Electronic weigh station bypass technologies, which were made to streamline and simplify truck inspections, have been evolving steadily over the past few decades. Drivers with strong safety scores are now able to avoid unnecessary inspections, by using bypass technology that sends safety information as they pass by inspection stations.
Despite all the benefits it brings, there is still a lot of confusion and misconceptions about weigh station bypass programs and how they work. The industry overall lacks clarity around the effects these bypass programs have on efficiency, safety, and privacy. In practice, not only do they improve each of those aspects, weigh station bypass programs also create an opportunity to improve a carrier’s Inspection Selection System (ISS) score which ultimately rewards them by allowing even more bypasses.
Table of Contents
- Misconception #1: Bypass programs will result in more inspections
- Misconception #2: Bypass programs use CSA scores for screening
- Misconception #3: Bypass programs are used to track drivers
- Getting the benefits of bypass
Misconception #1: Bypass Programs Will Result In More Inspections
Many fleet managers fear that these weigh station bypass programs will lead to more inspections, creating more paperwork and further delaying deliveries.
In reality, bypass programs are used by law enforcement to promote and offer benefits to carriers with high safety ratings.
Vehicles that are screened through a weigh station bypass program automatically share a detailed snapshot of their information to law enforcement without pulling in.
Although the screening criteria used by the enforcement agency may vary, here are a few of the most common considerations:
- The carrier’s ISS score, which indicates the carrier’s overall safety profile.
- The license and vehicle identification number (VIN). This allows agents to screen the driver and vehicle against registration, permits, and taxes.
- And of course, the weight of the vehicle.
Now that all of these criteria are combined into one system, it simplifies and improves the efficiencies of the screening process. This also allows them to focus their efforts on inspecting unsafe vehicles, while allowing safer vehicles to bypass and deliver their loads more quickly.
However, this doesn’t mean that safe carriers are completely exempt from weigh stations, for security reasons. Similar to airport security checks, law enforcement sets a percentage of all fleets that pass through that must be subject to ‘random pull-ins’ required at each inspection station, regardless of ISS scores. For example, if an inspection site is required to pull-in 5% of carriers that pass through, 1 out of every 20 trucks needs to be randomly pulled in, even if they have weigh station bypass.
Regardless, your goal as a carrier is to maintain the highest ISS score possible, so that outside of the random pull-ins you can easily bypass most inspection sites.
Misconception #2: Bypass Programs Use CSA Scores for Screening
Let's talk about Inspection Selection System (ISS) scores.
Roadside inspection and crash report data from the last 24 months are used to calculate a driver’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score. The FMCSA then takes all these CSA scores and combines them to calculate a single ISS score (between 1-100) for the fleet. This allows them to easily evaluate a fleet’s overall safety performance. As a result, bypass systems use a fleet’s ISS score instead of needing to pull multiple CSA scores.
The benefit? Bypass programs actually allow carriers to improve their ISS score. Every bypass and clear inspection indicate that the carrier is committed to operating safely. Over time, this will help lower the fleet’s ISS score, improve its overall safety profile, which leads to a higher likelihood of bypassing a weigh station.
Here’s a chart demonstrating the ISS rating system as it relates to your eligibility for bypass.
Certain bypass systems, including Switchboard Bypass, also provide real-time data on the most common criteria that requires inspections at weigh stations. You and/or your safety officer will want to leverage this to inform you on which aspects of safety your fleet needs to focus on most. Ideally, this will allow you to restructure your safety strategy, if needed, to place more focus on the identified topics to improve your fleet’s ISS score. Here’s a chart demonstrating the ISS rating system as it relates to your eligibility for bypass.
Misconception #3: Bypass Programs are Used to Track Drivers
There’s no doubt that mobile bypass technology makes a driver’s job safer and easier - it’s been proven to improve driver retention due to the improvement in their experience.
However, privacy has often been a topic of concern when mobile technology is used. Drivers should be reassured that bypass systems only screen for information that would alert law enforcement for safety violations.
This could also include the date and time a truck bypasses or pulls into a weigh station, but officers will never ask to check a driver’s:
- Hours of Service (HOS) logs
- Historicalmedical records
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
Mobile enabled bypass programs take security and privacy very seriously to ensure that no personal information is shared.
The way in which information is processed inside an inspection site is strictly regulated:
- Vehicle and driver data that is collected does not get shared outside the
- Law enforcement personnel are limited to reviewing visited weigh stations that fall within their jurisdiction.
- Officers cannot use this data to issue violations or citations, such as speeding tickets.
Wondering if you would benefit from bypass? Try it for free.
Switchboard has one goal, and it’s to make trucking easier with technology—for drivers, fleet managers, and law enforcement.
We understand that innovation carries along with it doubt, which is why we want everyone to get a chance to try Bypass risk-free before committing to anything.
Switchboard Bypass not only allows your drivers to save time and fuel by bypassing weigh stations, it is completely hands-free and can be downloaded on their mobile device. Drivers will get a clear, heads-up notifications, informing them of upcoming inspection stations. On top of that, they will also get safety alerts for high-risk areas on the road.
That’s not all – since our solution doesn’t require a transponder, drivers can avoid dangerous lane changes as data is transmitted via cellular networks instead of a physical transponder sensor.
Carriers that use Switchboard Bypass have improved their cost and operational efficiencies, their safety scores, and their driver retention rates. Now it’s your turn.