Whether you’re moving house or trucking for a living, you must be aware of vehicle weigh stations on the road. After all, it’s important to stop at them if you don’t want to get a ticket.
What Are Vehicle Weigh Stations and What Are They For?
Weigh stations are points where highway patrol weighs and examines certain vehicles to make sure they’re complying with state regulations. These regulations protect both the road and other drivers from overweight vehicles.
The US Department of Transportation defines overweight vehicles as those that weigh over 80,000 pounds. If your vehicle is overweight, you’ll have to pay fines. Overweight vehicles also include those that are carrying loads that are too heavy for their frames.
In both cases, there’s a lot of weight on the tires of overweight vehicles, which can damage the road over time. These vehicles also pose a danger to public safety because they’re harder to control and are more prone to accidents and mechanical failures.
That’s why trucks really do have to be weighed. Some vehicle weigh stations also conduct safety, emissions, and other tests. They’re often positioned along highways with a lot of freight traffic and near state borders, where they’re called ports of entry.
Which Vehicles Must Stop at Weigh Stations?
Trucks are the most common vehicles that need to stop at weigh stations. What trucks have to stop at weigh stations though? Do box trucks have to stop at weigh stations? Do pick-ups? It depends on a few factors: your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), the weight on each axle, whether the vehicle is private or commercial, and state laws.
GVWR is calculated by adding the weight of the vehicle on its own plus its maximum listed weight capacity. In most states, vehicles with GVWRs below 10,000 pounds don’t need to stop at weigh stations. However, state laws vary, so always check the laws in whatever state you’ll be driving through.
The weight exerted on each axle of your vehicle can also be checked at the weigh station. Some states base their laws on the weight exerted on the axles rather than on GVWR.
Certain states will also consider commercial vehicles separately from private vehicles. Private vehicles will sometimes get a pass.
Vehicle Weigh Station Rules by State
So, do trucks have to stop at every weigh station? It depends on the state. Keep in mind that state laws may change at any time depending on the legislature and circumstances.
|State||Vehicles Required to Stop at Weigh Stations|
|Alaska||Trucks with a GVWR over 10,000 lbs|
|Iowa||Vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or more|
|Massachusetts and Nevada||Agricultural vehicles and commercial trucks and passenger or specialty vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or more|
|New York||Commercial vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or more|
|Rhode Island and Washington||Agricultural vehicles and trucks with a GVWR over 10,000 lbs|
|Maine||Vehicles ordered to a weigh station by traffic authorities|
|Alabama||Vehicles ordered to a weigh station by officers if the station is within 5 miles of where the vehicle is stopped|
|Arizona||Commercial vehicles over 2,000 lbs, vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 lbs, and vehicles carrying any commodity shipped into the state|
|Colorado||Vehicles with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs or more that need a special clearance before they’re allowed to drive in the state|
|Delaware||Vehicles ordered to a weigh station by officers|
|Florida||Agricultural vehicles and motor vehicles that can be used for agriculture, horticulture, or livestock products
Any commercial vehicles that are either designed to transport more than 10 passengers, placarded hazardous materials, or have a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or more. Private passenger automobiles with no trailers in tow are exempt from this law
|Georgia||Agricultural vehicles, commercial trucks, and passenger or specialty vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or more|
|Idaho||Any vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more
Vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or more carrying placarded quantities of hazardous materials
|Illinois||Vehicles with a GVWR of 16,000 lbs or more|
|Kansas||Vehicles that have been registered as trucks|
|Kentucky||Vehicles with agricultural cargo and all commercial vehicles with a GVWR rating of 10,000 lbs or more|
|Louisiana||Commercial trucks and passenger or specialty vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or more
|Maryland||Agricultural and commercial vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or more, commercial buses carrying over 16 passengers, and vehicles carrying placarded hazardous materials|
|Michigan||Vehicles transporting agricultural products on dual rear wheels, tractor/semitrailer combination vehicles, and trucks with dual rear wheels and/or towing construction equipment with a GVWR over 10,000 lbs|
|Mississippi||Vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or more|
|Missouri||Licensed commercial trucks with a GVWR of 18,000 lbs or more|
|Montana||Vehicles transporting agricultural products, trucks with a GVWR of 8,000 lbs or more, and new or used RVs on their way to be sold at a distributor or dealer|
|Nebraska||Trucks over 2,000 lbs. Pickup trucks pulling a recreational trailer are exempt|
|New Hampshire||Vehicles ordered to a weigh station by officers if the station is within 10 miles of where the vehicle is stopped|
|New Jersey||Vehicles that weigh 10,001 lbs or more|
|New Mexico||Trucks with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more|
|North Carolina||Vehicles with a GVWR of 10,001 lbs or more, vehicles carrying placarded hazardous materials|
|North Dakota||Vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 lbs. Recreational vehicles used for personal purposes are exempt|
|Ohio||Commercial vehicles over 10,000 lbs|
|Oregon||Vehicles or combinations of vehicles that weigh 26,000 lbs or more|
|Pennsylvania||Agriculture vehicles using public highways, trucks, large recreational vehicles, and passenger and specialty vehicles towing large trailers|
|South Dakota||Agricultural vehicles, trucks, and drive-away operations with a GVWR over 8,000 lbs|
|Tennessee||Trucks, including rental trucks on chassis larger than pickup truck chassis|
|Utah||Trucks over 10,000 lbs and commercial vehicles carrying livestock|
|Virginia||Trucks with a GVWR over 7,500 lbs|
|West Virginia||Vehicles ordered to a weigh station by officers if the station is within 2 miles of where the vehicle is stopped|
Special Vehicle Weight Laws Per State
Certain states have very specific laws regarding what counts as an overweight vehicle in their area of responsibility. If officers in these states suspect your vehicle is overweight, they might order you to the nearest weigh station for a check. Likewise, some states require special permits for particularly heavy vehicles. The states with special rules include:
Vehicles with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs or more need special clearance from either the Department of Revenue, a Colorado State Patrol officer, or a port of entry weigh station before they’re allowed to drive in the state.
Vehicles with 2 axles can be up to 40,000 lbs. Vehicles with 3 axles can be up to 54,000 lbs. 74,000 lbs is the maximum weight for 4-axle vehicles, and 80,000 lbs is the most a 5-axle vehicle should weigh.
Vehicles with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs or more have to register their vehicle and have a permit to drive the vehicle in this state.
For single-unit vehicles, the following rules apply: 1) two-axle trucks can carry a maximum of 33,400 lbs, 2) three-axle trucks can carry a maximum weight of of 22,400 lbs per axle, and 3) four-axle trucks can carry a maximum of 18,000 lbs per axle. Combination vehicles can have a maximum of 20,000 lbs per single axle or 17,000 lbs per axle of a tandem.
Certain weigh station bypass systems can sometimes allow drivers to skip stations, but vehicles still need to be weighed periodically.
Vehicles with steer axles can’t carry over 15,000 lbs per axle. Single-axle, tandem-axle, and tridem-axle vehicles cannot exceed 20,000 lbs per axle.
The weight on each axle of your vehicle shouldn’t exceed 20,000 lbs.
Authorities can randomly choose certain trucks for inspection at a weigh station. Drivers with oversize and overweight loads of 150,000 lbs or more need to have a permit before entering Wyoming.
Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.