Next year, the state of Utah will join the other 24 states that use PrePass technology by installing this automatic vehicle identification system to all of its major weigh posts. It will begin installing the technology in the Perry inspection facilities of the Department of Transportation of Utah on I-15 and then continue with east- and westbound I-80 at Wendover, southbound I-15 at Echo, and northbound I-15 at St. George.
PrePass allows trucks and trailers with transponder tags attached to their windshields to go through special weigh posts, port-of-entry and agricultural interdiction facilities without having to stop and lose time and money. Vehicles that are clear of any irregularities do not need to stop and may proceed at their normal speed, eliminating delays, improving efficiency for carriers and safety for all users of the roadway. Carriers are pre-certified, their credentials as well as their safety record are regularly verified with state and federal agencies. Approximately one mile before the weigh posts, PrePass transponders electronically weigh the vehicles using weigh-in-motion (WIM) scales at the time that Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) antennas check the identity of the vehicles as well as if they meet all requirements for weight, size, and safety as they approach the weigh post. The axles of the vehicles along with its gross weight are calculated by the WIM when the truck passes over it, and the AVI antenna incorporates the PrePass transponder as it verifies state requirements and conveys bypass status to the driver. A green indicator and a sound from the PrePass transponder tells the driver to bypass the weigh post if weight and credentials are satisfactory, or in the opposite case, a red indicator and a different sound orders the driver to pull into the weigh post.
At this time, more than 850 carrier companies and 350,000 commercial vehicles use PrePass in the United States. PrePass started in 1995 in the state of California and since then the high attractiveness of the program has grown progressively. The PrePass technology was created by Lockheed Martin; it still sets up and offers maintenance of the equipment. The program is directed by Heavy Vehicle Electronic License Plate Inc (HELP).
The PrePass system currently operates at approximately 35 weigh posts in California, Arkansas, Colorado, Mississippi, Arizona, Wyoming, and New Mexico. And in addition to Utah, other states are also interested in participating in the PrePass program and being a part of the intelligent highway system.