Pass or fail?

News March 06, 2001
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The Oregon Department of Transportation has asked a U

The Oregon Department of Transportation has asked a U.S. District Court to decide if it's lawful for Oregon to enroll transponders belonging to HELP Inc. PrePass system into the Green Light truck weigh-in-motion program.

In a Declatory Judgement Action Complaint filed Feb. 8, titled State of Oregon v. Heavy Vehicle Electronic License Plate Inc., the Oregon Department of Justice has asked the court if enrolling the ID code from a PrePass transponder in Green Light would violate any federal or state law or regulation.

Oregon is seeking to used the PrePass transponder in its Green Light system because the technologies are compatible.

Thousands of trucks operating in Oregon today have a PrePass transponder that they use when they preclear weigh stations in California and other states. Although the transponders are the same type used in Oregon's program, HELP PrePass considers its transponders proprietary, and has set a restrictive policy that keeps anyone from using them without permission.

The transponder is a palm-size short-range radio device that is attached to a truck windshield. Its identification number is stamped on the back and the device constantly broadcasts that number. It works to identify the truck as it approaches a weigh station, just as a metal license plate does. Each transponder has a red and green light that respond to signals from specially equipped weigh stations.

Near the weigh station, scales under the roadway record the weight of each axle combination as the truck rolls over them. At the same time a sensor reads the signal from the transponder and matches the number with computer files. A match and proper weight allows the station operator to clear the truck without making the driver pull in to go over stationary scales.

If there is an overload, or the transponder's identification number has not been entered in the system, the tag gets a red light telling the driver to pull into the weigh station.

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