A new partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is going to allow truck operators with PrePass transponders to bypass weigh stations that are part of the NORPASS system. This “extended service” deal adds 23 new locations within Washington, Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, New York and South Dakota. This is in addition to 21 locations added through Oregon’s Green Light program announced in January.
The transponder-based NORPASS weigh station bypass system is operated by WSDOT on behalf of the other states in the NORPASS system. HELP Inc., the provider of PrePass, worked with WSDOT on a cooperative agreement that will enable drivers to use one transponder for weigh station bypassing at NORPASS and PrePass locations.
“The goal is one transponder that will work everywhere,” said Anne Ford, WSDOT’s commercial vehicle services administrator, in a statement. “We are pleased our partnership with HELP Inc. helps achieve that goal.”
Previously, truck drivers and fleets operating in Washington and other NORPASS states purchased a transponder from WSDOT that also worked in several other jurisdictions. The WSDOT transponders could be added to the PrePass system — if requested by the driver — but general PrePass transponders could not communicate with WSDOT weigh stations, meaning some drivers had to carry two transponders. The new agreement means drivers can carry just one transponder — NORPASS or PrePass — because the devices are now fully interoperable, WSDOT said – adding that it will continue to sell transponders.
The agency and HELP Inc. also noted that no additional fees are required to authorize HELP to enroll PrePass transponders in WSDOT/NORPASS or participate in the NORPASS program.
Karen Rasmussen, president and CEO of HELP Inc, noted that transponders allow trucks to bypass weigh stations by electronically verifying a truck’s legal weight, safety rating and credentials as the truck travels at highway speeds. Based on a motor carrier’s safety score, credentials and truck weight, drivers receive either a green light to continue driving or a red light indicating they must report to the weigh station for inspection, she said.
In sum, transponder usage keeps safe and compliant trucks on the road, reduces travel time, and improves overall highway safety, Rasmussen stressed.
Currently, over 560,000 qualified commercial trucks from more than 57,000 fleets use PrePass for bypassing and electronic toll payment, she added.
The waiver is necessary because HELP said it does not share date and time stamp data from weigh station bypass events, nor publish transponder numbers to the Federal Safety and Fitness Electronics Records System (SAFER). However, PrePass devices registered with NORPASS and/or Green Light will be subject to that program’s regulations. The Data Privacy Waiver acknowledges that the user is aware that bypass transaction data may be shared with NORPASS and Green Light.