September 22, 2020
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To help freight move efficiently while ensuring that commercial vehicles operate safely on state highways, the Arizona Department of Transportation is expanding its use of technology that screens moving trucks for both weight and identification information.

[Above photo by the Arizona DOT.]

The system – originally installed five years ago at select rest areas on Interstate 17, on Interstate 10, and on Interstate 19 – is now operating at the agency’s commercial ports of entry along I-10, I-40 and State Route 95.

“This truck screening system will allow our officers to focus on the commercial vehicles that need our officers’ attention,” noted Jeff Stanhope, deputy director for Arizona DOT’s enforcement and compliance division, in a statement. “It helps us make better use of our resources and efforts while allowing trucks in compliance to go on their way.”

The screening system includes: weigh-in-motion sensors; cameras that are designed to read U.S. Department of Transportation numbers and license plates; and message signs.

Photo by the Arizona DOT

An additional system feature added at the Ehrenberg and San Simon ports of entry on I-10 also identifies tires on commercial vehicles that could be damaged or in need of repair.

The agency said its screening system works like this: As a commercial vehicle approaches the port of entry, highway signs direct the driver into the right lane. When the truck is a half-mile from the port, the weigh-in-motion sensors and cameras capture the vehicle’s weight and identifying information and relay it to Arizona DOT officers.

Next, the computer checks the truck’s credentials against national and state databases. If the truck is cleared and within weight limits, the message boards along the highway direct the driver to bypass the port and continue on. If there is an issue identified with the commercial vehicle – such as expired registration, federal out-of-service orders, or lack of required permits – the signs direct the driver to pull into the port for further inspection.

In addition to saving time for agency personnel and truck drivers alike, the system tracks and stores the size and weights of the commercial vehicles entering Arizona – data that will help the Arizona DOT’s multimodal planning division “make more informed decisions” about the state’s highway needs down the road.

editor@aashto.org

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