As reported by Fox23 News, Oklahoma is using new technology to combat the problem of overweight trucks on its roads. An overweight truck not only wears down roads quicker, but it also takes longer to stop, which poses a safety risk to other drivers. In Oklahoma, around 90 people die each year in accidents involving big trucks, and they also play a role in more than 5,000 accidents annually.
In response to the problem of truck accidents and the increased danger overweight trucks pose on state roads, the state has created new weigh stations at the points where trucks enter Oklahoma. Because of their location, these new high-tech stations are called ports of entry. They are massive when compared to the older weigh stations built in the 1960s that are now in various states of disrepair, and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) has also deemed those older stations obsolete. One such older station, located on I-35 North, is currently only open one or two days per week. Because it takes so long to weigh a truck and go over the driver’s paperwork there, drivers are often told to bypass it, and it’s situations like these that have led to overweight trucks routinely crisscrossing the state.
At the new stations, like the one at I-35 South where drivers cross from Kansas to into Oklahoma, the trucks are weighed, scanned and measured in various ways and at different points in an instant thanks to newer technology, and this all takes place while the truck is moving at highway speeds so traffic isn’t impeded. OCC officers can also tell whether a truck is overweight, legally registered and if it has outstanding citations from the newer scanning methods.
According to OCC officer Maj. Mark Combest, tires and braking ability are impacted on a truck with too much weight. It also poses an increased cost to taxpayers as overweight trucks take a harder toll on state roads and highways.
Currently, the new ports are not staffed seven days a week for budget reasons, and the state has only constructed four out of the eight ports it has planned so far. The Oklahoma Trucking Association is supportive of the state’s attempt to update its weigh stations, noting that the new stations are a huge improvement over the old ones and will help speed up the weighing process while ensuring roads are kept safer for everyone on them.
Big truck accidents are a problem nationwide, with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reporting that more than 3,800 people died in crashes involving large trucks nationwide in 2015 alone. Outdated or inoperable weigh stations in states like Oklahoma are potential contributors to the problem as overloaded trucks pose a safety risk to drivers on multiple levels. While improvements are being made in this area, budget constraints and other concerns are impacting how states handle their weigh station problems.
If you or someone you care about was injured in a big truck accident, speak to an experienced truck accident lawyer Denver CO trusts today to protect your rights.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Richard Banta Law, P.C. for their insight into overweight trucks and truck accident cases.