It is virtually impossible to drive in the Houston area without seeing at least one semi truck. After all, commercial vehicles keep the city, state and country stocked with essential goods. Because a tractor-trailer may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, though, a collision with one may lead to catastrophic injuries.

Commercial truck drivers receive training on avoiding accidents. They also must comply with a variety of regulations that keep motorists and others safe. What many do not realize is that the weigh stations that help with compliance with these regulations play an important role in public safety. In fact, they can save lives.

Important inspections 

As their name suggests, weigh stations check the weight of many commercial vehicles to ensure compliance with motor-carrier laws. Officials at these stations also have the option of performing a variety of other inspections. For example, they may look at a trucker’s paperwork to be certain he or she has the requisite number of rest hours. Alternatively, a mechanical inspection may uncover problems with a semi truck’s essential systems.

Broad enforcement 

There are only so many patrol officers on roadways in and around Houston. Accordingly, if a trucker violates the law, he or she may escape detection. Getting past a weigh station, though, is significantly harder. That is, if a station is open, truckers usually must stop. While drivers get plenty of advance notice of upcoming weigh stations, they often have no choice but to drive past one.

Sanctions 

All state troopers have the authority to examine driver documents, but specially trained officers conduct truck inspections at weigh stations. These officers have wide latitude to sanction drivers for violations. If a truck is unsafe, officers can also prevent the trucker from continuing down the road.

The permanent and temporary weigh stations across the state are vitally important to the safety of all Texans. Put simply, an officer at a weigh station somewhere in the Lone Star State may intervene before anyone sustains a serious injury in a semi truck crash.