To increase efficiency, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) upgraded its weighbridge station systems along the northern corridor.
Mobile weighing scales, also known as mobile dynamic axle weighing systems, are new devices that have hit the market, assisting drivers in adjusting to KeNHA guidelines.
Laid flat on the ground before a truck is driven on top, the scales measure a vehicle's weight and load distribution.
Lately, drivers of heavy trucks have shown interest in buying them because the devices help them to pass police crackdowns targeting overloaded trucks.
These devices enable drivers to comply with traffic laws and regulations.
According to the Traffic Act, the maximum axle load for trucks with a single steering axle and two wheels is eight tonnes. Single-axle trucks with four pairs of dual tyres cannot exceed ten tonnes.
Tandem axle group trucks with eight sets of dual tyres are required to carry 16 tonnes, while the maximum weight for triple axle group trucks with twelve sets of dual tyres is 24 tonnes.
With mobile dynamic axle weighing systems, drivers ensure the trucks are not overloaded.
The device prevents drivers from being fined harshly by KeNHA and other road agencies.
According to the highways authority, there are fines for the first conviction and additional fines for the second and subsequent sentencing. The fines range from a minimum of Ksh5,000 to Ksh400,000, depending on the number and severity of the violations.
For example, if there is an overloaded axle or excess gross vehicle weight by less than 1,000 kilograms, the fine for the first conviction is Ksh5,000 and Ksh10,000 for the second one.
In cases of an overloaded axle or excess weight of 10 tonnes or more, the fine for the first conviction is Ksh200,000 and Ksh400,000 for the second.
The weighing systems are portable and lightweight. This means they can be carried, stored in the truck, and used along the journey.
Trucks can be measured severally along the journey, even as it loads and offloads cargo.
“It can be installed and uninstalled on the ground by a single person in less than 20 minutes.
“The modular levelling tracks made of high-strength composite polymer, are designed to be light, strong, easily transportable and to take up minimum space when stored rolled up,” explained Systratec, a mobile weighing system manufacturer.
On January 24, 2023, KeNHA announced Ksh45 million fines to prohibit truck drivers from tampering with axle loads and prevent roads from being destroyed by heavy trucks.
KeNHA's Senior Manager of Axle Load Enforcement, Kennedy Ndungire, also warned that some truck drivers were employing tricks to bypass weighing systems at weighbridges.
"They are destroying a section of the road which is an expensive asset.
"Some tamper with the axle after passing through Mariakani weighbridge and only adjust it at Athi River," he lamented.