Weigh stations and Drive-Away

As a general motorist on the interstate highways you encounter many road signs. Searching for a photo of a weigh station sign I came across this blog post by J Lloyd Morgan. I have to admit a few of the signs I’ve not seen in all my traveling.

This is about weigh stations.


Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all states to do spot checks on the truck traffic on the highways. Some states continue the old name of the weigh stations – Port of Entry. The reason for this is the inspection stations are located at, or near, the state boundaries along the length of Federal and State highways.

As you drive the interstates and state highways you encounter a fast moving big truck that just has to squeeze itself in front of you. Then the blasted thing slows down. You have a few choice words and gestures for this RUDE bully. That truck gets off the highway to follow other trucks down a ramp only to drive past a building.


If you continue on the highway you might see that big truck bully pass you. Maybe you have wondered what the heck is up with that?!

The reason for these spot checks is for the safety of the traveling public. The safety of everyone.

The DOT Officers, at these “Chicken Coops” as they are known by truck drivers, are checking the weight bearing loads on each of the axles of the truck and trailer.

Most truck traffic has a total legal loaded weight of 80,000 pounds. Some scales are constructed to enable the full truck and trailer to rest on the scale to get the total weight. Other scales weigh one axle at a time then calculate the total weight.

In Kansas on I-35 at the Oklahoma/Kansas border is set up to weigh each axle


As we drive over the scale we have to watch the signals and message boards for instructions, if any, posted by the DOT Officer. Most scales have a green and red traffic light set up to act as the information source. In Kansas there is a loud speaker the officer will use to verbally communicate to the truck driver.



As the truck passes the windows of the weigh station office many things are being checked, other than the weight. The officer looks at the tires for wear or damage and any defective equipment that could be a source of trouble should it fall off or break. If there is a question or concern the officer will have the driver pull off and park.


The truck and trailer will be inspected by an officer who brings a “creeper” board to lie on and roll under the truck being inspected. The officer will check the brake mechanisms, headlights, tail lights, brake and turn signals. If anything checked during the inspection is found to not be in working order the driver will have to get the repairs made right there, in the weigh station parking lot, before he/she can proceed.

Sometimes log books and medical cards are checked by the officers. Any problem, mechanical or document, CAN be grounds for an Out of Service Order. An Out of Service order means the truck and trailer are going nowhere for 10 hours.

When all is well, from drive on weight inspection or full blown inspection, the truck and trailer make their way back into the traffic stream.

As you drive the roads where you live and see the Weigh Station sign ahead check your mirrors for trucks needing to get in the right lane and exit.

Stay safe out there.



About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

7 responses to “Weigh stations and Drive-Away

  • gardenpinks

    Yes we have weigh bridge (as they are termed here) here and usually it is the road traffic police that decide which lorries and vans need to detour to a weigh station. If a police officer suspects a dodgy vehicle or an overloaded one then it is off to the weigh bridge. My step daughter used to drive a large van delivering meat products and she was halted by a police officer, her heart sank as she suspected her van was overloaded and had said as much at the manufacturers but was told to mind her own business and get one with her job! She was escorted to the nearest weigh bridge and sure enough found to be overloaded!! Her boss had to take out another vehicle to offload some of her goods and reimburse our stepdaughter the fine before she could continue on her way. Her boss was not too happy! She found herself another job not long afterwards 🙂

    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      My goodness! I bet your daughter had a few choice words to mutter while she was detained. That kind of thing goes on here as well. Some freight companies work overtime routing their drivers on roads that bypass the scales.

      I really enjoy it when you contribute your experiences and comparisons to these topics. Makes you seem to be not quite so far away 🙂

      Love you my friend – Leslie

  • DOT Inspections | metalkingtoyou

    […] Weigh stations and Drive-Away (message8.wordpress.com) […]

  • mjc1520

    I am a truck driver as well and been through a lot of weigh stations. I remember back several years ago, I got a overweight ticket for $23.00! It was in Virginia, where I live. I couldn’t slide the tandems because it was a container and we all know they are stationary, so after 2 hours, they gave me the ticket. I told them I didn’t need 2 hours because there was no way of sliding anything, even my 5th wheel was stationary. They made me weight anyway! Out west in Arizona, I had to park like everyone else and go in with my logbook and permit book to show that, get this, I had them. They did not look at anything, asked me who I drove for and said ‘ok, you can go’! How crazy is that? Weigh stations can be a pain in the patootie!!

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.

      I’m surprised you got away with the $23 ticket. I’ve been socked $130. I’ll be checking out your blog. It is great to see a fellow woman driver with something to say.


      • mjc1520

        Oh believe me I do have a lot to say. But I thought your blog was great and informative. I am slowing down now in the truck. Don’t have any idea what’s next, though.

      • Message In A Fold

        I’ve been reading your blog and am enjoying it. I do Drive-Away, moving older used trucks around the country. Reading your blog is very informative, you are actually in the thick of it all with freight and cargo. Dealing with all kinds of people and their peculiarities 😉


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