Do you have a shipment but not sure what size is considered oversize? Not sure who to call or what to do? Well no need to look any further!
There are many rules and regulations involved with transporting over-dimensional loads that many people may not know. Material is considered an oversize (over-dimensional) shipment when the dimensions transcends the standard legal size and/or weight. Axle limits are included per load; however, if the load exceeds the axle limits but not the total weight limit then the shipment would not be considered over-dimensional. At this point, the driver would need to have the material shifted to get to legal axle limits. There are many products deemed as oversize/overweight and some examples are; farm equipment (i.e. combines, tractors, etc), construction equipment (i.e. bulldozers, cranes, beams, steel, etc), and pre-assembled homes.
Most oversize/overweight shipments generally need special permits and/or pilot cars (escorts) adding more freight costs to legally transport the shipment on roadways. Prior to a truck driver loading an oversize/overweight shipment those special permits must be ordered from the Department of Transportation (DOT) in each state or from a permit company. When a customer needs to know the arrival day/date of the over-dimensional/overweight shipment in transit, PLEASE keep in mind the driver must abide by the rules and regulations enforced by the DOT. Truck drivers must have their Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations book in their trucks, at all times. Truck drivers are limited to the hours in a day he/she is allowed to drive, truck drivers must stop at each scale house/station in each state so paperwork can be verified, load can be inspected, and weight can be checked. Truck drivers are only allowed to transport the oversize/overweight shipment on the route approved by the DOT. The majority of Federal/State holidays will prevent a truck driver from transporting the oversize/overweight shipment as well, so you will need to keep that in mind too. Each country and its regions have different variances with legal dimensions and weights.
How do I know if my product is considered oversize? If your oversize/overweight shipment is being transported in the United States and over 8 feet 6 inches in width, then it is considered an over-dimensional load; any size over that will be over-dimensional. The wider the product is built could potentially require pilot cars (escorts) to be ordered, and depending on that width, police escorts may be needed as well. In my experience from working with over-dimensional loads, I have learned needing escorts for your oversize shipment is where most of the transportation cost comes into play. However, you will need to refer to your contracted transportation service provider and/or Department of Transportation for inquiries.
Can I ship multiple pieces that would cause the load to be over-dimensional (exceeding 8’6″ W)? No! In order for a shipment to be eligible for permits or legally transported domestically, the product must be considered “non divisible”, which means a piece that can not be broken down in to smaller pieces. In other words, if your shipment is 9 feet wide it must be one solid piece not multiple pieces making it 9 feet wide. If your shipment exceeds 8’6″ wide, permits must be ordered. Each states’ cost for permits are different and if a carrier uses a permit company (some states you will have to), and then the cost is more. Most companies will charge $50.00 to $100.00 per state depending on the type commodity being transported, the size of the load, and the weight.
Are truck drivers required to travel with markings on an oversize shipment? Yes! The size of the commodity being transported will determine if the truck driver should have signs and/or lights on their tractor and/or trailer. Typically, drivers are required to use red flags and amber lights so they are visible to others around them. If pilot cars are escorting an oversize shipment then they are required to have flags and/or lights as well. Markings on the truck drivers equipment and/or pilot cars is required by the Department of Transportation of that state in which the load is being transported.
When are escorts required for an oversize shipment? In the majority of the United States any shipment 12 feet wide or under will not require escorts unless DOT requires them to due to construction, detours, etc. Depending on the state, if your shipment is over 12 feet in width, escorts, will most likely be required. For instance, one state may only require a front or rear escort where other states may require both. The cost for escorts varies from one company to the other and is rated on a per mile basis; however, that rate is transportation cost only and does not include hotels, detention, etc. From what I have seen, most escort or pilot car companies will charge anywhere from $1.30 to $3.25 per mile based upon the situation and number of pilot cars involved.
Why are escorts needed when transporting oversize shipments? Escort drivers are there to assist and/or warn the truck driver of what is forthcoming, such as, oncoming traffic, low bridges, accidents, wires, other obstructions. Escort drivers are also there to aide in the safety of the truck driver surpassing slower vehicles or to bypass other obstacles. Most truck drivers and pilot car drivers communicate using a CB radio but if not, then they must be able to communicate through other voice related devices.
Are there drive time restrictions when transporting an oversize load? Yes! In most states, movement of an oversize shipment is allowed 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset-Monday through Friday. Driver may or may not be able to travel over the weekend-each state varies. There are holiday restrictions, which will prevent the truck driver from traveling with the over-dimensional shipment also. Certain cities have curfews preventing travel so truck drivers will need to find a truck stop and shut down until the curfew time has passed. Curfew could cause a truck driver to layover until the following morning, again, having to make sure he gets through the city before or after curfew begins. There are also certain bridges, mainly in the New England states, that have oversize load restrictions and could delay the truck driver as well. Many truck drivers with oversize transporting experience will carry some type of oversize and overweight book stating the rules and regulations. Truck drivers can usually find these pamphlets or pocketbooks at most truck stops across the USA.
If you have any other questions or concerns regarding over-sized loads or would like to schedule an over-sized load pick up, we suggest contacting a qualified over-dimensional carrier in your area.