Over time, weigh station bypass programs have become an integral part of how the trucking industry does business. All motor carriers have experienced the impact of roadside inspections on their operations, whether it be through increased route delays or higher costs. Bypass programs provide solutions to these challenges.
Let’s examine some problems bypass solutions solve. For one, truckers can sometimes wait in long lines at inspection sites. They can also get stuck in road delays or heavy traffic congestion. Delays cause truckers to use more fuel. That can cause an increase in fuel and unwanted labor costs. Even worse, high truck driver turnover creates gaps in your program. A toll bypass program can help you increase efficiency & integrate driver operations. That way your truck drivers get home sooner & earn more money with less unpaid downtime.
How Does It Work?
The future is now. Gone are the days when heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles were relegated to waiting in long lines at weigh stations. Electronic weigh station bypass technologies help vehicles avoid unnecessary inspections through mobile integration and screening techniques that can weigh a truck as it passes inspection stations at full speed.
Although bypass programs are commonplace in the trucking industry, there are still industry misconceptions about how they work. Far too often fleet managers wind up influenced by facts that don’t apply to the truth. These concerns are largely associated with efficiency, safety, and privacy. And yet, if you dig deeper, you find that these are the factors bypass systems are designed to supplement.
Bypass programs are designed to enhance driver safety and fleet efficiency. They also provide opportunities to improve a carrier’s Inspection Selection System (ISS) score and reward its fleet with more bypasses. Let’s dig a little deeper into some of these misconceptions and do a little myth busting. It’s time to learn how bypass systems can help your fleet.
Myth 1: Bypass System Users Suffer More Inspections
This may be one of the most egregious misconceptions out there. Because in reality, bypass programs are used by law enforcement to reward carriers with high safety ratings. Rather than causing more inspections, bypass systems are set up – by design – to prevent increased inspections. Fleets using bypass systems allow weigh station personnel to focus their efforts on unsafe vehicles.
However, this does not mean that safe trucking companies do not need to undergo inspections. Law enforcement sets a “random pull-in factor” at each inspection station so that a certain percentage of fleets, regardless of ISS score or bypass system integration, are subject to being inspected. This way a bypass system is not a guarantee that you will never get inspected, but it does dramatically decrease the chances.
Myth 2: Truck Drivers Can be Tracked Through Bypass Programs
Some erroneously believe that bypass systems will somehow alert law enforcement or track truck drivers through the software. With so many cameras and sensors on trucks these days – and with so many vehicles now dialed into advanced telematics systems – it is easy to see why truck drivers might believe bypass systems could track them.
In fact, bypass systems screen for information that will only alert law enforcement of any safety violation. That is the only scenario in which your third-party or in-house bypass system will initiate contact with law enforcement. Vehicle data collected at the station is programmed to never leave the station. Typically, truck driver data is never collected or shared across locations or officers. That information remains safely hidden from view, and for good reason.
In just about any bypass system, truck driver information, such as hours of service, medical records and CDL information is kept hidden away. It is not relatively available. Truck drivers must always follow safe driving practices and never follow in-cab signals if doing so poses a risk to safe driving. This includes moving safely into the lane nearest the eventual weigh station exit. If a driving instruction is delayed, your truck drivers should be trained to always choose to pull-in safely rather than wait for an instruction.
Myth 3: Bypass Systems Screen by Using a Truck Driver’s CSA Information
Trucking companies live and die by their safety scores. Not only are safety scores a reputational determinant, but federal inspectors use them to determine whether your operation can stay in business. Safety scores are essential to every carrier’s operation. They communicate to law enforcement a fleet’s overall commitment to safety by combining relevant data, from crash reports to inspection results. They are also screened by transponder-less weigh station bypass technologies to determine if a truck should be pulled in for inspection.
It is also important to note one distinction in the types of information that bypass programs screen for. Bypass programs only screen for ISS scores, not Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores. Bypass programs screening ISS scores is another misconceived notion. An ISS score offers law enforcement a comprehensive overview of a fleet’s safety profile and serves as a more efficient measurement tool. Nothing more and nothing less. Any other assumption could cause your fleet to lose out on a valuable tool over an incorrect assumption.
A weigh station bypass system is meant to create a safer and more predictable operating environment for truck drivers and fleets. But if you aren’t carefully monitoring and adjusting your operation to accommodate your CSA and ISS scores, you’re going to wind up with violations. First, you must know the difference between the different score types. Any reputable fleet manager should be able to recite these differences blindfolded, but let’s revisit them one more time.
What is the Difference Between CSA and ISS Scores?
The trucking industry has had plenty of time now to adapt to the CSA system. Standing for Compliance, Safety, and Accountability, the CSA score is a collection of safety data the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) uses to rate fleets. This data includes:
- Roadside inspections
- Crash reports
- Data from investigation results
- Registration details from the last 24 months
The CSA program holds motor carriers and truck drivers accountable for moving or non-moving violations. Whenever a violation occurs, that truck driver will have their CSA score dinged with violation points. The number of points depends on the type and severity of the violation. Fortunately, fleets can routinely check their CSA scores on the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS).
Better Manage Your Score to Prevent Violations
Now, let’s have a look at the ISS score. A trucking company’s ISS score is an aggregation of all the CSA scores for the driver in said fleet. Consider CSA scores as the driver’s rating and the ISS score as the company’s rating, with the ISS score being the CSA score average. The ISS has a working range between 1 and 100, with 100 being the worst and signifying that the fleet or owner-operator in question is Out of Service (OOS). Both the FMCSA and potential shipping clients view the ISS scores as a reflection of the motor carrier’s overall safety profile. The lower the score, the better the safety rating.
Now, you are probably asking yourself what your CSA and ISS scores have to do with a comprehensive weigh station bypass program. Why? Because it is the ISS score that helps weigh station personnel determine if a truck requires an inspection.
The fact is the number of technological tools available to fleets has expanded exponentially over the years. Thanks to new systems, computing technology, GPS, hardware, software, and data analytics, trucking companies have more control over their operation than ever before. Are you ready to take the next step in your technological journey with a weigh station bypass system? It may be the time.