Plate Readers Offer Advanced Inspection System for Trucks New Technology Allows Compliant Drivers to ‘Keep on Truckin’
RICHMOND… Through a partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Virginia State Police, the Department of Motor Vehicles recently installed new technology at three of its motor carrier service centers (also called weigh stations) that help keep compliant trucks moving across the Commonwealth.
“Virginia’s weigh station technology makes the Commonwealth a business- and trucking-friendly state while still focusing on safety and compliance,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. "Through our weigh stations, trucks that travel on Virginia’s roadways are easily tracked for safety, assessment and payment of taxes and appropriate credentials in an efficient way, and non-compliant carriers are more easily detected, making for safer highways."
The new technology is called the automated license plate reader (ALPR) system, and it checks trucks that cross the scales at DMV’s Carson, Stephens City and Dumfries weigh stations for compliance with federal and state requirements. The new technology will also be installed at weigh stations in Alberta and Troutville later this year.
As a truck drives across the weigh station scales, the ALPR reads the truck’s plate and queries DMV’s system to locate any trucking companies that have suspended credentials or owe Virginia outstanding taxes, fees or penalties. If a truck is flagged by the system, the driver is asked to pull into the weigh station where he or she has the opportunity to correct any compliance issues.
In the future, the capability of DMV’s ALPRs will interface with the Commercial Vehicle Information Exchange Window (CVIEW) for roadside screenings. The interface will extend screenings to include compliance issues with other states. “Interfacing the ALPRs with the existing Virginia CVIEW will facilitate detection of additional credential, tax and safety compliance issues,” Holcomb said.
ALPRs are the latest pieces of DMV’s new smart roadside technology program. As part of this program, existing weigh-in-motion technology has already been implemented at most of Virginia’s weigh stations. High-speed weigh-in-motion scales are set into the pavement right before the weigh stations. This technology allows participating trucks to be weighed at normal highway speeds and bypass the weigh station if they meet weight and safety requirements. If the truck is overweight, or there are other outstanding requirements associated with the carrier, the driver is directed to pull into the weigh station.
The ALPR project is being paid for mostly with grant funds through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Each installation costs about $300,000.
Thirteen weigh stations and 12 mobile crews in Virginia monitor trucks for compliance with state and federal laws pertaining to size and weight. About 18 million trucks are weighed per year in Virginia, and approximately 140,000 overweight violations are detected annually. A typical Virginia DMV motor carrier service center operation weighs vehicles, collects truck data and administers citations.