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
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
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
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.