Does My Moving Truck Need To Stop At A Weigh Station

Asha Kennedy
Researcher & Writer
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Published on September 15, 2021
3 min read

If you’re planning to rent a moving truck and drive it across the country (or at least through multiple states), you should be aware of each state’s highway regulations and weigh station requirements so you can be sure to avoid fines.

Whether you’ll need to stop or not really depends on where you’re going. Highway regulations vary from state to state. Failure to stop at weigh stations can result in fines, even if your truck is empty. 

Keep reading to determine whether or not you’ll need to stop at a weigh station during your move. And if you’re still not sure, it’s always best to stop and let a highway official make the final call.​​

Penske moving truck

Rental trucks are a popular choice for most DIY movers, and have varying weights and sizes. The average 10-foot truck weighs around 8,600 pounds, while the largest, 26-foot trucks, weigh about 26,000 pounds.


What is a weigh station and what are they for?

A weigh station is a highway checkpoint where highway officials can verify the weight of a truck or commercial vehicle. Typically the state’s Department of Transportation works in conjunction with highway patrol to make sure vehicles are in accordance with state laws and safety regulations.

Weigh stations support your safety and the protection of our roadways by ensuring that overweight vehicles are not damaging roadways or putting other motorists at risk.

Some states collect taxes based on the weight of the goods being transported. For this reason, weigh station requirements vary by state.

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Interesting fact!

If a commercial vehicle exceeds 80,000 pounds, the driver could face up to two months in jail and revocation of their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)—especially in states like Alabama, Delaware, and Ohio where these regulations are strictly enforced.

Before you panic though, it is more than likely your rented moving truck will never exceed a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 26,001 pounds. This is because the Department of Transportation requires a person to have a CDL license to drive any truck heavier than that weight.


How do weigh stations work?

Weigh stations involve heavy-duty scales that measure a truck’s weight based on either axle weight or the weight of the whole vehicle. Some have rolling (or automated) scales that allow the truck to continue moving, and others require a complete stop.

Outside of ensuring that the vehicle is not overweight, a weigh station official can also administer a safety inspection to ensure the truck is working properly—however, this is usually done randomly, or if the official has reason to believe the truck is unsafe.


So, which vehicles need to stop?

Generally, any commercial vehicle that exceeds a GVW (gross vehicle weight) of 10,000 pounds needs to stop at a weigh station. For reference, the average GVW for a 10-foot truck rental is around 8,600 pounds, while a 26-foot truck will be around 26,000 pounds. Additionally, most rented trucks will have weigh station requirements printed on the vehicle.

If you want to know how trucks vary from company to company, like Penske to U-Haul, for example, be sure to compare each company’s truck sizing, weight, and other important specifications.

However, to be completely sure, you’ll want to double-check the regulations in the states you’ll be passing through. Some states have regulations if the GVW exceeds a certain weight while others have none:

Weigh station requirements by state:
State
Weigh station requirements
AlabamaNot required
AlaskaRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
ArizonaRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
ArkansasRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
CaliforniaRequired for all moving trucks
ColoradoRequired if GVW exceeds 26,000 lb.
ConnecticutNot required
DelawareNot required
FloridaTrucks containing agricultural products must stop at an Agricultural Inspection Station
GeorgiaRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
HawaiiRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
IdahoNot required
IllinoisNot required
IndianaRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
IowaRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
KansasRequired for all vehicles with a truck registration
KentuckyNot required
LouisianaNot required
MaineNot required
MarylandNot required
MassachusettsNot required
MichiganNot required
MinnesotaRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
MississippiNot required
MissouriNot required
MontanaRequired if GVW exceeds 8,000 lb. or if carrying agricultural materials
NebraskaRequired if the GVW exceeds 2,000 lb.
NevadaNot required
New HampshireNot required
New JerseyRequired if GVW exceeds 10,001 lb.
New MexicoRequired if GVW exceeds 26,001 lb.
New YorkNot required
North CarolinaNot required
North DakotaRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
OhioRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
OklahomaNot required
OregonRequired if GVW exceeds 26,000 lb.
PennsylvaniaRequired for all vehicles and all weights
Rhode IslandNot required
South CarolinaNot required unless vehicle’s weight appears unlawful
South DakotaRequired if GVW exceeds 8,000 lb.
TennesseeNot required
TexasNot required
UtahNot required
VermontNot required
VirginiaRequired if GVW exceeds 7,500 lb.
WashingtonNot required
West VirginiaNot required
WisconsinRequired if GVW exceeds 10,000 lb.
WyomingChosen at random for inspection

Data obtained from YourMechanic


What happens if you don't stop?

A driver is only allowed to legally bypass a weigh station if there is a sign stating it is okay to continue. Otherwise, if the driver continues without stopping at a weigh station, a roadside camera may take a picture of their vehicle and highway officials could mail a fine of up to $300. That’s why it’s important to remember to stop at weigh stations when required, even if your truck is empty!

Remember:

  • The entire weighing process usually takes less than 30 minutes.
  • Weigh stations will usually have signs indicating whether the weigh station is open and who is required to stop.
  • It doesn’t cost anything to stop and have your truck weighed, unless your truck exceeds the legal weight.

Bottom line

Renting a moving truck for a long-distance move is a popular, cost-efficient way to get your belongings from your old home to your new one. But if you’re driving the truck yourself, you’ll want to remember to consider the highway regulations in your state.

Weigh stations can be a pain to deal with, but they play a huge role in reducing damage to roadways and supporting highway safety. If you’re not sure whether you need to stop, it’s best to pull into a weigh station and let the officials handle it. Good luck, mover!


Additional resources

Still itching to learn more about rental trucks and how they can support your move? Here are some of our best resources to compare rental trucks and decide which one is right for you:

The 5 Best Moving Truck Rental Companies of 2021
The Average Cost of Moving Truck Rentals
What’s the Right Moving Truck Size for Your Move?

Sources

  1. Abigail Blake, YourMechanic, “Which Vehicles Need to Stop at Weigh Stations.” December 05, 2018. Accessed August 15, 2021.
Asha Kennedy
Written by
Asha Kennedy
Asha Kennedy is a researcher and content writer who brings almost 5 years of experience working directly with multiple carriers as a Move Coordinator, including Mayflower, United, and Allied International. During her career, she has successfully partnered with diverse clientele to coordinate Military, International, Interstate and Corporate relocations—and uses this experience to create meaningful and educational content for future movers! Asha graduated from Hampton University with honors in English. Asha enjoys being in nature, reading books, and learning new things.