Florida accident attorney

What Goes on at Those Weigh Stations Along the Highway?

Enforcing Weight Restrictions is Part of an Overall Safety Strategy for Big Rigs

You’re driving to Disney World and as you pass one of those “Weigh Station Ahead” signs your friend jokes, “You’ve put on a few pounds, and maybe you should pull in.” Such an amusing friend.

But seriously, what is going on at those weigh stations? Why do some trucks stop, and some drive right by? Are they checking for weight or other things, like illegal drugs? Do they serve coffee?

Florida accident attorneyThe answer is that vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds or have 3 or more axles have to pay fuel taxes Truck weigh stations were originally developed for states to collect the fuel taxes they were owed by the commercial trucks using their roadways. Motor homes and other private (non-commercial) vehicles are generally exempt.

In North America, weigh stations aren’t directly used for that purpose anymore. There is now an International Fuel Tax Agreement which allows truckers to file a quarterly tax report. Weigh stations are still used to enforce the tracking and submission of the logs and the payment of the fuel tax.

Large commercial vehicles are almost all equipped with transponders, and these devices do a lot to make sure trucks are safe and are operating within the law. They can keep track of the number of hours a driver has been behind the wheel so they don’t exceed the limit.

The scales are still used to enforce weight restrictions. The federal weight restriction is 80,000 pounds. Trucks need a trip permit to transport a load exceeding that weight.

We have discussed before in this blog that the severity of an accident is highly influenced by some fundamental principles of physics including mass (weight) and acceleration (speed). A very heavy truck going very fast has the potential to cause massive amounts of damage.

It’s in everyone’s best interest for commercial truckers to follow the rules, obey the restrictions, maintain their vehicles, and operate safely. It’s also best for drivers of automobiles to be aware of special circumstances with big trucks like blind spots. (See our article on blind spots)

It is prudent to watch for trucks entering the highway at weigh stations. Big commercial trucks are often slow to reach full speed, so don’t ride up on them too fast.

Frequently asked questions about weigh stations in Florida can be found here: http://www.dot.state.fl.us/statemaintenanceoffice/motorcarrierqa.shtm

Florida Accident Attorney

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus is committed to providing information that will help drivers stay safe on Florida roads. We represent truck drivers, automobile drivers, and motorcycle riders who have been involved in serious accidents. We investigate, and when necessary we litigate so our clients are given their access to justice under the law.

Please reach out to us if you have been involved in an accident or if you have questions by calling 954-356-0006.



Lane Splitting – Controversial Motorcycle Maneuver May Actually Save Lives

Currently Illegal, Lane Splitting may be Permitted in Florida

The most common types of motor vehicle accidents are:

  • Rear-end Collisions
  • Single Car Accidents
  • T-Bone – or cross traffic accidents
  • Side-to-Side Collision while Changing Lanes
  • Low-Speed Accidents

All these accidents may result in injuries or they me be survivable, depending on circumstances. The size and weight of your car or truck will have a lot to do with it.

florida motorcycle accident attorneyImaging being hit from behind while riding on a motorcycle. It’s going to be devastating at almost any speed. Because of this, lawmakers in several states are looking at permitting what is known as “lane-splitting” where motorcycles can ride or remain stopped at a traffic light in the area between lanes.

California passed a new law last week allowing the practice and other states including Florida are examining the issue.

By supporting the bill, state lawmakers and the governor have recognized a roadway practice that has been in use for decades, according to Rob Dingman, president of the American Motorcyclist Association. “Lane splitting keeps riders safer by eliminating their exposure to rear-end collisions, and it helps ease congestion by effectively removing motorcycles from the traffic lanes,” he said.

The website Change.org urged readers to sign a petition, writing “Traffic congestion in Florida continues to increase. One inexpensive, simple, effective, and immediate way to reduce traffic congestion is to permit motorcyclists to travel between two slow moving lanes of traffic. Doing so adds capacity to every existing four-lane road in the entire state of Florida. In California where “lane-splitting” is legal, common place, and has been found to enhance motorcycle safety, it is embraced as a significant component of traffic congestion reduction.”

People in Florida debated the use of helmets for years and finally on July 1st, 2000 the law was changed to mandate helmet use for anyone under 21, and anyone over 21 was required to have medical insurance coverage if they opted to ride without a helmet.

Hopefully the Florida legislature will study the lane-splitting issue carefully and make a decision that is best for everyone.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus is committed to represent and protect the rights of persons injured in motorcycle accidents. We have devoted a major portion of our practice to this very unique and complex area of law for over 20 years and we would be happy to meet with you if you have any questions involving a serious motorcycle injury. Please reach out to us at 954-356-0006 to arrange a confidential consultation.