Weigh Station Shows Trends For Future
Stopping at weigh stations has long been an inconvenience for truck drivers. In addition to having to stop, there are sometimes fines because of overloading. These fines are applied to highway upkeep. Everyone understands the need for these stations. Highway construction is expensive and having thousands of trucks and cars constantly traveling these roadways causes wear and tear, which means constant construction and repair projects.
The AGC (American General Contractors of America) reports that in 2008 1,100 billion dollars was spent on U.S. highway infrastructure work. In 2011, this figure fell to 8 billion due to the poor economy. The decrease means that the highways are not being repaired as often as they should be which causes poor more driving conditions and more accidents.
One thing that drivers have complained about is the number of stops that have to be made at these stations while hauling a load. This problem has been solved by a new state-of-the-art weigh station recently put into operation in South Carolina on Highway Interstate 95, marker 74, in Dorchester County.
With over 26,000 trucks passing through that particular part of South Carolina there was often congestion caused by backup. There was also the problem of safely re-entering the flow of traffic when continuing the journey.
This new technique screens speeding 18-wheelers a mile prior to reaching the weigh-in station. This is done by using cameras and buried sensors. This technique, which weighs the vehicle, checks the license plate, and screens its other credentials against state and federal regulations, is called "weigh in motion". Trucks that pass these requirements are given a flashing signal to bypass the station. Only high-risk operators must pull in. The camera image of the vehicle is stored in a database for future reference.
This new facility also has a covered inspection "pit" which allows the officers to examine the underneath of a truck for faulty brakes, lights, tires, and other problems. South Carolina Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith stated, "This weigh station puts South Carolina out front in enforcing commercial motor vehicle laws, which ultimately pays huge dividends in safety for the motoring public".
This state-of-the-art facility is a prime example of how the truckers and state highway departments can work in harmony. It would eliminate the continued need to prove the truck meets all required federal and state laws. In addition, it would eliminate the danger of accidents that often occur when these big rigs are pulling on and off the highway.