The History of WSP’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau
Welcome to 2023. I am Lieutenant Tim Coley of the Commercial Vehicle Division, and each week over the course of this year I hope to share with you information about how the WSP conducts enforcement and works to promote safety for commercial vehicle traffic in a variety of ways.
Not long after the inception of the Washington State Patrol in 1921, the agency realized the need for officers to help protect the infrastructure of our state highways through commercial vehicle regulation and enforcement. Scale houses were built across the state to conduct weighing operations and vehicle inspections to help ensure the safe movement of cargo alongside passenger vehicle traffic. Over several decades, these “weigh masters” became commercial vehicle enforcement officers. Just as you might see on the roadside today or at one of our scale facilities or ports of entry, Washington State Patrol Commercial Vehicle Officers and Troopers continue to conduct inspections and weighing of commercial vehicles—although they are now aided by a variety of tools to help better locate those trucks that are most unsafe (more on that over the course of 2023).
While these officers have been located in various parts of the agency, they are currently either in two specific divisions: the Commercial Vehicle Division (CVD) and the Motor Carrier Safety Division (MCSD). CVD mirrors the eight geographic districts across the state in the way personnel are assigned, and generally operates smaller scale houses and conducts roadside stops. The division also has a contingent of troopers who help regulate the towing and wrecking industry. MCSD operates the Ports of Entry around the state: Ridgefield, Bow Hill, Plymouth, Spokane, and Cle Elum. The division also operates the New Entrant and Compliance Review programs in conjunction with federal partners, and school bus inspections in conjunction with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Inspection.
Over the course of the year we will take a closer look at each and every one of these areas of operation more closely, as well as answer some of the most common questions we receive here at headquarters from the motoring public.
For more information about commercial vehicles in Washington, please do check out our portion of the WSP website.