Arkansas Trucking Association

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The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has received bids on the state’s first "virtual weigh station," an unmanned set of computerized scales and cameras to collect and send a truck’s information to nearby patrol officers.

If approved, construction on the weigh station could begin early next year on U.S. 64 near Alma.

The money comes from a grant the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration awarded the department, said Ronnie Burks, the department's chief of commercial truck enforcement.

The Federal Highway Administration endorses virtual weigh stations saying, "the potential to fundamentally change the way truck size and weight standards and regulations are enforced in the United States."

The virtual weigh station not only will weigh the vehicle, Burks said, it will record its Department of Transportation registration number and allow officers equipped with laptop computers to use the number to check databases for compliance with registration and insurance requirements, driver's hours of service and whether the company or the driver is operating the vehicle while under federal sanctions.

The trucking industry has no problem with the technology. "We support any technology that will make our roads safer," Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon Newton commented to Arkansas Business.

The weigh station works through plates that will be installed under the eastbound lanes of U.S. 64. When a truck passes over the plates, they will automatically measure not only the truck's total weight, but its weight on each axle and the spacing between the axles to help determine the truck's compliance with the federal bridge formula.

An officer won't be assigned around the clock to the virtual weigh station, but truckers won't know when they will be there, he said.

Burks said the goal isn't to write more tickets. Instead, it is to ensure the big trucks on Arkansas roads are operating within the law.

But Burks said violations caught by the virtual weigh station can only be enforced when the truck is pulled over and the officer confirms any violations. For instance, an enforcement action for a weight violation will only be done when the officer, using portable scales, confirms the truck was overweight, he said.

Currently, the virtual weigh station will only affect drivers on U.S. 64 near Alma, as there are no other plans for virtual stations around the state, according to the department.

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You are here: Home News In Brief Virtual weigh station may be coming to Arkansas