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?
The 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.