Oversize Load Escorts (Beta)





North Region

California Department of Transportation
Permits MS #41, PO Box 942874
Sacramento, California 94274-0001
Phone: Inquiries: (916) 322-1297
Info.: (916) 322-4976
Fax: (916) 322-4966
Office Hours: 8:00 AM. - 5:00 PM Pacific Time

South Region

California Department of Transportation

Transportation Permits: 464 W. 4th Street

San Bernardino, CA 92401

Phone: Inquires: (909) 388-7062,

Info. (909) 383-4637, Fax: (909) 388-7001

Office Hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Truck Overdimensional Permit Limitations

Weight: Steering axle - 20,000; Single axle - 20,000 Tandem -46,000; Tridum - 51,000; Quad - depends on axle spacing. Gross Weight: 5 Axles - 104,500; 6 Axles - 108,500; 7 Axles - 112,500; 8 Axles -154,500. No weight allowed on tandems with more than 8' spread. Tridum exceeding 10' spread. Length: Generally up to 135'. The state will permit higher than this maximum if the load can handle the excess length and there is a good reason for the move. Any vehicle and load that is over 17'1" high must have a route survey with height indicator (height pole).

The state of California has two regions using statewide color route classification maps for loads & escorts. You must check your permits for these escort and what route color classification it requires. Requirements are to numerous to list. Secure these maps from CalTran. Super Loads: Loads 15'1" wide or 135' long are considered Super Loads. Engineer drawings and justification is required on all applications. Thirty day notice is required. All overheight loads must be on a low-boy trailer.


Truck Signs & Flags

WARNING SIGNS: All loads and/or vehicles which exceed 8'-6" in width, 80'-0" in length, or more than 10'-0" of overhang shall display appropriate warning signs. Signs shall be posted on front and rear and shall read "LONG LOAD" or OVERSIZE". The "LONG LOAD" sign shall be used whenever overall length exceeds 100 feet. The

"OVERSIZE" sign shall be used for shorter lengths and other oversize features. The more definitive signs reading 'WIDE LOAD", “LONG LOAD”, "OVERSIZE LOAD", “EXCESSIVE FRONT OVERHANG" or "EXCESSIVE REAR OVERHANG" may be substituted for the "OVERSIZE" sign when appropriate. The "LONG LOAD" sign shall have preference when length exceeds 100-feet and other oversize features exist. Signs must display the wording "Oversize Load" in letters 10" high with 1 5/8" brush strokes. Letters must be black on a yellow background. The sign shall be mounted at least 18" above the surface on both the front and rear of the vehicle. Signs and flags are required on vehicles over legal width. Flags are required whenever the load upon any vehicle extends, or whenever any integral part of any vehicle projects, to the rear 4' or more beyond the bed or body of the vehicle, there shall be displayed at the extreme end of the load or projecting part of the vehicle Lights or flags.

During darkness it shall have two (2) red Lights visible from 500' to the side and rear. At any other time there shall be displayed at the extreme end of the load or projecting part of the vehicle a red flag or cloth not less than 16" square.

See Warning Signs. Revolving amber lights on towing unit must be covered when not hauling a permitted load.

Escort Requirements

Over 12' wide (depends on routes)-1 or 2 pilot cars. Over 85' to 135' long (depends upon routes) over 100' in LA city & LA county -1 front & 1 rear. 17'6" or more height requires utility clearance and a route survey-1 pilot car with height pole. If required by trucking company for less height make sure it is noted on permit application or you are subject to a fine. 25' front overhang-1 pilot car. 25' overhang beyond trailer rear-1 or more pilot cars.

Escort Vehicle Requirements

The vehicle must be at least 60" wide. An Escort vehicle shall display at least one red warning flag on each side of the vehicle. The flag shall be a minimum of 16" square, and shall be mounted so as to be visible from both the front and rear of the vehicle. The flags shall be removed when vehicle is not operating as a pilot car. It must be equipped with the following: a "stop" and "slow" paddle, one orange vest, shirt or jacket, one red hand flag (24" square) and a two-way radio communication device. Escort vehicles shall also be equipped with flashing amber warning Lights to the front, side and rear. Vehicles shall display in a conspicuous place on both the right and left sides of the car a sign showing the name of the company which owns or operates the car. The vehicle shall display neat, clean and legible signs containing the wording "Oversize Load" front and rear. The sign shall be a minimum of 48" above the ground and shall be legible at 45 degrees from either side when read from front or rear. The sign shall have a bright yellow background with a minimum brush stroke width of 1 5/8" and 6" minimum letter height.

Travel Time

Travel is allowed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (but must be requested at time of order) unless an Escort is required or the load exceeds two configurations, or a green loading weight, or other dimensions that are unusual. In this case it is restricted to one-half hour before Sunrise to one-half hour after Sunset. Loads over 10' wide are prohibited from moving during early morning hours and late afternoon hours in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A slow-moving vehicle emblem must be displayed when the vehicle will be operated at a speed of 25 m.p.h. or less. CURFEW: Loads 10' in width may not travel Monday thru Friday thru the following cities:

Los Angeles and vicinity 6:00-9:00 AM 3:00-6:00 PM

Sacramento and vicinit9 7:00-9:00 AM 4:00-6:00 PM

San Diego and vicinity 7:00-9:00 AM 4:00-6:00 PM

San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge 6:30-9:00 AM 3:30-6:30 PM

San Francisco and vicinity 7:00-9:00 AM 4:00-6:00 PM

California highway patrol is needed when the load is over 15' wide on 2-lane. 16' wide on yellow routes. Greater than 14' 6" in height or required to be escorted by pilot car.

Travel is prohibited on the following holidays unless specifically exempted on the face of the permit. This prohibition shall apply on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, labor Day and Christmas.

Travel is prohibited on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. If a holiday falls on a Friday or Monday, travel is prohibited during the weekend. The State Permit Office will be closed on the above-mentioned as well as Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, and the day after Thanksgiving. Movement during darkness or movement beginning at 3:00 AM must specially authorized on the face of the permit or permit rider. Travel from 3:00 AM to Sunrise is only authorized on state routes which are listed on the face of the attached permit and designated as "Yellow" or "Green" in the Department of Transportation publication "Pilot Car Table for California". It is a condition of this permit that the driver has in his or her possession a copy of the Pilot Car Table. For night movement Saturday and Sunday or weekdays in the AM, will be marked on your permit for the times of the movement.

Sunrise Sunset for Sacramento, California

Sunrise Sunset for San Diego, California

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Pilot Car
Photo courtesy of Intermountain Rigging and HeavyHaul