Desert Hills (Banning) Weigh Station Information
Phone: Premium Content
PrePass: yes WIM
Parking: There is a truck stop at Cabazon exit and also casino at Apache trail exit east of the scales. There is also a Pilot truck stop at Indian Ave exit east of the Banning weigh station. There is a rest area west of the scales at callbox 10-382. (Thanks, Russellmania, for the correction!)
Truckers know this weigh station as Banning, but the true name of this truck scale is Desert Hills Weigh Station. It even says so on the sign on the building.
Banning used to have a number of outdoor inspection bays to pull truckers into for vehicle inspections. During 2006, however, they constructed a large, double-bay indoor inspection building.
Banning has got to be one of the most nerve-wracking weigh stations in the country. Any trucker who has to sit in line waiting to cross the scales has plenty of time to wonder if they’re going to pick his truck to inspect. Not that there’s anything wrong with his truck, mind you- it’s just that you have anywhere from 5-15 minutes of slowly idling your truck forward to think about it.
It is also widely rumored that the Banning weigh station sells t-shirts and mugs that read “I survived Banning.” They no longer sell the t-shirts. “I survived Banning” products used to be sold at the Banning scale as part of a police club in order to raise money- they were never sold to benefit the weigh station.
Truckers who are looking for a safe place to park should consider parking at the Banning weigh station. There is no official policy, but the consensus among most of the officers at the Banning truck scale is that they would rather have drivers park to rest at the weigh station than have tired drivers on the roadway. If you do want to park, you’ll want to cross the scale, park, and go inside to inform the officers that you’d like to take your break. That way they will know that your truck is not “unattended.” Unattended trucks have a 4-hour time limit after which the truck will be towed.
As you head west through the desert toward Palm Springs, you’ll come to a steep down grade that will bring you down into Coachella a good ways east of the Banning scale. There are several casinos through this stretch where you can stop and play the slots or the table games. You’ll then pass through the Palm Springs area where the gardeners tend to some lushly landscaped laws on golf courses and private residences in gated communities.
As you’re driving past the casinos and truck stops toward the Banning scale, you’ll begin to wonder how much further you have. When you start coming through the windmill farm, you’ll be getting closer. At that point you will be on an uphill grade that is deceptive- it doesn’t look like you’re going uphill. You may loose your momentum before you realize it and need to drop a gear. When you get to the Banning truck scale, you may be lucky enough to have the sign over the freeway turn to SCALE CLOSED DO NOT ENTER from ALL TRUCKS ENTER SCALE. Banning will change it when the ramp is full, it’s just that sometimes they wait until it’s really, really full, so you can’t count on just driving slowly and letting all the Chicken Truckers fill up the ramp in front of you.
In the old days, or so rumor has it, Banning inspection officers were known to create ticketable offenses. A truck in good working order was rumored to pull into an inspection bay and by the time the inspector was done, his brakes were out of adjustment. The story goes that the Feds got wind of this and did a sort of sting operation involving cameras under the trailers. We don’t know if the rumor is true, but it sure makes for a good trucker story!