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2018 Texas State Shipping Regulations

2018 Texas state shipping laws, rules, regulations and limitations for oversize and heavy-haul trucking permits. Pilot car requirements.

Texas oversize and overweight shipping regulations and DOT trucking permit limitations.

The great state of Texas official seal.

Texas heavy-haul trucking permit information.
Texas oversize trucking permits information.
Texas pilot car and escort vehicle requirements.

Locate oversize, heavy-haul trucking companies and pilot cars.

Texas oversize, heavy-haul trucking and pilot car companies for hire:

Texas pilot car company directory.
Texas heavy-haul trucking company directory.


Do I need a trucking permit? Legal load limits.

Texas maximum load limits until a trucking permit is required:

Legal Loads:
Length: Trailer length maximum is 59 feet. Overall length is 65 feet.
Width: 8 feet and 6 inches wide max.
Height: 14 feet tall max.
Weight: 80,000 pounds overall GVW, 20,000 pounds on single axles, 34,000 pounds on tandem axles and 42,000 pounds on tridem axles.
Overhang: 4 feet in the rear and 2 feet in the front maximum.

Routine oversize and heavy-haul trucking permits.

These maximum dimensions/weights are considered routine oversize or heavy-haul trucking permits in Texas:

Length: up to 180 feet long or see superload section.
Width:  20 feet wide on “routine” permits (Go Texas!) however only 16 feet wide on the interstates.
Height: again Texas has it all together with the height set at 18 feet and 11 inches maximum for routine oversize trucking permits. Anything over this height is going to require a route survey.
Weight: up to 240,000 pounds for routine heavy haul trucking permits however if the shipment is in excess of 200,000 pounds with less that 95 feet of axle spacings you will have to apply for a heavy haul superload trucking permit. On single axles: 25,000 pounds. Tandem axles: 46,000 pounds. Tridum axles: 60,000 pounds and quadem axles: 63,000 pounds (confirmed May 31, 2018). 5 axles 73,260 pounds. Trunnion axles 54,000 pounds. On restricted routes: Single: 22,500 pounds, tandem: 41,400 pounds, tridum: 54,000 pounds, quad: 63,000 pounds, 5 axles 73,260 pounds, trunnion: 54,000 pounds. 5 axels gross weight 105,000, 6 axels: 119,000, 7 axles: 129,000 lbs, 8 axles depends on your axle configurations.
Overhang: Go again Texas DOT!  Front overhang is 25′ and rear overhang is 30′ in length for routine Texas oversize trucking permits.  Nice job folks!
Notes: If over 125 feet in length, 20 feet wide or 18 feet and 11 inches tall you will be required to have a route inspection. A flatbed trailer can not be used for a shipment that is considered a “wideload” and a “over-height” load. Your permit will be rejected and you will loose your payment. If a shipment has 2 different oversize dimensions (ie; long and wide or wide and tall), then it automatically will be required to have 2 pilot cars or escort vehicles.

Texas superloads.

To keep this simple any shipment that exceeds the above dimensions/weights in the “Routine” section above will more thank likely be classified as a superload shipment in the state of Texas. Superload permits issued in the state of Texas usually take at minimum 2 weeks time to be approved.

Legal travel times for oversize and heavy-haul loads.

Travel times and restrictions for heavy-haul and oversize loads:

One half hour before sunrise and one half hour after sunset is considered daylight time. Night time travel is permitted in the state of Texas if the shipment is less than 100 feet long or 10 wide on the Interstate highways only. If the shipment is ONLY overweight it may travel at night on any roads.  Weekend travel is permitted.  You can travel on some holidays but there are some limits;  if the length is in excess of 110′ long, height is in excess of 16′ or width is excess of 14′ you may NOT travel on the following holidays: New Years day, Memorial day, Independence day, Labor day, Thanksgiving day and Christmas day.  The Texas state DOT permit office is closed on these days as well.  Texas does have quite a few travel time curfews in high density traffic areas so be sure to refer to your permit. These typically range from 6-9 am and 3-6 pm (example only).  Each permit issued by the Texas DOT will specifically state exactly what the curfew law is. No Texas state heavy haul or oversize trucking permit is valid without the specific curfew restrictions attached to it.

Lights, safety flags and warning signs for heavy haul and oversize loads.

Required marking, safety flags, warning signs for heavy haul and oversize loads:

When transporting heavy haul and oversize loads the tractor trailer unit must have their low beam headlights turned on at all times. Any shipment that extends from either side of the actual trailer width requires red or orange florescent warning flags that are no less than 16 inches square as well as red lights/lamps. If you are transporting anything that has rear overhang in excess of 4 feet from the rear of the trailer you will be required to place two red lamps at each rear extreme corner. Red lights must be visible from a minimum distance of 500 feet. Any shipment over 8 feet and 6 inches wide will require a strobe and red lighting is addition or warning flags. Trucks must have either 1 strobing amber light with a minimum base size of 8 inches or 2 simultaneous flashing amber lights mounted on the roof of power unit. Signs must be applicable to the shipment being moved such as “oversize load”, “long load”, etc. Signs must be a minimum of 5 feet in width but no wider than 7 feet with a yellow background and black letters a minimum of 8 inches tall.

When pilot cars or escort vehciles are required.

Heavy-haul or oversize loads may be required to be accompanies by a escort vehicle or pilot car if:

Length: If shipment is over 110′ in length and up to 125′ you will need 1 pilot car in the rear.  Over 125′ in length requires 1 pilot car or escort vehicle in the front and 1 on the rear.
Width: Shipments 14 feet to 16 feet wide will require 1 pilot car vehicle in front on a 2 lane road and 1 on the rear on a 4 lane road.  If shipment is in excess of 16 feet, 1 front and 1 rear pilot car or escort vehicle will be required on all shipments on all roads and highways.
Height: If height of load exceeds 17′ a front high pole car is required. If the shipment is over 18′ in height you will be required to have 1 high pole and 1 rear escort.
Weight: If the shipment is able to maintain minimum speeds no escort vehicle is required.
Overhang: Front overhang up to 20 feet on some 2 land roads will require 1 pilot car or escort vehicle in the front.  On a 4 lane front overhang up to 25 feet requires 1 pilot car (escort) on the rear.  Rear overhang; over 20 feet but not more than 30 feet requires one pilot car (escort) on the rear of shipment. If over 30 feet of overhang 2 pilot cars or escort vehicles will be required and you will need to get special approval for the permit to be issued.

Pilot cars/escort vehicle certifications and requirements.

Pilot car or escort vehicle mandatory operator certifications and vehicle requirements:

At the date of this publish (06/20/18) there are no certifications required by the state of Texas for pilot car or escort vehicle operators. Vehicle requirements: All pilot cars/escort vehicles must display either both bumpers or 1 roof mounted “OVERSIZE LOAD” or “WIDELOAD” sign (which ever is applicable) visible from both the front and rear of the vehicle and only displayed while working. Sign must be at least 5′ long but no greater than 7′ and 12″ in height but no greater than 18″ in height, yellow in color with black letters no less than 8″ in height but no more than 10″ in height and lettering must be a minimum of 1.4″ in width.  Vehicle must be equipped with 2 horizontally mounted rotating (if rotating 8″ base is required) (or strobe) amber colored flashing or strobe light which must be visible from a 360 degree angle from a minimum of 500 feet. Vehicles must be equipped with a CB radio or 2-way communication device and be in constant communication with all parties assigned to the movement.

It is only our express opinion that pilot cars also have a minimum of the additional items but not required:  2 – 5 pound fire extinguishers type A, B and C, a paddle sign with the word “STOP” on one side and “SLOW” on the other with dimensions of no less than 18″ in diameter with a minimum of 6″ letters. A red safety colored flag with a handle no less than 18″ square, 3 reflective emergency road triangles or 18″ traffic cones, 8 burning road flares, 2 OVERSIZE LOAD banners (yellow with black lettering) and a safety colored (red, orange, yellow or lime green) vest, jacket or shirt (used while directing traffic).

Texas DOT contact information and notes.

Texas DOT office and permit contact information:

Physical address:
Texas State Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Division
125 East 11th Street
Austin, TX  78701

EmailSizeWeight@txdmv.gov
Help telephone line: 800-299-1700 – option 1 or 5.
Hours: Monday – Friday 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM  and Saturday’s from 6 AM until 2 PM.
Central Time Zone

Texas road & highway conditions.

Click here for the Texas state DOT website for oversize and over-weight hauling permits.

Texas cities serviced.

Additional info on oversize/weight loads.

 

The information contained in these pages is research information primarily for use by oversize and heavy-haul trucking company drivers, dispatchers and pilot car companies. While every effort is put into maintaining the accuracy of this information you must absolutely verify this information with the Texas State DOT Permits office before commencing any transport of oversize or heavy haul loads.
Texas oversize and overweight regulations for DOT trucking permits.

Texas official state flag.

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3 Comments
  1. Need to know the max legal weight for a 40′ ocean refer container

    • From my understanding it is 58,000 pounds on some but that all depends on what type of connex trailer it is, high cube, etc. Of course over the road transport will require you to reduce the weight since it is a “divisible load” to legal limits meaning the tractor and trailer combination with your shipment on it does not exceed 80,000 pounds.

  2. It in not just the trailer length. The maximum length of any single vehicle is 45′. The maximum length for any combination such as truck AND travel trailer, boat or towing is 65′ in length.

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