Professional drivers from PrePass-qualified fleets may bypass weigh stations and continue down the road at highway speeds. Electronic communications, via either the PrePass RFID transponder or the PrePass mobile app, verify truck weights and assist law enforcement scrutiny of credentials.

And that’s what makes scale houses so much different and advanced compared to 25 years ago when weigh station bypass first started with PrePass.

Obviously, there’s still weighing to be done at the weigh station. However, at many stations in the 1990s, that weighing still required static scales, where trucks were positioned one axle or axle group at a time. A truck enforcement officer wrote down the figures and referenced a bridge formula table to check compliance while the distances between axle groups were measured by hand.

Today, weigh-in-motion (WIM) scales out on the highway often accompany weigh stations to weigh and measure at highway speeds. Trucks that pull in to the weight station, roll at a low speed over similar scales within the facility. The readouts from the WIM scales and from those within the station grounds display digitally on monitors for enforcement officers inside, as well as outside so drivers can see the results.

Truck measurement still happens, but inspectors don’t routinely bring out tape measures or lift a 13 and a half-foot pole to check overall height. Instead, trucks entering a weigh station usually pass lasers that measure height, width and length. Those measurements also display on monitors within the station that show the outline of the truck combination and precisely where the highest or widest part of a load may be.

Truck drivers still need to show an enforcement officer their commercial driver’s license, log book, medical card, truck registration and fuel tax license. Today, electronic logging devices replace the log book while many credentials like the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) license display on a smart phone or tablet.

Even before the driver meets with a safety enforcement officer, much is known about the truck and its fleet compared to more than a quarter century ago.

Out on the highway, bypass program transponders and mobile apps relay the safety record and credentials of the truck and its fleet to the weigh station. That information shows the qualification of the carrier to participate in PrePass. When a truck pulls into a weigh station, cameras read the license plate number or the DOT number of the truck. Those credentials are cross-checked against a computerized “hot list” of stolen vehicles and fleets with unpaid citations.

Law enforcement agencies support bypass programs like PrePass because they help enforcement to focus on those motor carriers and trucks that may need more attention. So, while weigh stations have joined the digital age, motor carriers that have not earned bypass privileges continue to receive individualized attention within the weigh station. Meanwhile, PrePass participants, digitally recognized for their safety and compliance, continue to head down the road, saving them time and money.