The RV is ready to hit the road, you’ve got your route planned, and you’re looking forward to enjoying your next adventure. But, depending on your RV’s weight and where you’re driving, you might have to make a few pit stops at weigh stations along the way.
In general, non-commercial vehicles with a GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating) under 10,000 pounds do not have to stop at weigh stations in America. But, the rules vary by state and some states also utilize random checks for vehicles to ensure they’re safe and do not exceed weight limits. If you’re curious whether or not you should stop at a weigh station, we invite you to learn more and to check the requirements of the states where you’ll be driving.
What is the Purpose of Weigh Stations?
Weigh stations can be found on interstate highways throughout the United States and Canada. They’re most commonly used for commercial truck drivers to ensure their truck’s weight does not exceed the weight limits of the roads they are driving on. Many highways and roads have maximum weight limits they can safely handle, and this is especially important to consider for bridges and ramps. By stopping at weigh stations, commercial truck drivers are able to confidently continue their drives knowing they are compliant with the state’s vehicle weight restrictions.
In most instances, weigh stations work electronically so drivers can pull through the station and receive an accurate weight of their vehicle without having to stop. Older weigh stations may require vehicles to stop in order to be weighed. Generally, there are local Department of Transportation employees or highway patrol officers who verify the weight. They may also perform vehicle safety inspections, though this depends on the state and the specific station.
Some states also have weigh stations that are specifically for vehicles transporting agricultural cargo such as livestock. In many of these states, drivers with this type of cargo are required to stop at weigh stations unless signage indicates otherwise.
Who Has to Stop at Weigh Stations?
In most states, weigh stations are for utilization by commercial truck drivers. This is to ensure the commercial truck drivers are transporting a safe weight in their truck, along with transporting the weight they’ve committed to transporting. The Department of Transportation may inspect a commercial truck if its weight has been changed from one station to the next, as this may indicate that the cargo has been altered. In some cases for commercial truck drivers, weigh stations can also assist in determining any commercial transportation taxes that may be collected in applicable states.
As you approach a weigh station, there will likely be posted signs that indicate the specific rules for that station further. In some cases, stations may be closed or may not be requiring drives to stop at that time.
Do RVs Have to Stop at Weigh Stations?
In most instances, if your RV and towing setup’s GCWR weighs under 10,000 pounds, you will most likely not have to stop at weigh stations. But, the rules do vary from state to state and some states may still require RVs to stop at weigh stations. In addition, some states implement random checks instead of weigh station requirements for RVs. So even if you’re driving through a state where you don’t have to stop at weigh stations, there is a chance that you will be pulled over simply to ensure that your vehicle’s weight is satisfactory for the state and it matches the weight on your registration.
Most RVers, whether they’re driving a pop-up camper, fifth wheel, or even a diesel pusher, will probably tell you that they don’t stop at weigh stations. When it comes to state roadway rules, many folks don’t want to risk non-compliance. It’s best to explore the regulations for the states you’ll be driving through to ensure you’re complying with their weigh station rules.
In most instances, you likely will not need to stop, but it’s important to do this research before you hit the road so you’re aware of any unique regulations. Additionally, if you see weigh stations with signage that indicates your RV is subject to being weighed, it is often better to err on the side of caution and utilize the weigh station.