The Most Common Misconceptions About Bypass Programs
January 6, 2021
Electronic weigh station bypass technologies have been evolving steadily over the past few decades. Since Drivewyze’s transponder-less bypass technology debuted in the US in 2012, bypass programs have developed even further to make truck inspections easier for everyone involved. Today, bypass programs help safe vehicles avoid unnecessary inspections through mobile integration and screening techniques that can weigh the truck as it passes inspection stations at full speed.
Although bypass programs are commonplace in the trucking industry, there are still industry misconceptions about how they work. These concerns are largely associated with efficiency, safety, and privacy, even though in reality, bypass programs are designed to enhance driver safety and fleet efficiency as well as provide opportunities to improve a carrier’s Inspection Selection System (ISS) score1 and reward its fleet with more bypasses.
Misconception #1: Bypass Programs Will Result in More Inspections
A common fear for fleet managers is that bypass programs will cause more inspections, resulting in wasted time, more paperwork, and delayed deliveries. In reality, bypass programs are used by law enforcement to reward carriers with high safety ratings.
When a vehicle is screened using bypass technology, law enforcement receives a detailed snapshot of the vehicle’s information.
The screening criteria used is at the discretion of the enforcement agency, but these are some of the common credentials:
- The carrier’s ISS score, which reflects the overall safety profile of the fleet.
- The license and vehicle identification number (VIN), which allows law enforcement agents to screen against registration, permits, and taxes.
- The weight of the vehicle.
By combining these credentials into one system, bypass programs provide officers with a more efficient screening process. They can focus their efforts on unsafe vehicles while allowing safer vehicles to stay on the mainline and deliver their load faster.
However, this does not mean safe carriers do not need to be inspected. Law enforcement sets a “random pull-in factor” at each inspection station so that a certain percentage of fleets, regardless of ISS score or bypass system integration, are subject to being inspected. This is an important safety precaution that ensures all fleets are fairly screened.
Bypass services, like Drivewyze PreClear®, use ISS scores set by law enforcement to predict the likelihood of requiring an inspection. The lower the score, the less likely the truck will be asked to pull in. This prediction and the random pull-in factor help improve safety on the road while decreasing inspections for fleets with outstanding safety scores.
Misconception #2: Bypass Programs Use CSA Scores for Screening
Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores are calculated using roadside inspection and crash report data from the previous 24 months. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) then combines these various CSA scores to determine a single-digit ISS score for a fleet, which offers a more comprehensive view of a fleet’s overall safety profile. For this reason, bypass systems only screen for a fleet’s ISS score, not its collection of different CSA scores over the past two years.
In fact, bypass programs provide an opportunity for fleets to improve their ISS score. Every bypass and clear inspection show the carrier’s commitment to safety. Over time, this lowers the ISS score, enhances the safety profile, and increases each truck’s likelihood of bypassing a weigh station.
Some bypass systems, like Drivewyze PreClear®, also provide real-time data reporting to identify the most common criteria inspected at weigh stations. This gives fleet managers an in-depth look at which safety areas need the most attention. They can restructure their safety strategy to target those areas and improve their ISS score moving forward.
Misconception #3: Bypass Programs are Used to Track Drivers
Mobile bypass technology makes a driver’s job safer and easier.
It’s the mobile nature of these kinds of technologies however, that raises concerns about driver privacy. Bypass systems pre-screen for information that will only alert law enforcement of any safety violations. It’s important to note that during a pre-screening, officers will never check a driver’s:
- Hours of Service (HOS) log
- Past medical records
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
Bypass programs use secure mobile technology to ensure this personal information is not provided to law enforcement. Additionally, the bypass system will only record the date and time that a truck bypasses or is asked to pull into a weigh station and does not track the vehicle before or after the station.
How information is processed inside the station is also strictly regulated:
- Any vehicle data collected at the station does not leave the station.
- Driver data is never collected or shared across locations or officers.
- Law enforcement personnel can only see weigh stations within their jurisdiction visited by the driver, but not in neighboring jurisdictions.
- Officers cannot use this data to issue a citation. For example, they cannot use location data to give a driver a speeding ticket.
Not only do bypass programs keep drivers’ data private, but they also make driving safer. Services like Drivewyze PreClear® offer a hands-free system that can be used on the driver’s mobile device. It sends heads-up notifications to warn drivers about upcoming inspection stations, along with safety alerts for high-risk areas on the road. Plus, since the system doesn’t require a transponder, drivers can avoid dangerous lane changes or slowing down to get a bypass green light.
Test the Benefits of a Bypass Program with a Free Trial
Bypass technology is designed to make trucking easier—for drivers, fleet managers, and law enforcement. But with any innovation, there are going to be questions and concerns.
By staying educated on bypass programs and how they integrate with weigh stations, carriers can improve cost and operational efficiency, improve safety scores, and boost driver safety and retention.
Curious whether a weigh station bypass system can work for your fleet? Contact us to start a free trial of North America’s largest weigh station bypass service, Drivewyze PreClear®.