Massachusetts State Shipping Regulations

2021 Massachusetts DOT regulations for shipping oversize and overweight loads. Trucking company and pilot car reference information.

Massachusetts shipping regulations.

The great state of Massachusetts official seal.

Please share your expertise or knowledge with other visitors below.

Trucking company & pilot car directory.

Locate trucking companies and pilot car companies in Massachusetts:

Massachusetts heavy haul trucking company directory.
Massachusetts pilot cars and truck escorts.
Massachusetts oversize trucking permits.

Legal load limits.

Massachusetts DOT legal load size and weight limitations:

Length: We’ve got 48′ on a trailer length and that you have to have a permit for a 53′ trailer. Working on an overall legal length. Please comment below.
Height: 13′ 6″ is the maximum height allowed.
8′ 6″ in the maximum height allowed by the Massachusetts DOT – see MA DOT website for legal limits.
3′ in the front and 4′ off of the rear of the trailer.

Routine trucking permits.

Massachusetts oversize and overweight trucking permits that are issued by the DOT routinely:

Length: 115′ is the maximum load length on a routine trucking permit.
Width: 14′ 11″  wide is the limit on routine permits.
Height: 14′ 11″ on the maximum height as well for routine permits.
Weight: Everything depends on the axle spacings here. You will still max out at about 130,000 lbs and after that, it’s probably a superload but you never know – axle spacings and routing is everything.
Overhang: Case by case basis. Figure probably around 12′ but maybe more.
Notes: Any loads over 13′ 8″ are going to require a route survey unless it is the main road routing with simplicity. There is no fee for a special handling permit for vehicles that are under the following restrictions: 12′ 0″ wide, 13′ 6″ height, 99,000 lbs maximum, 100′ in length.

Superload information.

Massachusetts superload information:

For shipments in excess of 130,000 lbs depending on your route, you may be classified as a superload. We need more superload information on this state if you can share your superload experience with the Massachusetts DOT we’d sure appreciate it. See below for easy comments.

Permitted travel times and restrictions.

Massachusetts DOT travel time and restrictions for oversize and overweight shipments:

Daylight hours are defined as from sunrise to sunset. You are permitted to travel Monday morning from 12’01 am until 12 noon on Saturday morning during the daylight hours. This includes shipments that are between the width of 12′ and 14′, over 80′ in length (but not over 115′), and over 14′ in height with the exception of 3:30 PM until 7 PM due to traffic density on Mondays thru Fridays. For shipments that are in excess of 14′ wide and over 115′ in length are permitted to travel only between the hours of 9:30 AM until 3:30 PM and may travel only on the days of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Additional restrictions may apply depending on your routing so be sure to refer to the documentation on your physical permit before commencing movement.  You may not travel on any of these holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas day.

When pilot cars are required.

Massachusetts DOT may require your shipment to have a pilot car(s) or escort vehicle(s) if you are over any of the following:


Length: 80′ – 94′ 11″ in length will require you to have 1 rear pilot car/escort. If over 94′ 11″ you are required to have 1 front and 1 rear pilot car. If you are over 134′ in length you will be required to have 1 front and 1 rear pilot car as well as a police escort.
Width: Shipments that are from 12′ 1″ and up to 13′ 6″  wide require 1 rear escort vehicle unless you are shipping a dozer. A dozer requires 1 front pilot car and 1 rear escort vehicle. For shipments in excess of 13′ 6″, you are required to have 1 front pilot car and 1 rear escort on all roads.
Height:  If your shipment is in excess of  13′ 8″ you are required to have a high pole survey. If your shipment is over 14′ 11″ you are required to have 1 front pilot car with a high pole and 1 rear escort with a police escort.
Weight: Depending on your routing and if you can maintain the minimum required posted speed limits you will more than likely not be required to have a pilot car or escort vehicle by the Massachusetts DOT.
Overhang: If you have over 4′ of rear overhang consisting of long materials like poles, boat masts, and booms you will be required to have 1 rear escort vehicle. If you have equipment with an overhang in excess of 10′ or more you will be required to have 1 rear escort vehicle.
Notes: If the routing on your shipment will take you through tunnels you will be required to have at a minimum 1 rear escort vehicle if over 8′ 6″ – 12′ wide.

Length If your shipment is over 80′ but under 85′ you are required to have 1 rear escort vehicle. If your shipment is over 85′ but less than 135′ you are required to have 1 front pilot car and 1 rear escort vehicle. If your shipment is in excess of 135′ you will be required to have 1 front pilot car, 1 rear escort vehicle, and 2 police escorts.
Width: If your shipment is in excess of 12′ you will be required to have 1 rear escort vehicle. If your shipment is in excess of 13′ wide you will be required to have 1 front pilot car, 1 rear escort vehicle. If your shipment is in excess of 15′ you will be required to have 1 front pilot car and 1 rear escort vehicle plus 2 police escorts.
Height: We have found no reference to pilot car high pole requirements on the Massachusetts turnpike. If you have any information please help others by commenting below.
Weight: Weight restrictions are handled on a case-by-case basis for the Massachusetts turnpike.
Overhang: 1 rear escort is required if you have overhand in excess of 4′ that is skinny in nature like a long pole, boat mast, etc. If the overhang is in excess of 10′ but not skinny in nature you will be required to have 1 rear escort vehicle.
Notes: The turnpike can do pretty much whatever they want so if you find your trip requirements modified from what you expected then that is just the way it is. You could always appeal the decision. For items suck as drivable cranes and booms up to about 12′ in the width you are usually required to have 1 rear escort vehicle.

Notes: If you are overweight or oversize you will most likely be required to have at a minimum, 1 pilot car/escort vehicle, and 1 police escort.

Pilot car certifications & requirements.

The Massachusetts DOT maintains that pilot cars and escort vehicles meet the following:

Massachusetts DOT requires all escort vehicles to have 2 flashing or strobing amber lights that are visible from both the front and the rear of the vehicle as well as have 2 safety colored red or orange flags mounted to the vehicle that is no less than 24″ square in shape. At least one sight that states “OVERSIZE LOAD” mounted and visible from either the front or the rear of the vehicle depending if you are piloting (front) or escorting (rear).

Shipment, truck and trailer markings.

Truck, trailer, and shipment required signs, banners, and flags:

An oversize load sign should be placed on the rear of the trailer or load whichever is appropriate. The dimensions for this sign should be no less than 7′ in length x 18″ in height with a yellow background and black letters with a line thickness of no less than 1 1/2″ thick and letters no less than 10″ in height. Safety colored red or orange flags are required at a minimum of the 4 most outer extreme corners and be no less than 18″ in length in any direction.
Note: in addition, we suggest an amber light but at the time of this writing Apr 2013 it is not required.

Massachusetts DOT and other information.

Massachusetts DOT contact information and other helpful links:

Massachusetts DOT contact information:
Special Hauling Permit – Department of Transportation
668 South Avenue
Weston, MA  02493
Fax: 781-431-5014 – They have no phone number listed. EASTERN TIME ZONE.
For Massachusetts DOT general department phone number: 857-368-4636
General MA DOT E-mail page (bottom of page) for contacting them.
MA DOT oversize and overweight website.
MA DOT information on oversize and overweight trucking permits.
MA DOT oversize and overweight permit form (.pdf format).
MA road closure and closed highway information.

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 Massachusetts State DOT Permits office before commencing movement.
Massachusetts shipping regulations.

Massachusetts state flag.

Trucking Season Starts

Let’s get the trucking season started.

As you are aware the weather is finally starting to clear up in the Northern states. Frost laws will again be completely lifted and we will move towards being in full swing again for another season. With consumer confidence comes more spending which in turn brings on more production which means you will all be busy and possibly even exceed your capabilities. Each year at this time we send out this reminder followed by reports on industry volumes, customer behavior and other news that is important to any company in the oversize and heavy haul trucking industry. Some of them you may like and others may bore you but for the benefit of your business we do suggest you read them all as more information is better than not enough. We will do our best to keep our communications brief and to the point.

Heavy haul loads.

Here are some key reminders for this time of the year:

• Fully inspect your truck/escort/pilot vehicle, tires, lights, gauges, etc to ensure everything is working in tip top shape.
• Be sure to inspect all of your radios and safety equipment making certain all signal flares and fire extinguishers are up to date.
• Drivers should prepare themselves mentally too. Remember first to protect the motorists, not the load. The load is insured. Things like erratic driving or hand signaling will only confuse a motorist and possibly provoke road rage creating potential for an accident. If a motorists does ever get in between a pilot car and the load whoever see’s it first needs to make everyone else aware, especially the driver of the truck. More than likely he will decide to slow the truck down and that problem will quickly resolve itself pretty quick.
• Driver nutrition. We be writing more about driver nutrition as the season continues but remember you’re whole outfit isn’t much without you. That means you have to take good care of yourself and truck stops and roadside diners aren’t notorious for being too concerned about much more than taste – some even lacking that!

Pilot car truck in lead position.

Finally, while being on the newsletter list is free we must charge a small fee to be in our different directories (heavy haul, oversize trucking companies and pilot car companies) that is as low as $4.16 a month. If you are in it, get your listing spruced up. Add more information about your company and the exact services you provide, upload new/additional photos. Each year we send a huge percentage of our million plus per month visitors to our heavy haul and oversize shippers directory as well as PiloTrac. Customers who wish to use this option can easily locate you as well as trucking company fleet managers, dispatchers, owner operators, etc can easily locate pilot cars via PiloTrac. No matter what service our viewers are looking for it’s much easier to locate a service provider by clicking on a map than it is trying to mine web data by doing search engine searches and sifting through the millions of results.  We’ve been doing this online since 2003 so have a pretty decent idea of what we’re doing. Lists Best Nearby Commercial Driver’s License Training Programs Lists Best Nearby Commercial Driver's License Training Programs Lists Best Nearby Commercial Driver’s License Training Programs (via SBWire)

San Francisco, CA — (SBWIRE) — 10/16/2013 — Obtaining a commercial driver’s license, also known as CDL training, can be a life changing experience. Drivers learn important commercial driving skills throughout their training, and after graduation…


FMCSA Hours of Service – HOS.

As you know as of August 28, 2019 the new HOS rules are not approved yet.

2018 FMCSA hours of service HOS rules and regulations.

Hours of Service

As per the FMSCA website.

Who Must Comply?

Most drivers must follow the HOS Regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle, or CMV.

In general, a CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce and fits any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Hours of Service Final Rule for Truck Drivers

The Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2011. The effective date of the Final Rule was February 27, 2012, and the compliance date of remaining provisions was July 1, 2013.

NOTICE: The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 was enacted on December 16, 2014, suspending enforcement of requirements for use of the 34-hour restart, pending a study. Based on the findings from the CMV Driver Restart Studythe 34-hour restart rule in operational effect on June 30, 2013, is restored to full force and effect.  The requirement for two off-duty periods of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. in section 395.3(c) of the Agency’s hours-of-service rules will not be enforced, nor will the once-per-week limit on use of the restart in 395.3(d).

Summary of the Hours of Service Regulations

Hours of Service: How Familiar Are You? Webinar

The FMCSA hours of service (HOS) rules are designed to eliminate the type of drowsiness that can lead to crashes.  Although many commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers feel that they know when they are getting drowsy, various laboratory tests have shown that persons are not good at estimating their own drowsiness.

The following topics are discussed in the “Hours of Service: How Familiar Are You?” webinar[external link]:

  • Purpose of the Hours of Service Rules and Regulations
  • Applicability
  • Drivers’ Responsibilities
  • Carriers’ Responsibilities
  • Property Carrier Hours of Service Driving Time Limits
  • Passenger Carrier Hours of Service Driving Time Limits
  • Acceptable Recording Methods
  • Important dates and deadlins for Electronic Loggind Devices (ELDs)
  • Limited Exceptions to the Hours of Service Rules and Regulations

“Hours of service: How Ready are You?” transcripts[external link]

Color/508 Compliant[external link]

Black and White[external link]

Hours of Service Live Question and Answer Session

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hour-long Hours of Service (HOS) Question and Answer Session[external link] allowed participants the opportunity to submit HOS related questions and have them answered by FMCSA’s HOS subject matter experts Tom Yager, Chief of the Driver and Carrier Operations Division, and Peter Chandler, Lead Transportation Specialist in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Passenger Carrier Division.

The HOS Question and Answer session addressed the number hours that a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver may be on the road, the HOS exemptions, and the number of hours a CMV driver may be on duty before a required period of rest.  In addition, the session addressed the permitted driving time based on a driver’s on-duty hours in a “work-week”.

Previous rule under the Obama administration:



May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty as per 2013 FMCSA hours of service HOS rules.

Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers using a sleeper berth must take 10 hours off duty, but may split sleeper-berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.

CMV drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

Passenger-carrying carriers/drivers are not subject to the new hours-of-service rules. These operations must continue to comply with the FMCSA hours of service HOS rules limitations specified in 49 CFR 395.

SIMPLY stated the new rule means:

Drivers may drive up to 11 hours in the 14-hour on-duty window after they come on duty following 10 or more consecutive hours off duty.
The 14-hour on-duty window may not be extended with off-duty time for meal and fuel stops, etc.
The prohibition on driving after being on duty 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days, remains the same, but drivers can “restart” the 7/8 day period anytime a driver has 34 consecutive hours off duty.
CMV drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

Short-Haul Provision:

Drivers of property-carrying CMVs which do not require a Commercial Driver’s License for operation and who operate within a 150 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location:

May drive a maximum of 11 hours after coming on duty following 10 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Are not required to keep records-of-duty status (RODS).
May not drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty 5 days a week or after the 16th hour after coming on duty 2 days a week.

Employer must:

Maintain and retain accurate time records for a period of 6 months showing the time the duty period began, ended, and total hours on duty each day in place of RODS.
Drivers who use the above-described Short-haul provision are not eligible to use 100 Air-mile provision 395.1(e) or the current 16-hour exception in 395.1 (o).

In developing these hours-of-service regulations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) systematically and extensively researched both United States and international health and fatigue studies and consulted with Federal safety and health experts. Our roads are better designed, constructed, and maintained in a nationwide network to provide greater mobility, accessibility, and safety for all highway users. Vehicles have been dramatically improved in terms of design, construction, safety, comfort, efficiency, emissions, technology, and ergonomics. These factors, combined with years of driver fatigue and sleep disorder research, led to a revision of the hours-of-service regulations for drivers.

FMCSA will continue working with its partners and stakeholders to assure a smooth transition to the new regulations. Please join us in working together to implement these new regulations for the continuing improvement of motor carrier safety. For more information or additional outreach materials, visit the FMCSA’s Web site at

FMCSA hours of service HOS.