WSDOT recently announced the new agreement and posted information about enrollment on its website. The extended service 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. “We are pleased our partnership with HELP Inc. helps achieve that goal.”
Transponders send a signal from trucks traveling at highway speeds to bypass weigh stations as part of a system that electronically verifies a truck’s legal weight, safety rating and credentials. Based on the 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.
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 will continue to sell transponders.
“We are excited to be entering into this partnership with Washington to expand bypass opportunities for PrePass customers,” said Karen Rasmussen, president and CEO of HELP Inc. “Safe fleets and drivers appreciate the time and fuel savings of PrePass as well as opportunities for interoperability of their transponders.”
Nationwide, since HELP began compiling data in 1997, PrePass has logged 794 million operational weigh station bypasses resulting in more than $5.9 billion in savings to motor carriers. Currently, over 560,000 qualified commercial trucks from more than 57,000 fleets use PrePass for bypassing and electronic toll payment.
The waiver is necessary because HELP 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).
No additional fees are required to authorize HELP to enroll PrePass transponders in WSDOT/NORPASS or participate in the NORPASS program.