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Do RVs Have to Stop at Weigh Stations

Heavy loads are harder on roads and more likely to cause accidents.

Because of this, it makes sense for heavier vehicles to pay more significant taxes – which led to the creation of weigh stations across federal and state roads.

But where does an RV sit in this equation?

Do RVs have to stop at weigh stations?

weigh station

The answer is more complex than an average yes or no.

Most states define the types of vehicles that should stop at a weigh station as:

  • Agricultural vehicles
  • Vehicles that tow large trailers
  • Trucks
  • Vehicles used for commercial purposes
  • Large specialty vehicles
  • Any vehicles over 10,000 pounds

You will find that your RV may fall under the definition under one state and be explicitly excluded in the next.

Overall, the one certainty is that if your RV’s Gross Combined Weight Ratio (GCWR) is under 10,000 pounds, you wouldn’t need to stop at a weigh station.

How to Know if My GCWR is More Than 10,000 Pounds

The easiest way to know your RV’s GCWR is to check your vehicle’s user manual.

This will usually be in the Vehicle Specifications section, alongside the total recommended payload and loading capacity.

If you don’t have the manual with you, you can also look up your RV’s VIN number.

This number is usually on a label located on the front door of the driver’s side.

GCWR should not be confused with Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR.

Both refer to the maximum weight that a vehicle can safely take.

However, the GVWR relates only to the RV itself, while the GCWR comprises the motorhome, any towed vehicles, and the contents of both.

In some cases, the VIN label will only provide you with the GVWR of your RV, separate from that of your towing car.

In this case, you will need to add both numbers to get your GVWR.

Which States Require Me to Stop at Weigh Stations

According to the federal rules, vehicles with a GCWR below 10,000 pounds fall under the “light duty” category and do not need to stop at a weigh station.

If your GCWR is over 10,000 pounds, you will need to look at each state’s legal limit.

The following states require RVs to stop at a weigh station whenever their GCWR is over 10,000 pounds:

  • Arkansans
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Meanwhile, the following states set the limit at 26,000 pounds:

  • Colorado
  • Oregon

Finally, keep in mind that one of the main tasks of a weigh station is to prevent unsafe loads.

Because of this, the following states require you to stop at a weigh station if a police officer believes your actual weight may be above the recommended GCWR:

  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

What Happens If I Forget to Stop at a Weigh Station

In general, it is never advisable to break any part of a state’s traffic or highway code.

If you forget to stop at a weigh station, you will most likely have to pay a fine.

The exact amount of the fine will vary according to the state.

As a general rule, you can expect higher fines if:

  • Your RV is registered as a commercial vehicle
  • You are significantly over your limit
  • You are a repeat offender

If you are ever stopped at a toll booth, and the officers realize you skipped the weigh station, they will most likely ask you to turn back.

Then, they will direct you straight toward the closest weigh station.

There may be a provision that gives the police the right to arrest you or impound your vehicle in some states.

This is unlikely, however, especially if you have a good driving record and no other pending fees.

You might also be interested in: Do Travel Trailers Need Insurance

Will I Have to Stop at Weigh Stations in Canada

Canada’s traffic laws are different from those in the United States.

According to their national regulations, RVs should pull over and submit for an inspection at an officer’s discretion.

During this inspection, they may also direct you to a weigh station.

In the province of Nova Scotia, stopping by weigh stations is mandatory for any vehicle above 4,500 kg, or 9,920 pounds.

Are Seniors Exempt from Having to Stop

In many parts of the United States, senior citizens are exempted from paying tolls or other associated road taxes.

Because of this, when many ask themselves, “do RVs have to stop at weigh stations?” some assume that any given answer will exclude senior citizens.

In reality, senior citizens do need to stop at weight stations.

This is because weigh stations are not just a way to determine taxes or highway fees.

They are also part of a basic vehicle inspection.

If you have loaded your RV beyond the limit set by your GCWR, you will have a higher risk of turning over or causing an accident.

As a result, you will still need to check your weight if you meet the criteria and pass by a weigh station.

In states where the police can call for a weight inspection, the driver’s age is not usually taken into account.

All that matters is that the officer believes you may be carrying above the recommended weight.

Conclusion

The question of whether RVs have to stop at weigh station is not an easy one.

If you have a small RV with a gross combined weight rating under 10,000 pounds, you will be able to skip most weigh stations.

However, in many states, the police can still request a weight or vehicle inspection.

Not checking your weight when you are supposed to can land you a hefty fine.

If you get pulled over by the police, just remember they are doing their due diligence!

Comply with any orders and make sure you keep all your paperwork in order.