As a motor carrier (or driver employed by one) qualified for the PrePass weigh station bypass program, you rank among the safest of truck operators. Congratulations! Each weigh station bypass with PrePass saves you time, money, and fuel. And each bypass by a safe carrier like you allows roadside enforcement to focus attention on other truck operators and improve highway safety for us all.

But wait a second, sometimes your PrePass device may not give you the green light to continue down the road, and your truck must pull into a weigh station. What happened? And, more particularly, what steps can you take to ensure it doesn’t happen again?

Here are six ways truck drivers and motor carriers can increase their bypass chances:

  1. Use the right transponder. The vehicle information associated with each PrePass transponder must match the assigned vehicle or enforcement will pull that truck in. That’s for your own protection; you wouldn’t want someone else using your driver’s license, either. But mix-ups can occur – one fleet truck goes into the shop for service and a mechanic puts its transponder into a truck coming out of the shop. Contact PrePass to transfer a transponder and update the vehicle information.
  2. Mount the transponder in the right spot. Okay, you’ve got the right transponder. Now be sure to position it where overhead readers on the highway can pick up the signal and identify you as a PrePass customer. The transponder must be mounted two inches to the right or left of center and at least two inches (but not more than three inches) from the top of the windshield or with the same two-to-three-inch clearance above the dash. PrePass recommends the lower placement, especially for trucks with visors and/or overhangs. The transponder must be positioned so the PrePass label and red and green lights face the driver. That placement allows drivers to recognize the bypass notification and keep their eyes on the road.
  3. Know each state’s ISS levels. You probably know that you need a good Inspection Selection System (ISS) score to qualify for PrePass. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) calculates the ISS and shares that information with the states. But the ISS number is not a federal mandate – states can set their own bypass standards. PrePass can tell you exactly the level each state desires, so you can know when a successful bypass is more likely.
  4. Be aware of state bypass restrictions. States may want to take a closer look at certain load types, especially hazardous materials. Or they may want to double-check trucks operating under special permits, such as those hauling oversize loads, among others. PrePass can provide you with a full list of state bypass restrictions. Know that even if you get the PrePass green light for bypass, trucks on a state’s restricted list must still pull into a weigh station.
  5. Travel in the designated lane. As you or your truck driver approaches a weigh station, signs will indicate which lanes will read PrePass transponders. Usually, it is the right-hand lane. Watch for traffic, use your turn signals, enter the designated lane, and get that PrePass green bypass light you desire. If your truck is not in the correct lane before it reaches the overhead reader, or if it is merging and straddling the lane line, enforcement will pull it into the weigh station.
  6. Embrace randomness. That may sound like a Zen master’s instruction! But the fact is, every state will randomly pull in a small number of trucks from bypass programs, including those of PrePass customers. It’s their way of checking that the system is working. Relish the states that support bypass enough to occasionally take the program’s pulse. And then enjoy the successful bypasses to come using PrePass!

If you ever experience any problems bypassing weigh stations with PrePass, or you have any questions, please contact PrePass by calling 1-800-PrePass (1-800-773-7277).

The PrePass blog and podcasts are published as a public service of PrePass®, the most reliable and technologically advanced weigh station bypass and integrated electronic trucking toll payment platform in North America. PrePass also includes INFORM™ Safety and INFORM™ Tolling software for improving truck safety scores and lowering toll costs.