2022 Texas State Shipping Regulations, Oversize Trucking, Heavy-haul, Pilot Cars, and Permits
Do I Need a Trucking Permit? Legal Load Limits in Texas
Texas maximum load limits until a trucking permit are required:
Length: The trailer length maximum is 59 feet. The overall combined length maximum is 65 feet.
Width: 8 feet, 6 inches wide maximum.
Height: 14 feet tall maximum.
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 in Texas
These maximum dimensions/weights are considered routine oversize or heavy-haul trucking permits in Texas:
Length: Up to 180 feet long or see the superload section.
Width: 20 feet wide on “routine” permits (Go Texas!) however only 16 feet wide on the interstates.
Height: 18 feet and 11 inches maximum for routine oversize trucking permits on state highways. 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 than 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. Tridem axles: 60,000 pounds and quadem axles: 63,000 pounds (confirmed May 31, 2018). 5 axles 73,260 pounds. Trunnion axles are 54,000 pounds. On restricted routes: Single: 22,500 pounds, tandem: 41,400 pounds, tridem: 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! The front overhang maximum is 25′ and the rear overhang maximum 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 “wide-load” and an “over-height” load. Your permit will be rejected and you will lose 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 Information
To keep this simple any shipment that exceeds the above dimensions/weights in the “Routine” section above will more than likely be classified as a superload shipment in the state of Texas. Superload permits issued in the state of Texas usually take a minimum of 2 weeks time to be approved.
Legal Travel Times for Oversize and Heavy-haul Loads in Texas
Travel times and restrictions for heavy-haul and oversize loads in Texas:
One half-hour before sunrise and one-half hour after sunset is considered daylight time. Nighttime 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 in excess of 14′ you may NOT travel on the following holidays: New Year’s 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 in Texas
Required marking, safety flags, and warning signs for heavy haul and oversize loads in Texas:
When transporting heavy haul and oversize loads the tractor-trailer unit must have its low beam headlights turned on at all times. Any shipment that extends from either side of the actual trailer width requires red or orange fluorescent warning flags that are no less than 16 inches square as well as red lights/lamps. If you are transporting anything that has a 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 an addition to 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 the 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 Vehicles Are Required in Texas
Heavy-haul or oversize loads may be required to be accompanied by an escort vehicle or pilot car if:
Length: If a 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 a 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 the height of the 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 the 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 in Texas
Pilot car or escort vehicle mandatory operator certifications and vehicle requirements:
At the date of this publication, 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 “WIDE LOAD” sign (whichever is applicable) visible from both the front and rear of the vehicle and only displayed while working on. The 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:
Texas State Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Division
125 East 11th Street
Austin, TX 78701
Help telephone line: 800-299-1700 – option 1 or 5.
Hours: Monday – Friday 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Saturdays from 6 AM until 2 PM.
Central Time Zone
Click here for the Texas state DOT website for oversize and overweight hauling permits.
Heavy Haul Trucking and Oversize Load Permit Limitations in Texas
The maximum weight on a single axle is 25,000 pounds. On tandem axles 46,000 pounds. On tridem axles 60,000 pounds. On quad axles 70,000 pounds. On five-axle trailers 81,400 pounds. On trunnion axles 60,000 pounds. If your axle is 10 feet wide you will be permitted the following weights on restricted routes: single axle 22,500 pounds, tandem axles 41,400 pounds, tridem axles 54,000 pounds, quad axles 63,000 pounds five axles 73,260 pounds: trunnion 54,000 pounds: gross weight five axles 105,000 pounds, six axles 119,000 pounds, seven axles 129,000 pounds, eight axles depends on axle configuration: length to 180 feet maximum overhang is 30 feet maximum width is 20 feet to 16 feet usual maximum on interstate: height is 18’11”. Any load that exceeds these dimensions or weights may be referred to as a super load. If over 125 feet long or 20 feet wide or 11 feet and 8 inches tall and it requires a route inspection please refer to Texas state form number MCD 306a.
Oversize and Heavy Haul Trucking Signs, Flags, and Required Lights in Texas
Signs are required on all pilot cars and escort vehicles. Any vehicle transporting a load that extends to the rear at least 4 feet beyond the bad of the trailers shall display on the extreme end of the load to read Lance visible in the distance of a minimum of 500 feet from the rear. To read reflectors that indicate the maximum width of the shipment that is visible at night time at all directions from the side and the rear of the shipment is required. So my trucks are required to have their low beam headlamps on whenever transporting any type of oversize or heavy haul shipment. Any load or shipment that has an overhang that extends more than 4 feet beyond the rear of the trailers shall display red flags that are at least 16 inches in a square shape on all extremities of the actual load and are to be placed where the red light is required on all extremities. Also, my trucks will need to be equipped with either two simultaneous Lee flashing amber lights or one rotating amber beacon light that has a base of no less than 8 inches affixed to the top of the power unit. Power unit lights must be visible from both the front and the rear of the power unit and the power unit is required to have the same 16-inch warning flags mounted on the very most forward part of the vehicle. All power units are required to have a wide load sign mounted on the front and the rear of the vehicle, as well as the shipment in tow, and the sign is required to have a yellow background with black letters that are at least 8 inches tall. This sign must be a minimum of 5 feet in width but no more than 7 feet and width.
Pilot Car and Escort Vehicle Requirements for Oversize and Heavy Haul Loads in Texas
If your shipment is in excess of 14 feet wide or 17 feet tall or 110 feet and linked one escort or pilot car is required. If you will be traveling on a 2 Lane Hwy. then the pilot car or escort vehicle must be in the front of the power unit. If you will be traveling on a highway with four or more lanes then the escort vehicle or pilot car must be in the rear. When the load is in excess of 17 feet in height your pilot car or escort must travel in the front of the load as well as be equipped with a high pole. If your shipment is in excess of 16 feet wide or 18 feet tall or 125 feet long, both a front and rear pilot car or escort vehicle are required. Whenever the shipment or load exceeds 18 feet in height, your front escort must be equipped with a high pole.
Police Escorts for Heavy Haul and Oversize Loads in Texas
Official law enforcement vehicles or motorcycles may be used as a primary escort or pilot car vehicle for a permitted shipment traveling within jurisdictions. Qualified pilot escorts must be either a highway patrol officer, sheriff, or duly authorized deputy, and the noticeable police officer operates on a motorcycle or car. A pilot/escort car/motorcycle must maintain two-way radio communications with the permitted vehicle and other pilot cars or escort vehicles involved with the movement of the permitted vehicle.
Convoys of Multiple Shipments of Oversize or Heavy Haul Loads – Escort Vehicle Requirements in Texas
On shipments that are 110 feet long to 125 feet long one escort per load or convoy is permitted or for four loads with one front and one rear pilot car or escort vehicle up to 125 feet. From 125 feet and 1 inch to 150 feet and linked with a front and rear escort per load, or per convoy of 22 a maximum of four loads with one front and one rear pilot car or escort vehicle is required. From 150 feet and 1 inch and linked to 180 feet long one front and one rear escort is required per load or per convoy of up to two loads with one front and one rear escort. The spacing and lighting of a load is exactly as described above however each permitted load in a convoy must travel at least 1000 feet but no more than 2000 feet from any other permitted load in the convoy. Having a rotating amber beacon or an amber pulsating light no less than 8 inches in diameter mounted at the top rear of the actual load or shipment being shipped.
Manufactured Housing Transport Regulations in Texas
If a manufactured home is in excess of 16 feet wide but does not exceed 18 feet wide then one pilot car or escort vehicle is required. If traveling on 2 Lane Hwy. the pilot car or escort vehicle must be in the front of the load. On a highway, with four or more lanes an escort vehicle must be in the rear. If the load exceeds 18 feet wide then two escorts are required with one in the front and one in the rear.
Escort Vehicles Should Be Equipped With the Following Equipment in Texas
All escort vehicles or pilot cars will need to be a clip with two flashing amber lights or one rotating amber beacon with a base no less than 8 inches in diameter affixed to the top of the pilot car or escort vehicle which must be visible from the sides of the front and the rear of the pilot car or escort vehicle while actively engaged in duty as a pilot car or escort vehicle. All signs of an escort vehicle must display on both sides of the rough of the pilot car or escort vehicle towards the front and towards the rear the words “oversize load” or “wide load”. These required signs must be visible from both the front and the rear of the vehicle while piloting or escorting any shipment. The sign must meet the following size specifications. It must be a minimum of 5 feet wide but no more than 7 feet in width. It must be a minimum of 12 inches tall but no more than 18 inches tall. The color of the sign must be yellow with black lettering. The size of lettering on the sign must be a minimum of 8 inches tall but no more than 12 inches tall with a thickness of no less than 1.41 inches wide. The visibility of the sign must be from the front and the rear of your pilot car or escort vehicle and must never be used if you are not on duty. All pilot cars and escort vehicles shall be equipped with a two-way radio communication device that clearly communicates with the permitted vehicle as well as all other pilot cars and escort vehicles involved with the shipment of the permitted vehicle. All pilot cars and escort vehicles need to be a minimum of 1000 pounds and not more than 10,000 pounds in weight.
Travel Times of Escort Vehicles and Pilot Cars That Are Working With Oversize and Heavy Haul Trucking Companies in Texas
If your job dimensions are restricted under daytime movement then your work hours are from one-half hour before sunset and ending at one-half hour after sunset. As far as holiday restrictions are concerned the maximum dimensions or weights that you can work on a shipment up to 14 feet in width or up to 16 feet in height or 110 feet long (manufactured housing) then none of them may be transported on either of the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. There are no weekend restrictions. To view curfews, you may use the above links to go to the Texas Department of Transportation website at www.txdot.gov for more info. If the load does not exceed 10 feet wide or 100 hundred feet long you may travel at night on the Interstate highways only. A load that is only overweight may travel at night on any Texas Highway. The Texas state permit office will be closed on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Travel will not be restricted on these days and less on noted on your permit. Permits are not valid without the curfews sheet attached.
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.