FDOT installs cameras to catch semis skirting weigh stations on I-75

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. —

The Florida Department of Transportation has its eye on Interstate 75, looking for overloaded tractor-trailers.

The state is installing a system of cameras to catch truckers who try to skirt the weigh stations.

FDOT said one semitruck hauling the legal limit of 80,000 pounds is equal to 25,000 cars driving over the same spot. And officials said an over-the-limit 100,000-pound 18-wheeler has the impact of 65,000 cars.

But cameras are recording trucks along I-75 in Marion County at one of the southbound exit ramps.

"It's actually a good idea," said truck driver Wesley Dowda.

"There's some interesting math involved, but the bottom line is overloaded vehicles put a lot of wear and tear on the roads," said Steve Olson of FDOT.

Officials said too many trucks are over the 80,000-pound limit, and are wrecking the highways.

On one section of I-75, some truckers dive down the Belleview exit to avoid the weigh station, so the state put up the cameras.

Those cameras cover every angle, and a photo is taken of every semi that drives by.

"There's information on the door, the U.S. DOT numbers, there's license plate information, there's information on the trailer, so basically, you record all of that and that's documented," said Olson.

The photos are paired with sensors in the asphalt that record the semi's weight. Statewide, FDOT will spend $6 million on similar setups.

"But look at the millions of dollars that we have to spend on road repaving projects or just infrastructure improvements," said Olson.

Dowda said the cameras can help keep more companies in line.

"The people that load us, yeah, they know, and they don't care," he said.