weigh stationsMost motorists pass weigh stations every day and don’t think much of them. But for truck drivers, weigh stations are a constant presence they need to be aware of while driving. There are currently 680 weigh stations in operation all across the country. These stations serve a number of purposes and have very strict rules that all truck drivers must follow. Here’s everything to know about weigh stations.  

What is a Weigh Station?

A weigh station is an area off the highway where truck drivers pull over to have their truck weighed and inspected. They’re referred to as a “port of entry” when they’re near a state border, but they can also be in the interior of a state, especially in an area where there’s a lot of freight movement.  

What Happens at a Weigh Station?

It used to be that weigh stations did just what the name implies; weigh semi-trucks. Now, the role of a weigh station is much broader. In addition to weighing trucks to make sure they’re under the legal limit, (the federal limit is 80,000 pounds) weigh stations may also check to make sure that drivers are in compliance with all FMCSA and DOT regulations. This includes checking for HOS violations, looking at freight paperwork, and checking for other safety violations related to the truck, similar to a standard DOT inspection 

When approaching a weigh station, the driver will first look to see if it’s open. There will be flashing lights or a sign saying if it is or not. If it’s open, the driver will get in the correct lane and pull over, either getting in line to be weighed or driving up to the scale if it’s open. Some scales are portable and the driver can be weighed while driving, while others are stationery and require the driver to stop the truck. Once the driver has been weighed, they’ll either be waved off or signal lights will let them know that they’re subject to a further inspection.  

Do Trucks Have to Stop at Every Weigh Station?

Yes, drivers of any commercial vehicle over 10,000 pounds need to stop at any weigh station they come across that’s open. Never think about skipping a weigh station, even if there’s a long line. The risks of doing so heavily outweigh any benefit.  

It’s very possible that a state trooper will be at the weigh station waiting for a truck driver to drive by without stopping and pull you over. The ticket alone could be hundreds of dollars. That’s not to mention that the officer will have you get off at the nearest exit and get back on the highway to go through the weigh station. At that point, it’s much more likely that you’ll be subject to an inspection rather than being weighed then waved off.  

If you’re ever wondering if there’ll be a weigh station on your route, you can check here for a comprehensive list of every weigh station in the country. This list also contains information on tolls, fuel tax rates, and more. 

Can I Bypass a Weigh Station?

If your carrier participates in a bypass solution like, PrePass or Drivewyze, then you may be able to.  These are mounted devices that can be put in your cab to alert you when a weigh station is approaching and if you’re able to bypass it or not. Be aware, there are some types of loads, like oversized and hazmat that always need to be checked, no matter if you have a bypass device. 

While many drivers consider weigh stations a frustrating part of the job that adds time to their runs, they do serve a purpose. Weigh stations are meant to make sure that overweigh trucks aren’t causing major damage to the country’s highways that could lead to major road maintenance, delays, and possible accidents. As long as drivers follow all posted signage and keep all their freight documents in the truck, they should be out of weigh stations and back on the road in no time.  

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dot inspection

What is a DOT Inspection?

A DOT inspection is an inspection of a driver and a CMV conducted by the Department of Transportation. The purpose of the inspection is to make sure that the driver of any CMV 10,000 pounds or more is complying with all DOT rules and the CMV itself is in working order and safe to use. There are 6 levels to a DOT inspection, but the most common one is Level One, also known as the North American Standard Inspection. 

How Often Do DOT Inspections Happen?

DOT inspections are required every 12 months for all operating CMVs. There can also be surprise roadside inspections that can happen with no warning at any time while a driver is on the road. This is why it’s so important for drivers to be pre-emptive in doing everything they can to be ready for a DOT inspection. 

What is the DOT Looking For?

Specifically, a DOT inspector is looking for the following items: 


  • Driver Documents 
  • Driver’s License 
  • Medical Documents clearing you to driver 
  • Hours of Service (HOS) logs 
  • ELD 
  • Carrier ID and Status 
  • Record of Duty Status (ROS) 

Aside from this, the inspector may ask for additional documents as well as checking for proper seat belt use and that the driver is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  


  • Tires 
  • Brakes 
  • Suspension 
  • Brake Lights 
  • Turn Signals 
  • Fuel Systems 
  • Steering 
  • Windshield Wipers 
  • More 

Who Conducts DOT Inspections?

For annual inspections, it will most likely be a DOT certified inspector. State Troopers are also licensed to conduct DOT inspections as well. If you get stopped for a surprise inspection on the road, you may be dealing with them. 

What Happens at the End of a DOT Inspection?

After the inspector is finished, they’ll hand the driver a report, detailing any violations or defects they found. The driver will need to hand this form to someone who works at their carrier’s terminal, most likely their fleet manager.  

If no violations or defects were found, then the driver will get a decal that the inspector will place on their truck. The decal means that the truck doesn’t need to be inspected again for 3 months. If there are violations or defects, but none serious enough to warrant an “Out of Service” designation, then the driver will be informed, and they will need to have the issue(s) corrected within 15 days.  

Can You Fail a DOT Inspection?

Yes, drivers can fail a DOT inspection. If a violation is severe enough, the DOT inspector can consider either the CMV, the driver, or both Out of Service or OOS. The driver will need to rectify the violation(s) or defect(s) before they can get back on the road again.

The consequences for driving while the driver of CMV have been considered “OOS” are severe. If a driver has multiple violations of driving OOS vehicles or driving while they’re considered OOS, it can lead to them being disqualified for up to 5 years. 

Tips on Passing a DOT Inspection


The rule of thumb for documentation is, “if you think you might possibly need it, keep it in the truck.” This includes any of the documentation we listed above as well as anything else that you feel is important to have in your cab. A best practice here is to keep everything in a binder or folder for easy access.  

The other side of organization is your cab itself. It’s never a bad idea to keep a clean and organized cab at all times, especially if you know a DOT Inspection is coming.  

Maintenance Before It Becomes a Problem

Preventative maintenance is key in preparing for an inspection. DOT Inspectors look at almost every part and piece of your truck during an inspection. While it’s almost impossible and impractical to run a full body check every time you’re about to drive, you should be checking what you can, like the lights, windshield, tires and anything else you can see with the naked eye. Checking under the hood is never a bad idea either.  

Good Attitude

It’s natural for drivers to not be huge fans of DOT inspectors. After all, they’re the person going through their documents and truck with a fine-tooth comb, deciding whether they can stay on the road or not. But it’s important to remember that just like drivers, DOT inspectors are only doing their jobs. When it comes to interacting with them during an inspection, think of it as talking to a police officer after you’ve gotten pulled over for speeding. 

Don’t do or anything that can possibly make the situation more difficult than it needs to be. If the inspector lets you know about a violation, it’s never a good idea to argue and dispute it with them on the spot. This could lead to them being a little more “thorough” with the rest of the inspection, when they otherwise wouldn’t have been. If you really do feel that a violation or defect was given in error, the best thing to do is to be polite with the inspector and let your fleet manager or supervisor know about the issue when you get back to the terminal. They can handle it from there. 

Many drivers may understandably feel nervous about DOT inspections, especially surprise ones if they’ve never experienced them before. But, as long as you’ve followed the three rules above, the chances of the DOT finding any major violations with you or your truck are very low. 

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3 Tips to Make the Most of Trucking Load Boards

Empty trucks sitting in the yard aren’t a good thing. And idle freight sitting in a warehouse isn’t a good thing either. Each of these problems cost their owner money, without earning them a dime. If you’re a new carrier or an Owner Operator looking to get started in the trucking industry, but you don’t know where to find your first jobs, a load board might be the perfect place to start. Here are 3 tips to make the most of trucking load boards.

What’s a Load Board?

A popular method for truckers to find freight is by using trucking load boards. Load boards started out literally as physical bulletin boards with printed descriptions of freight needing shipped tacked onto them. Now, these are online tools that electronically connect drivers with loads posted by shippers and brokers.

Carriers and drivers can use load boards to search for freight that fits their equipment and drivers. Shippers and brokers use load boards to post their freight and look for drivers that match-up well.

Now that it’s clear what a load board is, how can a professional driver make the most of trucking load boards?

1. Do Your Research

Getting started with load boards can be a little bit overwhelming at first. There’s a lot of options and each one might work a little differently or ask for information in a slightly different way. A great tip is talk to your fellow truckers and see what they recommend. Or spend some time online and read the reviews of the programs. With some research, you’ll find the tools that best fit your budget and your needs.

These tools should benefit both sides of the shipping equation, and it should be clear that the tools you’re using will do just that.

2. Stand Out

Like any type of matching program, it’s important to stand out. When using trucking load boards, there’s no difference. You want to put in as much information as possible, to ensure that a broker will understand exactly what you’re able to carry and how much of it. This includes your qualifications and your equipment’s specifications. And certainly, at what pay rates you’re willing to accept to haul their freight.

As you work with different load boards, you’ll get more familiar with the type of information to put in your profile to help you find the best jobs quickly.

3. Learn and Adjust

As you learn how to navigate through the various types of trucking load boards, you’ll learn the ins and outs of how they work. You will learn what makes you stand out best to brokers and shippers. And more importantly, you’ll learn what brokers and shippers are good partners for you.

Finding good partners will help you in the long run, by building a network of shippers in the area you cover.

This will ultimately help ensure that you’ve got full loads coming and going while you’re out over the road.

Just like trucking load boards match-up truckers and freight, Drive My Way matches truckers with their next best fit trucking job. Start now and setup an account! It’s easy, it’s free and you never know… the perfect trucking gig for you might be just around the corner. What are you waiting for?


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Drive My Way is honored to be involved with Fuel Accelerator, a 16-week program sponsored by RevUnit, Startup Junkie, and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission that is tasking a cohort of nine startups with tackling the biggest supply chain and logistics challenges currently facing established industries. The program gives supply chain startups the training necessary to become enterprise ready.

While the need for speedy transportation has increased, many companies struggle to find and retain truck drivers.

Drive My Way, a personalized recruiting marketplace for truck drivers, redesigns and disrupts the way the trucking industry recruits. The company uses proprietary software to match drivers with available jobs based on qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Drive My Way founder and CEO Beth Potratz created Drive My Way after seeing the job marketplace evolve and employment relationships change in the gig economy.

According to Potratz, the trucking industry’s recruiting marketplace is “highly fragmented, inefficient, and ultimately ineffective.”

This has resulted in driver shortage and high turnover, but Potratz says Drive My Way helps to make the recruitment process transparent and puts the focus on the driver. Therefore, this “puts the driver in control of the process.”

Moving into the Fuel Accelerator, Drive My Way begins an “aggressive growth plan,” Potratz says. During the Fuel Accelerator, she plans to increase both the number of drivers and recruiters using the platform.

“I expect that Drive My Way will be in a position to further build a critical mass of registered drivers, accelerate the adoption of our technology with subscribing carriers, secure strategic relationships with large carriers that are leaders in their segment and further grow our brand and online community,” she says.

About Drive My Way

Drive My Way™ is a unique, personalized recruiting marketplace powered by a platform that matches CDL drivers and owner operators with jobs based on their professional qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences, such as schedule, type of haul, benefits and more. Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs that allow them to live the lives that they want and matches carriers with talent that is both qualified and engaged. Drive My Way’s driver-centric technology lets both the driver and recruiter know how well they match to each job before entering the hiring process; shifting the focus from quantity and volume to quality and best fit.

Researchers confirmed that truckers who work more than 60-hours are too tired to be on the road.

On average, truckers work 50% more than other U.S. workers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. With the roadways and highways as their workplace, this puts themselves and other motorists, at greater risk of crashing.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over 3,830 roadway users–drivers, bicyclists, and truckers–died in heavy vehicle crashes in 2015.

2 in 5 truckers report they work over the recommended 60-hour work week, and 1 in 5 report working over 70+ hours. Therefore, it’s no wonder that these numbers are expected to rise.

A big factor in tracking the hours a driver spends on the road is the lack of pay for the time that truckers are waiting “off-duty”.

The time spent loading and unloading often goes unpaid, allowing truckers to extend their work week and drive more. Because this “off-duty” time is unpaid, cargo owners lack motivation to work quickly. As a result, they end up wasting over $1 billion dollars that would otherwise land in truckers’ pockets.

“There’s a lot of wasted time in trucking.”

“The industry could be a lot more efficient,” trucker Donald Rich told The Washington Post. “You sit outside a business for 6-8 hours waiting for someone to unload your truck. Businesses don’t care, but you lose hundreds or thousands of dollars of potential pay because you have to just wait.”

A possible solution here is a major increase in wages on both ends of the loading process. If drivers were compensated for their off-duty time, it would cost the industry billions. However, it might be more cost effective to simply cut down on the waiting time. If cargo workers were incentivized to move more quickly, perhaps that down time would decrease.

Another option is to both incentivize those responsible for loading and unloading cargo, as well as pay, even a half-wage, to truckers for off-duty time. This might offset the need for drivers to work regular overtime hours, and allow for a better work-life balance at home.

So, when will these wage increases take place?

Soon, hopefully. With the ever increasing demand for drivers nation wide, some companies are offering pay rates the likes of which have never been seen. For some companies, this already includes off-duty pay. As both benefits and wages increase, more and more drivers are beginning to notice the keen position they’ve been put in.


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Northern California fleet finds success with renewable diesel.

After hearing about the savings in fuel costs and truck maintenance possible with Neste’s MY Renewable Diesel, Cherokee Freight tried the fuel. The food carrier, which specializes in kosher-certified hauling, test Neste’s fuel in February 2017. And, after about 18 months, the company reports great results.

Richard Damilano, Cherokee’s operations manager, told Neste that he found the transition to be easy. “It’s a drop-in fuel replacement, so the switch was seamless.”

In addition, Art Cortez, a Cherokee shop foreman, agreed. He believes the trucks run better than ever. Between Neste’s fuel and Cherokee’s new equipment, Cortez says he’s seen a serious improvement in fuel economy.

Regular diesel contains impurities that can clog diesel particulate filters (DPF), contaminate the fuel, and ruin fuel injectors. However, Neste’s renewable diesel is a a low-carbon biofuel, meaning it contains 33 percent fewer fine particulates than ordinary diesel. In addition, 100-percent renewable raw materials makes up the fuel, cutting greenhouse emissions by up to 80 percent. Also, unlike biodiesel, Neste’s fuel is a direct replacement fuel, so it is compatible with all engines and doesn’t require blending.


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Increasing fuel prices are leaving many smaller fleets and owner-operators more financially challenged. Many between tractor-trailer speed and gas consumption to save some serious cash.

In March, diesel prices were at a moderate $2.99 per gallon. The price peaked at $3.24 per gallon in June, and, though it has fallen a few cents these past few weeks, is still expected to throughout the summer months. Heavier freight volumes and the new ELD , are pushing trucks’ capacities. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio has risen a stunning 171% from last year. In addition, the load-to-truck ratio has risen 34%.

What does all of this mean for drivers? It’s time to slow down. According to the American Trucking Association, a tractor-trailer traveling at 65 mph saves 27% more fuel than one going 75 mph. Though the recent drivers to increase their speed, now it is more important than ever to slow down to improve gas mileage.


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The Rotella Shell Starship is finally coming home.

Image via Trailer Body Builders

The Shell AirFlow Starship ended its highly anticipated maiden voyage across the USA on June 5. The new electric cab began its journey in San Diego in March. From there, it was driven across the country, including stops in Georgia and Kentucky, before its final destination in Florida. Shell celebrated the truck’s successful expedition with a presentation that called attention to the highlights of the trip.

Read part one of this thread on our blog: Big Oil Enters the Electric Trucking Game.

The Starship took three years to design and construct, using the most sophisticated technology to build the “hyper-aerodynamic, super fuel-efficient” truck. It features a custom carbon-fiber cab with special add-ons that enhance its durability and efficiency. The aerodynamic design helps in reducing drag, and solar panels are used to power smaller features, such as windshield wipers. In addition, a “hybrid electric axle system and custom automatic tire inflation” allow for better fuel efficiency.

“Through perseverance and hard work…we arrived here today, not in Jacksonville, but at a crossroads of where we move going forward.”

While the average miles per gallon for a gas-fueled tractor trailer is around six miles, the Starship performed at 10.2 miles per gallon. The more important figure, though, was the ton-miles per gallon for freight-ton efficiency, which combines a cargo’s weight with the amount of fuel consumed.

According to Bob Mainwaring, Shell Lubricant’s technology manager for innovation, the Starship came in at 178.4 ton-miles per gallon. Compared to the national average of only 72 ton-miles per gallon, the Starship is making leaps in trucking technology. Furthermore, Shell estimates that through use of their truck, the industry would see close to 60% emission reduction in a few years.


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The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will increase brakes inspections during Brake Safety Week.

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Brakes Safety Week is September 16-22, 2018. Enforcement personnel plan on doing everything in their power to ensure the safety and well-being of all highway travelers.

Overall, North American Standard Level 1 inspections assess everything from hydraulic fluid leaks and loose parts to defective rotor conditions. Also, vehicles that fall short of the minimum standards leave the road immediately.

In 2017, 14% of inspected trucks were put out of service. “Properly functioning brake systems remain crucial to safe CMV operation,” the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance wrote in a release. “Also, improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems reduce braking efficiency. Therefore, this poses serious risk to public safety on our roadways.”

In addition, CVSA’s 2017 International Roadcheck inspections revealed the majority of violations involved brakes.


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Tesla has some new competition in the realm of Electric Trucking: electric tractor trailers.

Image via CNBC

Shell Global sent its new electric-engine AirFlow Starship on its first journey across the country. It traveled from Atlanta to Long Beach, Calif. The unveiling of the new tractor-trailer this year spiked both interest and concerns throughout the industry.

As the first major heavy-duty truck to come out since Tesla’s electric long-haul trailer, Shell thinks more companies will follow suit in choosing electric trailers, which decrease 25 percent of carbon dioxide emissions a truck creates. Shell’s Bob Mainwaring tells CNBC, “Shell is an energy company … It’s always good to conserve energy.”

Industry experts say they expected Shell to design a cab for years.

The Airflow Starship is modeled after the Airflow Truck built by Robert Sliwa, who has been working to design the most fuel-efficient trucks possible since 1983. In addition, the Starship has an aerodynamic design. Therefore, this helps in reducing drag, and solar panels to power smaller features, such as windshield wipers. Also, a “hybrid electric axle system and custom automatic tire inflation” allow for better fuel efficiency.

The new trailer is completing its maiden voyage across the country through Shell’s Rotella Starship Initiative. Sliwa has said he hopes his new trailer design will beat his last model’s previous record of 13.4 miles per gallon. That record was set by Tesla’s Bullet Truck, which can travel 500 miles without needing to be recharged. Though production of these trailers isn’t set to begin until May 2019, both Walmart and UPS have ordered mass quantities.

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