What Is an Oversized Load, and What Are the Requirements?

According to research, about 10 billion tons of freight are transported annually on trucks and tractor trailers, with that number estimated to grow significantly in the upcoming years. Of those 10 billion tons, around 600 million tons of trucking loads as a whole were overweight or oversized. Although the trucking industry operates upon relatively uniform standards, the oversized or overweight trucking loads carries a significant amount of complexities.

Oversized loads are essentially any truck load which exceeds the maximal legal height, width, length and of course weight. These restrictions and laws differ from state to state. However, the maximum load height limit is generally 13.5 to 14.5 feet high, while the maximum truck load width being 8.5 feet. Although each state has different restrictions and limit laws than others, the 8.5 feet width is typically the standard among the majority of states in the United States. This is because the average width of a highway is around 12 feet for major highways as well as some interstates.

If a truck’s load exceeds this 12 feet width limit, there may be numerous requirements that the trucking companies must obey. For an example, the trucking company would be required to obtain state permits for oversized loads in order to be legally capable of operating on public roadways. Additionally, depending on a truck’s route, the maximum width limit may be just 8 feet wide taking into consideration the narrower roads. If a truck exceeds these width limit standards, they would be required to obtain additional permits as well as mandatory pilot-vehicles or an escort vehicle.

Before any transportation involving an oversized or an overweight load, the trucking company must acquire state permits, as well as give the driver a copy in case they are stopped for a traffic stop. The driver must be easily capable of providing these documents if ever asked to present them. Furthermore, the driver must also not exceed their daily-driving limits. The permits they obtain, such as a texas oversize permits, will detail the exact route that the driver should be on, the equipment being transported, the estimated time of arrival and some other key details. It is not only safe to have the legal documentation for when carrying an oversized load, it is illegal to not have them during the transport.

Furthermore, a truck which exceeds the weight, length or width limits would be required to travel only on designated routes as well as a limited time of travel. This is generally done for the public’s safety, in an effort to only have those oversized vehicles on the roads during non-traffic congested times. Some truck loads can also exceed a width of 16 feet wide. In this case, they would require even more permits, and would be subject to more restrictions. In all, this is coordinated ahead of time to ensure that the load be moved safely. The loads that exceed 16 feet of width would be called “superloads”. These load types would also often require road closures for a period of time, as well as possibly be accompanied by law enforcement or state police.