure at an automated truck weigh station?

07-18-2011, 01:40 PM
Some of you guys must know. I'm renting a truck to move some furniture out to my son who just graduated college and got a job in Indiana. Being a truck, I'll have to stop at any weigh stations. The manned ones will be no problem; the inspectors will tell me what to do. But what is the drill at an automated weigh station? How do you navigate them? Or will it be intuitively obvious even to someone as clueless as I am?

I don't want to be responsible for holding up a line of 20 semis while I figure out what the lights mean. :D

Alistair Hosie
07-18-2011, 02:00 PM
As I understand it you need to know the unladen grosse weight of the vehicle I.E find out from the manual or have it weighed empty.Then the simply deduct that from the grosse laden weight and then the know how much your carrying. Alistair

07-18-2011, 02:46 PM
Only commercial vehicles have to go through weigh stations, you don't have to worry about it in your case.

07-18-2011, 02:53 PM
Just cruise past. If they stop you you can ask about the procedure. :D

07-18-2011, 03:04 PM
The state of New York requires all trucks to stop. The non-commercial trucks get sent on their way, but they still have to stop. So says the "H Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit, NY State Police."

Indiana, on the other hand, doesn't require non-commercial trucks to stop.

I don't know about the other states I'll be going through, so I'll err on the side of caution and stop. So...what's the drill at an automated weigh station?

George Bulliss
07-18-2011, 03:22 PM
I rented a 20í U-haul to go both to and from Rochester, NY. I drove through NY, PA, OH, and Michigan without stopping at any weigh stations. Not saying this is the correct way to do it, but it worked for me. I donít remember if the stations were even open; not sure if Iíve ever seen them open along that route.


07-18-2011, 03:36 PM
In some states they can be very nasty to people who stop at weigh stations who don't have to. But you can get into worse trouble for not stopping when you are supposed to. Find out if you need to stop before hand - in each state, if possible. The rules vary by state and they often do a very poor job of documenting them.


Automated weigh stations, as far as I know, are just automated bypass - the truck is weighed and identified (onboard transponder) on the highway as you approach and you get a red light/green light telling you if you need to stop for manual weight/inspection.

Be careful about internet advice, some of it is wrong including some things already posted in this thread.

There are situations in which you are required to stop even if it is a personal trip.

07-18-2011, 03:38 PM
There is at least one automated weigh station on my route, I think just as I cross into Ohio. I think t's always open.

George Bulliss
07-18-2011, 04:02 PM
There is at least one automated weigh station on my route, I think just as I cross into Ohio. I think t's always open.

You would be wise to not do as I did. That was 18 years ago and I don't know whether they had the automated checks or not. I certainly wasn't aware of any.

07-18-2011, 04:07 PM
I would ask whoever rented me the truck. He should know the rules & if his truck has a transponder. If it's 26,000#+ gross you need a CDL. I'm pretty sure what your getting is under CDL or they would ask for your license. Here in Michigan at least you wouldn't need to stop as far as I know. I'd also call weighmasters office in Ohio if thats the one to worry about. Good luck!:D

07-18-2011, 06:22 PM
About 10 years ago I moved within the state of Florida. Just a 250 mile trip but using the biggest U Haul they had. The U Haul dealer had no idea if I was suppose to go threw the weigh station or not. I call the state and they didn't know for sure but said they thought I should.
So I took the truck to the local junk yard and rolled over there scales. Since I was loaded to the max I made sure I stayed under the legal weight for the truck.
The stations in Fl are set up with lights. So I just went threw every weigh station and followed the green lights at the speed limit they had posted. Never got a signal to stop and just rolled thew them at the posted speed.
Not a big deal here as your weighed on the move I guess. Better safe than sorry.

07-18-2011, 07:14 PM
When I moved from Ohio back to Texas I rented a huge U-Haul and pulled a trailer with a loaded car behind that. I don't recall stopping at any of the weigh stations but I do remember that there were large signs before each one. The sign will say ALL TRUCKS or COMMERCIAL TRUCKS. The sign will also have OPEN or CLOSED posted too. Best course of action is to Follow the Directions. :cool:

07-18-2011, 08:24 PM
Follow the signs & lights. They will more than liky send you throught the bypass, and your on your way. Good driving and keep it between the ditches

07-18-2011, 08:26 PM
Not really related to weigh stations but if you go across northern Indiana and are taking 80-90(Indiana toll road)I would look into an I-Zoom(toll transponder)as the toll rate is supposed to be as much as half.

07-18-2011, 08:51 PM
Glad to hear your son is smart enough to go where the pay is good. Unfortunately, not many have the guts to do so. I did the same in Jan, NY to IN, and considering the local economy here I wont ever look back.

Regarding weigh stations, just follow the lights/signs and be polite if anyone stops you.

07-18-2011, 08:57 PM
Thanks for the transponder tip re:: tolls, but I'll just *barely* get into Indiana. I'm going to Richmond, right on the Ohio border.

And for the suggestion to see what the state of Ohio had to say. I went to ohio.gov, searched for "weigh station" and turned up a few links, and eventually found a FAQ that says in response to a question about needing to stop at weigh stations:

"It depends on the empty weight of the truck. All trucks weighing 8,000 lbs or more empty are required to stop at the scales (including personal use rental vehicles)."

Since the truck I'm renting has, according to its registration slip, an empty weight of 6,752 lbs I don't think I need to stop (in Ohio, anyway). If the weigh station I'm thinking of is actually in Pennsylvania, all bets are off. :)

Thanks also for the accounts of going through an automated weigh station. It sounds as though even I can figure it out.

07-18-2011, 09:30 PM
Been a while since I hauled freight in the US, at the time they did not have automated scales on any of my routes yet.
Every state has different regs though so it is best to call ahead to each states' DOT office and find out what the requirements are for that particular state.
This will save a lot of time, and or possible fines...let your fingers do the walking.;)

Allowable gvw's, etc. for not having to comply with Federal Motor Carrier Commission/state DOT regulations all differ.
Otherwise roll through and comply with directions, you will be weighed on the roll so make sure you are at least well under any state on your route limits. Some states have bigger fines for bypassing a scale than being overweight, some states are the complete opposite.:confused:

It's like going through fifty different countries, Canada is just as bad!
Wait till you get into a commercial situation, it gets ten times worse, vehicle configurations, number of axles, axle spacing, trailer type and combinations, etc. all vary from one jurisdiction to an other.

Drive smart, plan ahead to avoid confusion, and most important of all...
have safe and happy trip.:)

07-18-2011, 10:12 PM
Fair warning via well placed signs at the scale cautions drivers to NOT apply brakes while being weighed, or when entering/leaving a non electronic scale deck. Resulting damage to weighing systems can cost a worm his months paycheck.

Be calm if the big, red light comes on and pay attention to the copper giving directions over the loudspeaker.