The answer is complicated, depending on where the load is bound, and the size of the load. It can be confusing due to the different rules and regulations within each state. In general, a permit will be required anywhere across the U.S. if the load exceeds 8.5 ft. in width, 12.5 to 14.5 ft. in height, or 48 to 53 ft. in length.
Drivers can expect to need a permit for loads encompassing industrial equipment, cranes, and tractors. Permits will also be required for pre-fabricated homes and a variety of specialty items. Depending on the state, special flags or banners, lights and escort vehicles may also be a requirement.
There are federal rules that drivers must adhere to in addition to local laws. The first step is to determine the states, counties, and cities the load will be passing through. There may also be weight limit differences from state to state. All of those variables are extremely important, when drivers must cross bridges, go under overpasses, and drive on certain roads. The way the weight is distributed on the trailer will also affect the load.
In today’s modernized heavy hauler industry, drivers typically don’t have to pull their own permits – the trucking company will do it but permits are required. The company will have a logistics department that’s knowledgeable in those issues and rules in different states. Different states may also have different guidelines as to how drivers obtain the needed permits, employ banners and lights, the number of escort vehicles, and even the hours of the day that drivers can legally operate the rig.
The wide range of state laws, combined with those of the Federal Department of Transportation, can be extremely confusing. All the laws are designed to facilitate the efficient movement of all types of cargo, preserve roadways, and ensure safety for trucks and the thousands of passenger vehicles that share the road with heavy haulers.
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