If you have ever seen a large side lane on a highway that leads to a semi-sized toll road, you’ve seen a truck weigh station. While most of us will never have to bother with one of these specialty lanes, you may be required to if you’re driving a moving truck cross-country. What’s worse about this is that the rules for weigh stations vary state by state, with some states not requiring moving trucks to stop at all, but others will. This article will explain how these weigh stations work and specify which states require moving trucks to stop.
What is a Weigh Station?
Weigh stations are stopping points that sit along state and interstate highways where officials check the weight of commercial vehicles. Specifically, agents from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the Department of Transportation work alongside highway patrol officers at weigh stations. When a truck arrives at a weigh station, it will roll up onto an industrial scale that calculates the truck’s total, exact weight. While there, officials may also check other regulated elements of the truck, such as its brakes, tires, and cargo. Thankfully, this process is relatively straightforward and expedient, with the driver not needing to leave their vehicle unless a dispute arises.
Do Moving Trucks Have to Stop at Weigh Stations?
Generally speaking, most states only require commercial trucks to stop at weigh stations. However, certain states also require non-commercial vehicles to stop under specific conditions, namely if those trucks exceed a state-determined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). A GVWR is a maximum weight a truck can handle while still being safe to operate. This maximum value includes the weight of the truck’s body, cargo, accessories, passengers, and fuel. Simply put, a truck’s GVWR is its maximum weight capacity. For most states, the only non-commercial vehicles required to stop at weigh stations are those that exceed a state-specific GVWR, which usually falls between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds.
What States Require Moving Trucks to Stop at Weigh Stations?
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to this since each state has its own rules and regulations regarding weigh stations. You will have to check the weigh station laws of each state you’re traveling through and make sure that you comply with that state’s specific rules. Here is a complete list of the weigh station requirements for each state in the U.S.
|State||Do You Need to Stop?|
|Alabama||No, as only trucks exceeding 26,000 pounds must stop, and rentable moving trucks will never fall below this.|
|Alaska||Yes, but only if your GVWR exceeds 10,000 pounds.|
|Arizona||Yes, but only if your GVWR exceeds 10,000 pounds.|
|Arkansas||No, moving trucks are not required to stop at weigh stations.|
|California||Yes, all vehicles used to transport personal possessions must stop at weight inspection stations for officials to check weight, height, smoke emissions, and other regulated elements.|
|Colorado||Yes. If your truck’s total GVWR exceeds 26,000 pounds, you will need to stop and receive clearance from a state official of the Department of Revenue (DOR), Colorado State Highway Patrol officer, or port of entry weigh station before operating that vehicle within the state.|
|Connecticut||No, moving trucks are not required to stop at weigh stations.|
|Delaware||No, only commercial vehicles are required to stop.|
|Florida||Yes, but only if the moving vehicles are used to produce, transport, store, sell, or manufacture agricultural products. If the vehicle is transporting agricultural products, it will be required to stop at an Agricultural Inspection Station.|
|Georgia||Yes, but only if your GVWR exceeds 10,000 pounds.|
|Hawaii||Yes, but only if your GVWR exceeds 10,000 pounds.|
|Idaho||No, moving trucks are not required to stop at weigh stations.|
|Illinois||No. However, state highway patrol officers can pull over vehicles they suspect may exceed weight limits and require the driver to proceed to a weight inspection station for weighing.|
|Indiana||Yes, but only if your GVWR is 10,000 pounds or more.|
|Iowa||Yes, but only if your GVWR exceeds 10,000 pounds. If any state highway patrol officer believes the vehicle and its load are unlawful or exceeds weight regulation, they may require the driver to proceed to a portable weight inspection station for weighing.|
|Kansas||Yes, vehicles registered as trucks must stop at a weight inspection station when directed to do so by a sign. Furthermore, any state highway patrol officer with a reasonable belief that a truck exceeds weight limits may require it to be weighed at a weight inspection station.|
|Kentucky||No, but vehicles carrying agricultural products and commercial vehicles exceeding a GVWR of 10,000 pounds are required to stop.|
|Louisiana||No, as only agricultural vehicles, specialty vehicles, or commercial vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more are required to stop.|
|Maine||No. However, if a state highway patrol officer with a reasonable belief that a truck exceeds weight limits may require it to be weighed at a weight inspection station.|
|Maryland||No. Only commercial and agricultural vehicles with a GVWR exceeding 10,000 pounds, commercial buses, and hazardous material haulers must stop for weighing and inspection.|
|Massachusetts||No. Only commercial vehicles, specialty vehicles, and agricultural vehicles with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds are required to stop.|
|Michigan||No. Only vehicles with dual rear wheels transporting or towing agricultural products or construction equipment, tractors with trailer combinations, and commercial vehicles with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds are required to stop.|
|Minnesota||Yes, all vehicles with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds are required to stop at a weight inspection station for weighing.|
|Mississippi||No. However, any state highway patrol officer, tax collector, authorized law enforcement officer, or State Tax Commission agent can require a vehicle to verify its weight at an inspection station.|
|Missouri||No. Only commercial vehicles with a GVWR exceeding 18,000 pounds are required to stop.|
|Montana||Yes, trucks with a GVWR of 8,000 or more pounds and trucks hauling agricultural products must stop at weight inspection stations for weighing. RVs in transportation to a distributor or dealer are also required to stop.|
|Nebraska||Yes, all trucks, with the exception of pickup trucks hauling recreational trailers that exceed 1 ton, must stop at a weight inspection station for weighing.|
|Nevada||No. Only agricultural vehicles, specialty vehicles, and commercial vehicles with a GVWR exceeding 10,000 pounds are required to stop.|
|New Hampshire||No. However, all vehicles are required to proceed to a weigh station for inspection within 10 miles of a stopping point at the request of a state highway patrol officer.|
|New Jersey||Yes, all vehicles with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more are required to stop at weigh stations.|
|New Mexico||Yes, all trucks with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more must stop at weigh stations.|
|New York||Yes, all vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 or more pounds are required to stop at inspection and weigh stations.|
|North Carolina||Yes. All vehicles with a GVWR of 10,001 or more pounds, or any vehicle requested by a state highway patrol officer, must stop at weigh stations for inspection.|
|North Dakota||Yes. All vehicles, with the exception of RVs used for personal or recreational purposes, with a GVWR exceeding 10,000 pounds, must stop at weigh stations.|
|Ohio||No. Looking up rules for Ohio weigh station laws online can be deceiving, as some sites state that all vehicles are required to stop, and this is not the case. We reached out to the Ohio DOT, and they confirmed that only commercial vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 or more pounds are required to stop at weigh stations. Any rental vehicle hauling personal possessions is not required to stop.|
|Oklahoma||No. Rental trucks hauling personal possessions are not required to stop. However, law enforcement officers, Department of Public Safety officials, and Oklahoma Tax Commission officials can inspect with portable weighing scales.|
|Oregon||Yes. All vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 or more pounds must stop at a weigh station, and vehicles and vehicle combinations with a total weight of 20,000 pounds or more must stop at a scale when directed by a sign stating “All Trucks Over 20,000# GVWR Next Right.”|
|Pennsylvania||Yes, agricultural vehicles, passenger and specialty vehicles towing large trailers, large recreational vehicles, and any vehicle registered as a truck (like moving rental trucks) must stop at weigh stations.|
|Rhode Island||No. Only commercial vehicles with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds and agricultural vehicles are required to stop.|
|South Carolina||Yes, conditionally, according to South Carolina State Law, code 56-5-4160, “An officer or agent of the Department of Public Safety having reason to believe that the weight of a vehicle and load is unlawful may require the driver to stop and submit to a weighing of the vehicle and load either by means of portable or stationary scales and may require that the vehicle be driven to the nearest public scales.”|
|South Dakota||Yes. All agricultural vehicle and drive-way operations with a GVWR of over 8,000 pounds and all vehicles registered as trucks with a GVWR of over 8,000 pounds are required to stop at weigh stations.|
|Tennessee||No. Moving trucks hauling personal possessions are not required to stop at weigh stations.|
|Texas||No. However, all vehicles must stop at borders and border patrol checkpoints for vehicle inspections. Also, all commercial vehicles must stop at the direction of a sign or state highway patrol officer.|
|Utah||No. However, a peace officer with reason to believe that a vehicle exceeds height, weight, or length regulations can require a vehicle to stop for inspection or proceed to the nearest weighing scale within three miles for inspection.|
|Vermont||Yes. Like Ohio, information on weigh station requirements online is inconsistent. We reached out to General Enforcement at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Vermont. They said all trucks, commercial or personal, that are hauling cargo should stop at weigh stations when they are open and that all trucks that are hauling cargo or large trailers are required to be weighed and inspected.|
|Virginia||Yes. All vehicles with a GVWR of 7,500 pounds or more must stop at a weigh station for inspections.|
|Washington||No. Only agricultural trucks or commercial trucks with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds are required to stop at weigh stations.|
|West Virginia||No. However, a state highway patrol officer may require a vehicle or combination of vehicles to proceed to the nearest weigh station within three miles for weighing and inspection.|
|Wisconsin||Yes, any vehicle registered as a truck with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds must stop at weigh stations.|
|Wyoming||Yes. All trucks must stop at a weigh station when they see a regulatory sign (these signs have a white background with black letters) or are requested to by a law enforcement officer.|
What Happens if You Don’t Stop at Weigh Stations?
Way station checkpoints are all outfitted with cameras and recording devices that take photos of passing vehicles. If you pass a weigh station you were required to stop at, you could face fines up to $300, even if your truck is empty. If you’re a commercial truck driver and ignore open weigh stations, you can lose your CDL. If you are unsure that you are required to stop at a weigh station, it’s best to air on the side of caution and stop anyway. If you don’t need to stop, they will just let you go on through. If you need to stop, the whole weighing and inspection process usually takes less than 30 minutes.
Driving your own moving truck can save you lots of money compared to using a moving company. If you’re going to do this, you might have to deal with weigh stations, as these checkpoints are an important part of highway safety and regulation. They ensure that vehicles whose weight could damage roads and bridges are kept within safe limits. While it may be intimidating to have to go through one, they aren’t that bad, and this list will help you find out if the states you’re passing through require you to stop or drive on through.
If you’re interested in what it looks like to go through a weigh station, this video from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MDOT) gives an excellent overview of the process.