We’ve all seen them: “WEIGH STATION: All Trucks Must Stop When Lights are Flashing.” These weigh stations dot the interstate systems across the country and serve to check the weight of cargo-carrying semi-trucks, ensuring that they are within safe limits. You might guess that one reason commercial trucks must be weighed is to ensure that they are in compliance with federal weight regulations, and you’re right—but there’s more to it.
Road and Vehicular Safety
One of the primary reasons that federal regulations exist for commercial truck weights in the first place is to ensure road safety. The country’s roadways can only handle so much, and when vehicles exceed the weight capacity of the roads, they can cause expensive and dangerous structural problems for other motorists. Thankfully, the only vehicles on the road that even come close to exceeding the weight capacity are commercial vehicles like semi-trucks, but that’s why they must be monitored so closely.
Weight limits vary by state, but federal limits max out at 80,000 pounds. If a truck is heavier than the federal restrictions allow, roadways, overpasses, and bridges are susceptible to weakening over time. If the weakened patches of the roadways are not identified in time, everyone on the road is in great danger of suffering from an infrastructural failure. And when the structural problems are identified, early or late, someone will definitely be footing a hefty bill.
But the safety concerns do not stop there—overloaded trucks pose safety concerns for the vehicles themselves. If the truck is overloaded, the driver is at greater risk of getting involved in an accident because of the decreased ability to maneuver the truck quickly. Also, a heavier truck is harder to control when driving downhill, which increases the possibility of a wreck.
Ensuring and Increasing Profits
Because the value of many goods is determined by their weight, the process of weighing cargo has a direct impact on sales and profitability of a company. So for many companies, the most important reason for accurately weighing their cargo is to ensure correct billing to their buyers—over time, inaccurate weighing can rob a company of thousands of dollars in profit.
Operations managers calculate every load weight that comes in and goes out, supervising fair trade practices in an effort to decrease costs and increase profits.
Taxes for Truckers
Trucks also must be weighed to calculate the taxes for the vehicle. Truck carriers must pay taxes to the government in compensation for the increased stress they add to the roads, and these taxes amount to thousands of dollars every year. The tax dollars paid by truck carriers go to maintaining roads and bridges.
If a commercial truck ever needs to carry weight in excess of the weight restrictions, they must split their load or apply for an overweight exception permit at the first weighing station they encounter. As you might imagine, this causes delays in the shipping process, an unnecessary headache. To avoid this kind of inefficiency, carriers know their weights before hitting the road.
Truck Scales at Work
Truck scales use a variety of technology, including wheel-weighers, concrete decks, portable truck scales, digital scales, and more, to provide you with accurate calculations for your company. We are a proud provider of METTLER-TOLEDO scales. To learn more about our truck scales and calibration services, contact the team today.