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Weigh Station Regulations for Rental Trucks

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Weigh stations are highway checkpoints used to inspect truck weights to ensure the vehicles meet state regulations. Whether or not you will have to stop at a weigh station while driving your rental truck will depend on the weight of the vehicle and the laws in that state.

State by State Regulations

Each state has its own laws determining what vehicles must stop at weigh stations. Some states require all commercial trucks to stop, but others only require trucks exceeding a certain weight. While rental trucks are considered commercial vehicles, they are carrying personal goods and are often below the state-required weight limits. This is why it can often be unclear whether or not you are expected to stop at a weigh station with your rental truck.

Normally, rental trucks transporting the driver's own household goods are not required to stop at weight stations. However, if your truck is over a certain weight, it is better to be cautious and stop and avoid being pulled over later and given a costly ticket.

Most weigh stations have a designated lane for moving trucks to avoid delays. If it turns out you were not required to stop, you will simply be waved through.

To find out more about the specific laws regarding weigh stations in the states you will be passing through, visit the state's Department of Transportation website.

Follow the Signs

While traveling, there will be signs notifying you of the distance to the next weigh station. The signs will also indicate the weight your truck must exceed to be required to stop.

For example, the sign may read, "All vehicles with GVW of 26,001 lbs. must enter". This means all trucks over 26,000 pounds are required to stop and weigh in. Some signs may also simply read "All Commercial Trucks" without posting a weight.

Gross Vehicle Weight

Rental trucks are considered commercial vehicles and are DOT-registered. Your rental truck should have its Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) printed on the side door. If not, you will want to verify this information with your rental agency. It may also be included in your paperwork or rental guide.

Common GVW for rental trucks are:
  • 14-foot has GVW of 14,050 pounds

  • 17-foot has GVW of 14,050 pounds

  • 24-foot has GVW of 18,000 pounds

  • 26-foot has GVW of 20,000 pounds

How it Works

A weigh station will have a scale to determine the weight of your vehicle. The majority are rolling scales which are built into the road in front of the Scale Officer's booth, but some older scales will require you to stop to be weighed. You will proceed to drive slowly across the scale, remaining under the posted speed limit. A display on the booth will declare your weight as you drive over the scale. Unless the Scale Officer or the signal light request that you stop and pull over for further inspection, you can continue on your way.

If you are not required to stop at the weigh station, there will be no penalty for doing so. Personnel will simply wave you through. Feel free to ask any questions you may have about their regulations.

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on November 6, 2013

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