2022 Ohio DOT State Shipping Laws, Regulations, Rules, and Limitations for Oversize and Heavy-haul Trucking Permits
Please share your expertise or Ohio state shipping regulations with other visitors below.
Do I Need a Trucking Permit? Legal Load Limits in Ohio
Ohio maximum load limits until a trucking permit are required:
- Length: The Ohio DOT has no maximum length set that we know of. The trailer length is set at a maximum length of 53 feet. If the shipment is over 90′ in length (combined) 1 pilot car (escort vehicle) is required.
- Height: 13 feet 6 inches is the maximum allowed shipping height as per Ohio DOT without a permit.
- Width: 8 feet 6 inches is the maximum width allowed to travel on Ohio roads.
- Weight: 80,000 pounds maximum weight (GVW) 20,000 pounds on any single axle, 34,000 pounds on dual axles, 48,000 pounds on tridem axles.
- Overhang: 53 feet is the maximum length. The front overhang is an issue that has not been clearly addressed by Ohio DOT.
NOTE: Definitions of weights: Overall Spacing: Distance center to center, to the nearest foot between the extreme front and rear-most axles of the vehicle, combination of vehicles, or any internal axle grouping. Spacing: Distance center to center, to the nearest foot, to an adjacent axle.
Some divisible loads may be permitted to travel less than 150 miles. Transporting metal coils such as aluminum, copper, and steel has different laws; the basic info is that 3 (or fewer) coils are deemed “non-divisible loads” (as per OH NonDivisible and Ohio 5501:2-1-01 (Q).
Routine Oversize and Heavy-haul Trucking Permits in Ohio
These maximum dimensions and weights for routine oversize or heavy-haul trucking permits in Ohio:
- Length: Anything over 90′ will require a pilot car/escort vehicle.
- Width: 14′ is the maximum width considered on routinely issued permits. Routing of course is the restricting factor so if you may qualify for up to (our approximation) 16′ routinely depending on your desired route.
- Height: 14′ 6″ in the maximum for routinely issued permits. Of course routing is the qualifier. If your shipment is 14′ 6″ or over you will be required to have a high pole escort.
- Weight: Single axle: 29,000 lbs. Tandem axles: 36,000 lbs if axle spacing is a minimum of 4′ 1″ and up to a whopping 50,000 lbs if your axle spacings are more than the 4′ 1″ but not more than 16′. Tridem axles: 60,000 lbs maximum if your axle spacing is less than 4′ and 53,000 lbs if your axle spacing is more than 4′ but less than 16′. Quadem: 60,000 (as long as GVW is not over 120,000 lbs). 5 axles (single-tandem-tridem): 29,000 lbs – 46,000 lbs – 46,000 lbs = 121,000 lbs maximum total per group of axles. However; in order to do this you have to have a minimum of a 51′ outer bridge and a 36′ inner bridge in order to heavy haul on a 5 axle setup. 6 axles: (single-tandem-tridum); 29,000 lbs, 46,000 lbs, 53,000 lbs = 128,000 lbs total maximum per group of axles. 7 axles: (single-tridum-tridum); 29,000 lbs – 53,000 lbs – 53,000 lbs = 135,000 lbs total maximum weight allowed. 8 axles: (single-tandem-tandem-tridum); 29,000 lbs – 46,000 lbs -46,000 lbs – 53,000 = 174,000 lbs maximum for this kind of group setup.
- Overhang: We have not located any information on the routinely permitted overhangs. So, we have to assume that as long as you do not want to overhang more than 1/3 of the overall length of the item being shipped you can probably get a routine permit. When you wish to exceed this basic rule (more than 1/3 overhang) you create a potentially dangerous situation. If you have any knowledge on a routine overhang in Ohio please share it with others below.
80,000 pounds maximum weight (GVW) 29,000 pounds on any single axle, 36,000 pounds on dual axles, and 60,000 pounds on quad axles.
NOTE: As long as the GVW is not over 120,000 lbs you can use a tridem or quadem setup but you are required to have a minimum of 4′ 1″ spacing in your axles. You can go up to 132,000 lbs on a 7, 8, or 9 axle setup for your steering configuration plus 2 tridem or quadem axle groups. Please see more in the superloads section below.
NOTE: Definitions of weights: Overall Spacing: Distance center to center, to the nearest foot between the extreme front and rear-most axles of vehicle or combination of vehicles, or any internal axle grouping. Spacing: Distance center to center, to the nearest foot, to an adjacent axle.
Ohio Superloads Information
Requirements for extra-heavy or over-dimensional (superloads) in Ohio:
- Length: Depending on your route you probably will not have any problems with length in Ohio unless you are over 160′ overall. Ohio DOT has no set limitations on length so you may not even qualify as a superload.
- Width: Again depending on the route you intend on taking unless you are over 18′ in the width you may not qualify as a superload by the Ohio DOT. While they are not too keen on wide load shipments they tend to look at these on a case-by-case basis which is all dependent on your routing. In some areas, your 16′ may qualify you as routine. If your shipment is over 18′ in width you will be classified as a superload. We welcome your comments below.
- Height: If you are over 14′ 6″ in the state of Ohio you will be required to have a high pole escort (pilot car) in front of you the entire route. Ohio DOT may require that you notify any/all utility companies that manage obstructions on your route before you are permitted to move. It’s all about your routine in Ohio as we are sure you are learning however, Ohio DOT is very knowledgeable and you have to give them credit for that. We feel they should be a little more lenient on height issues or have published routes for routine permits but maybe they have future plans.
- Weight: For superload configurations that are in excess of 120,000 lbs gross you will most likely be required to reduce your configuration by using a jeep. Your overall minimum axle spacings will need to be no less than 65′ with the inner bridge no less than 51′. See “routine trucking permits” above for more information about required axle group spacings as your groups need a distance of no less than 4′ 1″ between each.
- Overhang: Use the rule of 1/3. Read more above in “routine trucking permits”
Legal Travel Times for Oversize and Heavy-haul Loads in Ohio
Travel times and restrictions in Ohio:
Basic travel times: The basic rule of one-half hour before sunrise and one-half hour after sunset applies (for example, travel start time is at 1/2 hour before sunset on approved days). Ohio DOT regulations travel times are complicated due to population/traffic density considerations. ALWAYS REFER TO YOUR PHYSICAL PERMIT BEFORE COMMENCING MOVEMENT. If your shipment is over 12′ in width, you’re NOT allowed to travel in the list of counties within a 25-mile radius of the cities listed between the hours of 6:30 AM until 9 AM. From 4:30 AM until 6 PM Monday through Friday and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, you may not travel after 3 PM during the days between April 1st and November 30th.
You can travel on the following holidays with the above rules in mind; Columbus day, George Washington’s birthday, Martin Luther King Day, and Veterans Day. You are prohibited from traveling on the following holidays;
- New Year’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
When Pilot Cars or Escort Vehicles Are Required in Ohio
Heavy haul or oversize loads are required to be accompanied by an escort vehicle or pilot car if:
- 90 feet combined overall. Lead on 2 lanes and chase on 4 or more lanes. No mention of overhang (see: All heavy-haul shipping laws).
2 lane roads:
- 13 feet requires 1 pilot car.
- 14 feet and 6 inches require 1 pilot car and 1 escort vehicle.
- 16 feet requires 1 pilot car and 1 escort vehicle and 1 police escort.
4 lane roads:
- 13 feet requires 1 pilot car.
- 14 feet and 6 inches require 1 pilot car and 1 escort.
- 16 feet and 6 inches requires 1 pilot car and 1 escort and on some routes 1 police escort.
- 14 feet and 6 inches require 1 pilot car equipped with a high pole.
- 14 feet and 10 inches and over require 1 pilot car equipped with a height pole and 1 rear chase.
- Some routes may be required to be accompanied by 1 police escort.
NOTE:1 pilot car/escort vehicle is required in the overall length of your shipment is in excess of 90 feet in length.
2. Width: 1 pilot car/ escort vehicle is required for shipments over 13′ wide. If on a 2-lane road, the pilot car must be in the lead position, and on 4-lane roads, the rear chase position is required. If the width is greater than 14′ 6″ wide, you must have 1 front and 1 rear pilot car/escort vehicle.
3. Height: If your shipment’s height exceeds 14′ 6″ in height, you are required to have 1 front/lead pilot car/escort vehicle with a height pole. If the shipment is more than 14′ 10″ in height, you must have 1 front pilot car/escort vehicle equipped with a high pole and 1 rear chase pilot car/escort vehicle displaying an “OVERSIZE LOAD” banner. See banner/sign specifications and requirements below in the “pilot car certifications & requirements” section.
4. Weight: There are no immediate pilot car or escort vehicle requirements for shipments that are overweight. As long as the shipment can maintain the minimum speed limit requirements, escort is necessary. That may not be applicable towards superloads on a case-by-case basis.
5. Overhang: Overhang, if excessive, is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Suppose your shipment is overhanging by less than 1/3 of its length (1/3 meaning the overall measurement of only the item being shipped). In that case, you may be required to use a flag or amber light on the rear of the overall length of your shipment is not excessive, and overhang is not either, i.e., no more than 10′ (this is only an assumption and you must clarify your requirements with the Ohio DOT).
NOTE: If you are required to have only 1 pilot car/escort because your shipment is only 13′ wide but your shipment requires you to have 1 pilot car/escort because you are over 90′ in length you are considered a “combination” shipment and will be required to have 1 front and 1 rear pilot car/escort vehicle.
Pilot Car Certifications & Requirements in Ohio
Pilot car (escort vehicle) certifications and requirements of the Ohio DOT:
The Ohio DOT mandates pilot car and escort vehicles operating in the state of Ohio to have an amber light mounted on the vehicle’s roof. The amber light must strobe or flash and be visible from a 360-degree angle at no less than 500′. The vehicle is required to have a single roof-mounted sign or a front/rear sign (depending on if operating as a lead or chase vehicle) that is no less than 5′ in length and 12′ in height with letters no less than 8″ in height that is a minimum 1″ in thickness. The sign must be yellow with black lettering and state the nature of the loaded shipping, either “OVERSIZE LOAD” OR “WIDE LOAD.” All pilot cars or escort vehicles must be equipped with a CB radio or powerful 2-way communication device that enables them to constantly communicate with all parties working in the move. Pilot car vehicles must have a handheld paddle sign that states “STOP” on one side and “SLOW” on the other because traffic needs to be controlled.
NOTE: It is only our professional opinion that pilot cars also have a minimum of the additional items but are not required: 2 – 5 pound fire extinguishers type A, B, and C. 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).
Shipment, Truck, and Trailer Markings in Ohio
Truck, trailer, and shipment required markings with banners, signs, and flags by Ohio DOT:
A strobing or flashing amber light visible from 360 degrees from a distance of no less than 500 feet is required to be placed on the highest point of the tractor-trailer’s cab. Signs/banners that indicate the nature of the shipment, “OVERSIZE LOAD” OR “WIDE LOAD,” are required to be placed at the overall front and rear of the shipment. These banners must be yellow with black lettering, not less than 7′ in width and 18″ in height. Letters must be a minimum of 10″ in height with a 1 1/2″ line thickness. Safety flags must be mounted at the 4 outermost corners of the overall shipment, no less than 18″ in length in either direction and be safety red or orange. Additional flags are required if the shipment protrudes like an overhang. You may be required to place flashing or strobing amber lights on any protrusions.
Ohio DOT & Other Important Information
Ohio DOT contact and other useful information:
Ohio Department of Transportation Special Hauling Officer – ODOT
1980 West Broad Street, Mail stop 5140
Columbus, OH 43223
Telephone helpline: 614-351-2300
Permit office hours are from 7:30 AM until 4:30 – PM EASTERN TIME ZONE.
Ohio DOT special hauling permits section website.
Ohio special hauling operations manual and guide.
Ohio DOT insurance applications and permit forms.
Ohio road conditions, construction zones, and alerts.
The information contained in these pages is research information primarily for use by oversize and overweight 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 Ohio State DOT Permits office before commencing movement.