2021 State Certifications for Pilot Cars & Escort Vehicles. Which states require pilot car certification?
Some states require pilot car and escort vehicle drivers to be certified operators before operating within their jurisdictions. If you are considering operating a oversize load truck escorting service you will be required to have certain “certifications” in each of the following states. For details on each of the states requirements as of 2021 this is a great place to start your research.
Arizona – Colorado – Florida – Georgia – Louisiana – Minnesota – Nevada – New Mexico – New York – Oklahoma – Virginia – Washington
The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASTO) in conjunction with the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration released the National Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, specifically chapter 6(F) which applies to pilot cars and escort vehicles (also see; pilot car_and escort_best_practices_guidelines). Any escort vehicle or pilot car vehicle shall carry the following equipment items at all times when escorting a over dimensional, heavy haul or otherwise extra-legal shipment.
1. One two-way electronic communication device which enables the pilot car or escort to communicate directly with the driver of the extralegal shipment.
2. One 105 pound fire extinguisher or to 5 pound fire extinguishers.
3. One stop go paddle sign reflective for night movement no less than 18 inches across or tall with letters no less than 6 inches in height.
4. One night reflective safety orange vest shirt or jacket.
5. One handheld red flag no less than 18 inches square.
6. To oversize load banners that are yellow with black lettering (no minimum size specified. See below or state laws for state(s) working in.
7. One hardhat.
8. Three reflective triangles or 18 inch traffic cones.
We do strongly suggest any individual or company operating as a pilot car or escort vehicle be outfitted with the minimum requirements. For your convenience see the list below, or you may visit our pages on “Starting a new pilot car company“.
- 1 professional mileage book with room for notations and 1 journal book. Keep good logs and summary daily.
- 5 – 36″ orange road cones with two strips of safety reflective tape at the top.
- 5 – 12″ orange road cones (day use) with at least one safety reflective strip at top just in case (night use).
- 1 – safety colored yellow or orange reflective safety jacket and 2 reflective safety vests.
- 8 roadside reflective triangles no less than 16″ tall.
- 1 dozen up to date flammable safety road flares. Write expire date in your journal book for later reference.
- 4 red safety colored flags no less than 18″ square on 1/2″ wooden dowels.
- 2 yellow signs reading “Oversize Load” no less than 12″ tall x 5′ wide with lettering 10″ tall and 1 5/8″ thick.
- 1 – 2-way radio. We suggest a high quality CB radio with very high quality antenna.
- 2 fire extinguishers. 1 – 2.5 lb and 1 – 5 lb dry chemical type or higher rating.
- 1 safety colored red or fluorescent hard hat with reflective safety tape.
- 1 very good all inclusive first aid kit. The more you spend the better. Familiarize yourself with everything.
- Stop/Slow safety paddle sign no less that 24″ the same shape as a stop sign with a 5′ handle.
- 2 flashlights that run on a minimum of 2 DC batteries with extra batteries.
- 1 heavy duty set of jumper cables. The best pair you can buy.
- 1 jump box with charge meter indicating level of charge. A jump box is an external battery used for starting vehicles.
- Chains for all 4 wheels of your vehicle for snow covered passes or iced roads.
- 2 two way radios fully charged with 2 fully charged batteries.
- 1 GPS with good up to date quality mapping software that allows you to create way-points and also a good USA road atlas.
If you approach a state such as Louisiana, New Mexico or Utah which require pilot cars to stop and pay for a inspection at the port or entry (prior to leading or chasing a load) and you don’t have the minimum tools listed above, wave goodbye to your money and the permit as you’ll be denied and rightly so. A pilot cars primary duty is to ensure the safety of the motorists. If you don’t have the basic tools required then you’re not deemed safe to operate in the capacity of a pilot car. Below we will cover the specific details required by pilot car companies in order to become certified in the states that have certification requirements.
Details of State Certifications required for Pilot Cars. Which states require pilot car certification?
Some states may not have a state endorsed certification program. We noted recently we could not locate one in NM. If you’re having trouble locating one check in one of your neighboring states. Community colleges are a excellent place to start as it’s much cheaper than private certification. Also note whatever class you take is only going to teach you the requirements required by that particular state.
If you are researching and looking for a list of the states that require specific pilot car certifications you have found it. Below is the list of each state requiring special certification for pilot cars and escort vehicles as well as some details about the type of certifications that are required, where to obtain them, fees, etc. Please feel free to add any comments to share with others at the bottom of this page.
The state of Arizona does not observe daylight savings time. Arizona pilot car certification: the state of Arizona says that pilot car companies or escort vehicles must maintain a certificate of certification that verifies the pilot car and operator successfully completed a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) program. Arizona does recognize equivalency programs completed in other states however the pilot car or escort vehicle operator must file an application in order to operate within Arizona State jurisdictions. For more information contact the Arizona motor vehicles division at phone number: 602-771-2960 located at 1225 N. 25th Ave., Phoenix, AR 85009. Office hours are from 8 AM until 5 PM mountain time Monday through Friday. You can read more about the Arizona pilot car regulations, requirements, permits, etc. on our regulations pages.
The state of Colorado requires that pilot car or escort company operators have a Colorado State Certification card when working with in the Colorado state jurisdiction. Colorado does recognize certificates received from other states such as Florida, Oklahoma, Washington or Utah as well as the SC&RA. If you do not have any other state certificate endorsements you may contact RSA Network, Inc. by phone at: 801–838–8199 to inquire about testing for your Colorado State Certification. For more information about Colorado regulations, requirements, permits, etc. visit our regulations pages.
The state of Florida requires that pilot car or escort companies operators have to have Florida State certification or FDOT authorization. The state of Florida does recognize programs completed bike pilot car drivers from the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. In order to legally operate in the capacity of a pilot car or escort vehicle driver/company, you must obtain a certificate of completion by the Florida Department of Transportation pilot/escort training class. This class is offered by the Florida technology transfer Center. Inquiries by phone: 352-392-2371 or e-mail: email@example.com. One portion of the Florida State Law requires successful completion of a National Safety Council 8 hour defensive driving course qualified by the state of Florida (or equivalent) by one of the above listed states as the same. So if you have already completed a similar course your credit may be transferable. Re-qualification is required every 4 years and this can also be done by contacting the University of Florida, PO Box 116587 Gainesville, FL 32611-6587. You can read more about the Florida pilot car regulations, requirements, permits, etc. on our regulations pages.
The state of Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) requires pilot car or escort company operators to complete the Certified Escort Vehicle Program. In addition to this you are required to have a “amber light permit” when operating a pilot car or escort vehicle within Georgia state lines. If you obtain a “amber light permit” AND have completed a pilot car and/or escort vehicle certification program through any of the following states: Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Utah or Arizona you will more than likely be approved with proof of completion. The Georgia DOT also reciprocates directly with North Carolina, Florida and Oklahoma pilot car certification programs. If you have any questions for the Georgia Oversize Permit Unit you may contact them directly by phone: 888-262-8306. You can also read more about the Georgia state pilot car regulations, requirements, permits, etc. on our regulations pages.
All escort and pilot car operators who wish to travel through or work in the state of Louisiana are required to obtain a Louisiana Approved Escort Vehicle Permit. Escort vehicle operators and pilot car company operators can obtain a Louisiana state escort vehicle permit at Louisiana weigh stations. These permits can also be obtained online at www.dotd.la.gov. Look for the quick links section on the right-hand side of the webpage and click on truck permits. Once you’ve reached the permitting electronic routing bridge analysis selection then select submit application for annual permits and will get a list of annual permits on that page. The escort and pilot car vehicle permit portion will give you two options for submitting the application. You can submit it online or print the PDF form and fax the completed application to the truck permit office at: 225-377-7154. Any questions you may have pertaining to escort vehicle and/or pilot car driving permits and be addressed by calling: 800-654-1433 or 225-434-2345 and selecting option 1. You can also read more about the Lousiana state pilot car regulations, requirements, permits, etc. on our regulations pages.
All escort vehicle and pilot car operators who wish to travel or work in the state of Minnesota are required to be certified. The good old state of Minnesota has two different types of escorts. Civilian escorts and peace officers. Learn the difference between the two. The state of Minnesota recognizes escort vehicle and pilot car operator certifications from the following states Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington state. Currently Minnesota requires drivers of pilot cars and escort vehicles to hold a current Minnesota State patrol certification. When working within this state all pilot car companies and escort vehicle operators must travel with a copy of their certification. If you are a escort vehicle or pilot car operator with certification already in the state of Colorado Florida North Carolina Oklahoma Utah or Washington you will be allowed to escort over dimensional loads within the state of Minnesota however you must have Minnesota insurance for the vehicle the driver the signage delighting and all safety equipment requirements must be met. For more information you can contact Erik Gohl at: 952-995-1346 fax: 952-995-1331 or visit their website: www.hennepintech.edu/cts/pages/1233 who is the pilot car and escort driver class administrator at Hennepin Technical College, customized training services located at: 13100 College View Dr., Eden Prairie, MN 55347. You can also read more about the Minnesota state pilot car regulations, requirements and permits on our regulations page.
All pilot car operators and escort vehicles who wish to work in the state of Nevada must be certified and also obtain a amber light permit. At the time of this writing (May 16, 2018) the state of Nevada Department of Transportation does not have any particular specific certification program for pilot cars. However they do have in place a rather lengthy amber light law. We would strongly suggest that anyone considering escorting loads through the state of Nevada obtain certification in another state with stringent laws such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida or Oklahoma. You will still need a amber light permit to operate a escort vehicle or pilot car with in Nevada state jurisdiction. The amber light law basically states that it is unlawful for any person to mount a flashing amber warning light on the top of the vehicle without a permit from the Nevada Highway Patrol. The Nevada Highway Patrol will issue a permit to mount amber flashing lights on a vehicle upon written request. We suggest that readers such as yourself read our regulations page for the state of Nevada in order to research amber light specs such as how many times it flashes per minute and the distance its visible from. In addition to the amber light law if you anticipate stopping or slowing traffic you must comply to the stringent laws of Nevada state flagman. If it is necessary to warrant approaching traffic, each flagman must be wearing a solid florescent yellow or green material jacket or vest and equipped with a red flag and paddle readings stop in white letters with a red background. The sign must be a standard 18 inch two-sided stop and slow sign and be attached to a 5 foot pole. For further clarification on other items required please see our regulations page for trucks pilot cars and escort vehicles operating within Nevada state jurisdiction.
- New Mexico.
All pilot car and escort vehicle operators working with in the state of New Mexico need to be inspected at the port of entry for a New Mexico certification inspection. You are required to approach the port of entry before any load you may be escorting reaches any scale house upon entry. Once pilot car or escort vehicle operators pull into the New Mexico port of entry you are subject to inspection. The officer conducting the inspection will require you to have two amber lights, oversize escort signs, a two-way radio, fire extinguisher, to outside rear view mirrors, the condition of the tires, three red flares and or reflectors, oversize escort signs and to florescent orange or red flags 12 inch in size or larger as well as a safety jacket and/or vest with a hardhat. The vehicle requirements are a minimum of 100 inch wheelbase, vehicle maximum capacity of 1 1/2 tons, a valid current drivers license and the terms of your insurance policy. Basically, you can expect a full on roadside intensive and thorough review of your vehicle and its equipment. For specific clarifications on vehicle specifications escort vehicle and pilot car operators should refer to our New Mexico state regulations page.
- New York.
All pilot car and escort vehicle operators who intend to work within the state of New York must be New York State certified. To be certified as a escort or pilot car driver it is mandatory for all drivers as well as any persons acting as a flag person who intend on escorting oversize loads on the roads and highways within the state of New York regardless of where they reside obtain New York state certification. From the best of our knowledge no previous certification programs you may have completed will be accepted, credited or otherwise considered. For a list of New York Department of motor vehicle testing locations call 518-486-9748. For more information on getting certified or obtaining the New York certification manual you can call 418-457-1155 or 800-783-1685. We suggest also reading our New York state pilot car regulations, requirements, permits, etc. on our regulations pages.
All escort vehicles and pilot car operators who intend on working within the state of Oklahoma must be Oklahoma certified. The state of Oklahoma Department of Public Safety does recognize certifications and other states that do have a reciprocal agreement with the state of Oklahoma however if the operator of the pilot car or escort vehicle is a Oklahoma State resident they must have Oklahoma certification. The first order of business when operating a pilot car or escort vehicle within the state of Oklahoma is the certificate of insurance. Escort vehicle and pilot car vehicle operators must provide not less than $1 million of combined single limit or per occurrence or both of commercial liability coverage. Your insurance policy must protect the public against loss of life, bodily injury to persons and damage to property or bowls as a result of operating a escort vehicle or pilot car, or of the actions of the escort or pilot car vehicle operator or both. The state of Oklahoma will need to be listed as a certificate holder on your insurance certificate. In order to obtain your certificate from the department of public safety you will be required to take the course and the examination offered by the Oklahoma State University, phone 405-744-6049. The term of this certificate shall be for a maximum period of five years and will expire automatically after the date it was issued you can obtain more information on the certification training program by visiting: www.clgtokstate.com/escort.htm or for more information about pilot car and escort vehicle specifications please visit our Oklahoma state regulations page.
All pilot car operators and escort vehicle drivers who intend on operating within the state of Utah must be certified and inspected at the Utah Port of Entry. Pilot car and escort vehicle operators who wish to obtain a authorized certification card may do so by participating in a authorized qualified certification program. A list of authorized instructors can be obtained by calling 801-965-4892. Pilot car and escort company drivers that live outside of Utah may operate as a certified pilot car or escort driver with another State certification credentials provided that the course meets the minimum requirements outlined in the Utah pilot car and escort vehicle training manual the department may decide to enter into a reciprocal agreement with other states provided these other states can demonstrate that their course materials are comprehensive and meet the minimum requirements outlined by the Utah Department of Transportation. Such agreements already exist with the Utah Department of Transportation recognizing the states of Washington, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma and the state of Florida. Any pilot car or escort driver certifications expires four years from the date the certificate was issued and it is is the responsibility of the driver to maintain current certification as well as a minimum amount of insurance coverage of $750,000 for liability insurance. Upon entering the jurisdiction within the state of Utah it is strongly advised that you have a certificate of completion that is valid and current with any of the above mentioned states. You are required to stop at the port of entry when entering Utah state jurisdiction. For more detailed information about Utah state pilot car and escort vehicle requirements please visit our regulations page.
The state of Virginia does require that all pilot car and escort vehicle operators be certified prior to performing the duties of a oversize or overweight load pilot or escort vehicle operator within the Virginia state jurisdiction. The state or Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does recognize certification programs completed by applicants from the following states: Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington however you must still apply for escort/pilot car operator certification from the Virginia DMV. It is important for pilot car and escort vehicle operators to be aware they are required to carry their certification document from the state of Virginia with them while escorting any type of oversize or overweight vehicle configurations. You must have a valid drivers license as well. If you are requested by law enforcement or the Department of Transportation enforcement officials you must provide them with certificate program completion documentation. Failure to do so while escorting or piloting in oversize configuration will cause the shipment to be delayed until the appropriate documents are in place or another company with documentation replaces you. For more detailed information about Virginia state pilot car and escort vehicle requirements please visit our regulations page.
2020 State Certifications for Pilot Cars & Escort Vehicles update is the state of Washington. You must be WA state certified in able to operate. The state of Washington Department of Transportation does require pilot car and escort vehicle operators to be certified by them. They recognize programs and certificates from the states of Utah, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Colorado however pilot car and escort vehicle operators who desire to operate withing the state of Washington’s jurisdiction must be issued a official Washington state certificate. You can contact pilot/escort, flagging instructor Michael Blackman at: 509-684-7632 or contact the Washington state Pilot Escort official Jim Wright at: 360-704-6345 or you may visit the official state information page at: www.wsdot.wa.gov/commercialvehicle/ If you would like more detailed information about Washington state regulations, requirements, permits, etc visit our regulations page.
State requirements for pilot cars and escort vehicles change from time to time.
It should be noted that state requirements for pilot cars and escort vehicles do change from time to time. The purpose of this page is to provide you with updated information that includes the rules and regulations of the states that do require pilot car drivers and escort vehicle drivers to have special certifications. It should be noted this page was written as a basic guide for pilot car companies and escort vehicle operators to use when researching which states do require certification. We strongly suggest if you are considering operating and any state under the capacity of a pilot car or escort that each state you intend on working in be contacted directly by you before entering that state. Also, in addition to state certifications and requirements always refer to the instructions on the actual permit issued from the state for that particular over dimensional or heavy haul load. The permit should list all responsibilities and detail as well as clarify any additional questions you may have during transit. In closing, remember as a escort vehicle driver or pilot car operator your number one job is public safety.