Inside look at how CHP monitors commercial traffic, trucks from Nev. to Calif.

LAS VEGAS – The roads are expected to be busy throughout Spring break, but it’s the semi-trucks hauling cargo through the valley that could be posing a danger to drivers while damaging roads. Every day an estimated 3,000 semi-trucks coming from the valley, pass through a weigh station, just south of Primm, and every single truck has someone watching the vehicles closely. The California Highway Patrol monitors commercial traffic 24-7. “Common violations are size violations, overweight violations, over length violations, over height violations,” said Officer Dan Mitchell, mobile road enforcement for CHP.

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A computer system alerts CHP if a semi-truck passing through the weigh-in-motion scale might be over the 80,000-pound limit. If they are — drivers are directed to the inspection bay in the back of the building. “We get them every day, by the hour,” Officer Mitchell said. An underground tunnel gives CHP inspectors a better advantage point to check out other mechanical components. “We’re going to check out the brakes, make sure they’re in good working order,” Officer Mitchell said. “We’re going to look for any kind of leaks.”

The weigh station opened two years ago. Before that, there weren’t any inspections for commercial vehicles driving south through the valley. But now, all semi trucks coming from Nevada to California have to pass through this weight station. CHP is also conducting
a lot of enforcement out on the road. Three officers conduct commercial traffic enforcement. “The biggest difference working the road compared to the scale is that on the road,” Mitchell said. “We can get moving violations. We get speed violations, lane violations.” Drivers with an overweight load must be in compliance before leaving the weigh station. CHP officers say they often call their companies to send another vehicle to pick up the excess cargo.

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