When you approach a weigh station on a CA Freeway, and the light is green, that means they are open. Therefore, if you are operating a commercial vehicle, even a U-Haul or Ryder, or a farm vehicle with passengers you are carrying, you better play it safe and pull on into the weigh station.
Even a pickup hauling commercial goods could be a commercial vehicle depending “…on the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), unladen weight, and bed of the truck.” Typically, the flashing sign out front will state, "No Pickups."
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 2813, Lawful Orders and Inspections, states, “Every driver of a commercial vehicle shall stop and submit the vehicle to an inspection of the size, weight, equipment, and smoke emissions of the vehicle at any location where members of the California Highway Patrol are conducting tests and inspections of commercial vehicles and when signs are displayed requiring the stop.”
Although they’re called weigh stations, their official name is "Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facilities." You do not want to get on the wrong side of the enforcement part of these facilities.
If you refuse to stop or fail to stop for inspection when lights are lit and signs are displayed that require you to stop, you are “…guilty of a misdemeanor.”
What Is a Commercial Vehicle?
Let’s take a look at what CVC Section 260, Words & Phrases Defined, has to say. Paragraph (a) states, “A ‘commercial vehicle’ is a motor vehicle of a type required to be registered under this code used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.”
B, C, and D clarify that this section doesn’t include vehicle carriers and vanpool vehicles. However, if you have any doubt about your vehicle’s status, pull in and ask.
The Difference Between an Infraction & a Misdemeanor
According to Cornell Law’s Legal Information Institute (LII), “A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by less than 12 months in jail. Community service, probation, fines, and imprisonment for less than a year are commonly issued punishments for misdemeanors.”
If you pull into the weigh station and submit to an inspection, the worst that usually happens is an infraction and notification of the roadside inspection shortcoming to the FMCSA. You and your fleet might then be assessed Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity points, given an Out-of-Service (OOS) Order, and forced to stay there until your shortcomings are rectified.
If you knew about the shortcomings, you should have corrected them sooner, and you didn’t; you might get terminated, but you won’t have a misdemeanor record from it.
Who Runs the Weigh Stations in Kern County, CA?
Many Californians believe Caltrans runs the weight stations in CA, but that is not true. The CHP conducts the weigh stations and roadside inspections. Although some Caltrans officials are milling around, the operation is run by the CHP, who have been trained by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).
However, Caltrans does have a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page to clear up many questions brought up by the public.
The CVSA is a nonprofit alliance of trucking industry representatives and vehicle safety officials who know and train others about the safety standards for commercial vehicles set by the DOT FMCSA. They also consult and advise the FMCSA about safety standards, annual inspection weeks, and the focus of safety week topics.
Their goal is to achieve uniformity, reciprocity, and compatibility during the roadside inspections of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and enforce standards by certifying state inspectors dedicated to vehicle and driver safety.
When you are accused of a roadside inspection violation, an overweight truck, carrying HazMat without an Endorsement, or any traffic violation, consult a traffic attorney to help resolve your alleged offense.
Bigger & Harman Handle Weigh Station Violations in Kern County, CA
If you require assistance with a weigh station violation, a DMV NOTS Hearing, or traffic ticket in Fresno County, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The 2019-2021 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf
The Cornell Law’s Legal Information Institute (LII)
The CVSA.org website
The CVC Section 260, Words & Phrases Defined & Section 2813, Lawful Orders and Inspections