Your carrier is guaranteed to have experienced the frustration of having roadside inspections slow down your operations, from route delays to increased costs. That’s why weigh station bypass programs have become widely used in the trucking industry over the past few years.
By understanding the basics of bypass systems and maximizing its potential, your fleet will benefit from significantly improved operational efficiency, driver safety, and employee satisfaction.
So what is a Weigh Station Bypass program?
At its core, these bypass solutions allow eligible carriers and vehicles to skip mobile inspection sites across the US and Canada.
They were designed to reward carriers that have good safety scores, while also keeping inspection sites running more efficiently.
If your carrier signs up for a weigh station bypass solution and your vehicles qualify under the ISS (Inspection Selection System) score requirements, your drivers may drive right past the inspection site compliantly.
The time and fuel saved from using a weigh station bypass program can add up to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a month depending on how many trucks are in your fleet, which is why these programs are a no brainer for any operator or fleet.
How do these weigh station bypass solutions work?
Traditional method: Using transponders
Traditionally, providers such as Prepass used transponder or RFID (radio-frequency ID) based systems. They would build RFID transponder-reader poles on the sides of roads approximately 1 mile from the weigh station in order to detect and scan for transponders that are in the subscribed vehicles. These worked great for years, however with the onset of newer technology, these solutions are less preferable.
The disadvantages of transponder-enabled programs:
- The driver needs to handle and manage an extra transponder in the vehicle to ensure that they are able to Bypass the weigh station with no issues. This leads into more hardware costs (around $100 per transponder), as well as added hassle for the drivers.
- Setting up these systems and transponder-reader poles at the weigh stations themselves is very expensive, therefore the rate of expanding their network of bypass eligible sites is hindered dramatically.
- Drivers are often required to urgently merge to the right lane in order to drive under the transponder-reader poles, otherwise they will miss the opportunity to bypass the weigh station. This may promote unsafe driving behavior if they forget to change lanes before hand.
Modern method: Smartphone enabled
Fast forward to 2013, the FMCSA announced a new ruling which allows network enabled smartphones and tablets to replace transponders for the purposes of weigh station bypass.
With this new method, the Weigh Station Bypass provider just needs to create a ‘virtual’ geofence around the weigh stations.
At the moment, the only program that leverages this technology is Drivewyze, which is built right into our Switchboard app. As soon as a vehicle enters this virtually fenced area, the app records and transmits the ISS information of the vehicle, along with the time and location of the visit.
So to tie it back to the drawbacks of the traditional method, the benefits that come with this new implementation are:
- The weigh station bypass functionality is built right into the driver’s mobile device. For carriers using an ELD app like Switchboard, drivers are able to manage both hours of service compliance and bypass all in one app.
- Creating virtual geofences does not require any physical infrastructure, allowing the program to expand their network across the entire country from a computer. This drastically drives down both the investment required, as well as the time it takes, to enable weigh station bypass capabilities at new mobile inspection sites.
- Due to the geofencing capabilities, drivers can be in any lane when the app transmits information to the weigh station. Beyond that, an app such as Switchboard Bypass will provide on screen notifications at the 2 mile point and 1 mile points to ensure the driver has sufficient time to safely merge to the right lane for a pull in if required.
How do I try out weigh station bypass?
We believe that the two most important things to consider when picking a weigh station bypass solution are ease of use for the drivers, as well as bypass coverage.
With that in mind, we would not recommend picking a solution that requires the use of transponders for the reasons listed earlier.
If you want ta risk-free method of trying weigh station bypass for your carrier, we’d recommend Switchboard Bypass. We’ve partnered with the Weigh Station Bypass network in North America to bring you maximum coverage, and all you need is an Android device and our free 14 day trial to get started.
To learn more and get your risk free trial, click here.