By Steve Vaughn, vice president of field operations, PrePass Safety Alliance Every year the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) stages […]
State Fact Sheets
Frequently Asked Questions
PrePass Safety Alliance is a non-profit public/private partnership formed to improve highway safety and efficiency. Both PrePass Safety Alliance and its PrePass service can trace their origins to a multi-year truck safety demonstration program that began in the mid-1980s. The demonstration program was known as the Crescent Project, in which innovative state DOT directors and trucking executives sought a way to pre-screen and weigh qualified, safe commercial trucks at highway speeds, providing efficiencies to both the trucking industry and state enforcement agencies.
The Crescent Project involved the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington, and the province of British Columbia. The results of the Crescent Project ultimately led to the creation of The Alliance and the launch of the PrePass service. Today, The Alliance’s PrePass e-screening and weigh station bypass, coupled with its PrePass Plus toll management system, represent not only North America’s largest truck safety pre-clearance service but also the nation’s largest vehicle-to infrastructure (v2i) program.
One of the hurdles that confronted participants at the very beginning of the Crescent Project was how to overcome an inherent distrust that existed between public agencies (operators of the infrastructure, such as departments of transportation) and industry (trucking companies and drivers). The public sector feared some truckers might abuse a bypass system, while truckers held deep-seated concerns that by voluntarily enrolling in and being qualified for the bypass program, they would be subject to greater scrutiny than their non-participating competitors.
Also, at the time the project was getting underway, nearly all of the participating states levied a weight-distance tax against truckers based on the miles traveled within those states and the tonnage of the freight being hauled. Companies participating in the program feared that they would be subject to a higher level of enforcement than their non-participating competitors, who would find it much easier to evade the taxes. Also, organizers wondered, how would such a system – dependent upon truckers voluntarily enrolling and allowing themselves to be put under a microscope – create and continue to maintain a balance between safety and efficiency?
The answer was to create an objective third-party entity – the non-profit 501(c)(3) HELP Inc., managed by a public/private Board of Directors and a professional staff – to provide the objectivity and strict adherence to standards of safe and efficient operation. Today, HELP Inc. is known as PrePass Safety Alliance.
PrePass Safety Alliance’s primary mission is the improvement of truck safety throughout North America through policies that also promote efficiencies within the motor carrier industry. These policies are developed by a board of directors that includes an equal number of public officials and commercial trucking representatives. Working through its policy committees, The Alliance Board reviews and makes decisions on authorizing new PrePass sites; ensuring that carrier data used to e-screen and render the bypass decision remains private and secure; ensuring that The Alliance’s programs and services maintain a true balance between safety and efficiency; deciding whether to invest in new technologies or services for state partners and motor carrier customers; and a host of other decisions that affect the safe operation of commercial vehicles throughout North America.
Any carrier can voluntarily enroll and agree to be pre-screened for bypass. However, only carriers with good safety records and all credentials current will be authorized to bypass PrePass-equipped weigh stations, ports of entry, scale facilities and agricultural interdiction sites.
The data rules overseen by the Board of Directors require PrePass Safety Alliance to utilize only the most current, most accurate data sets to electronically screen carriers and determine their fitness to bypass. As a result, The Alliance not only checks standard data uploaded by participating states to SAFER (carrier records maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), but goes well beyond that. The Alliance regularly purchases data from states and provinces as it becomes available to acquire carrier data that states do not upload, utilizing both electronic and manual processes, if necessary, to ensure that only the most current data goes into the bypass decision.
No. The data upon which PrePass Safety Alliance’s electronic technology bases its bypass decision is the carrier’s data and, once it is aggregated into the PrePass Credentialing Database, is subject to The Alliance’s data privacy rules. If a vehicle receives a red light and the driver is instructed to pull in for further action, the officer at the site can review the data on that vehicle/carrier to determine whether additional enforcement is required. The Alliance also does not time or date stamp bypasses or toll transactions, and all carrier PrePass transaction data is automatically purged after 90 days.
PrePass Safety Alliance is authorized and obligated to report carrier data to a state or federal enforcement agency when a vehicle/driver is the subject of a criminal investigation, when there is sufficient probable cause to believe a vehicle/driver is carrying drugs or other contraband, when a vehicle/driver is involved in a hit-and-run and other such instances. The Alliance’s Data Committee and Board of Directors continually review data privacy laws and rulings to ensure that its actions protect individual privacy while supporting critical enforcement actions.
PrePass Safety Alliance’s data privacy policies, along with federal and state privacy regulations, prevent the collection and dissemination by The Alliance of any driver’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
PrePass Safety Alliance deploys PrePass services at no cost to the states. Since 1993, The Alliance has invested more than $759 million in private capital to develop, maintain and continuously improve PrePass sites and technology and provide a superior customer service experience to our large customer base. As of May 2019, PrePass customers may bypass at more than 390 operational sites in the United States and Canada, with additional sites in development.
Without exception, our customers tell us the biggest benefit is the time saved by being able to bypass scales and inspection facilities. Both federal government and academic studies peg the minimum cost of pulling into a weigh-station or scale at $8.68, and that’s just for static weighing or a credential check. In today’s operating environment just a few minutes out of operation can make the difference between getting home or spending mandated time off in a sleeper berth. Bypassing weigh stations also saves fuel, reduces wear and tear on the truck, and provides both environmental and congestion-mitigation benefits.