Do I Need a Freight Permit?
Freight permits are required by law for any load that is either heavier than the legal limit or larger than the legal limit. Keep in mind that if you travel through multiple states, you will need a permit for each state that you travel through.
You can buy permits from the state directly if you have the time. Permit agencies can also provide you with permits, often a lot faster, with a small fee. Permits can be purchased for just the day you are hauling the load. Or, if you haul a lot of OD freight, an annual permit is the way to go. It will save you money and the hassle of getting new permits.
If you are pulled over by the DOT and do not have the required permits, it will not be a fun day for you. You will be fined and you will not be able to continue driving until you get the required permits.This could end up with lengthy delays and unhappy customers.
Over dimensional permits
Oversize or over dimensional permits are required by each state if your freight exceeds their maximum legal dimensions and weight. These dimensions vary for each state. The DOT has a website that lists all the size and weight regulations per state which can come in handy.
While you are ordering permits, there are a few different ways you can do so. First, you can buy the permits directly from the state or states you will be traveling through. If you order the permits directly from the state, you can save money by not having to pay a service fee that permit servicing companies might charge you. Second, you can buy the permits through a second-party, called a permit service. These companies make it easier on you by helping you order the correct permits. As mentioned before, they do charge a service fee, so make sure to take that added cost into account. Lastly, you can buy permits through the state’s website. Many states have online software that will allow you to simply order the correct permits through the computer. No matter which ordering method you decide to go with, make sure that you obtain the correct permits so that you do not face any legal repercussions.
Here are the estimated permit costs for Georgia, California, and New Jersey. This estimated cost accounts for the typical $15 service fee and the permit fee.
Over Dimensional Restrictions
Now that you have your freight permit and your load is secured, you are ready to roll, right? Well, not quite. Many states will limit the time of day and even the day of the week that you can drive an OD load. Feel like driving on Memorial Day? Nope, most states won’t allow that. Want to drive at night so that you can miss the traffic? Nope, often can’t do that either. It is important to look over the restrictions in place with your permit so that you are legal during the trip.
Over dimensional heavy
Each state has various dimensional regulations. One of the dimensions that they regulate is weight. The weight is divided into steer, single, tandem, gross, and other combinations of multiple axles. Truth be told, you usually cannot haul more than 80,000 lbs (gross) and be legal. There are axle weight restrictions as well. Make sure that the shipper is loading your freight evenly so you don’t go over on one of your axles.
Over dimensional long
The over dimensional length simply means how long your freight can legally be. Similar to the other dimensions, these numbers can vary depending on the state. This limit mostly refers to flatbed loads. A good rule of thumb is that a 53 foot trailer cannot have anything hanging off of it. A 48 foot load can have a small amount hanging off the front or back, depending on the state.
Over Dimensional Wide
OD wide loads (normally just for flatbed loads) are any cargo that is wider than 8.5 feet. Any over dimensional wide load will require a permit as well. Loads that are exceptionally wide may require extra precautions. These include flags, signs, and possibly even an escort or route survey.
Helpful things to know about permits
Before travelling, always make sure you have the correct permits. It’s always a good idea to double check permit regulations for the states that you will be travelling to. You can even contact the states that you are travelling through to obtain the proper permits or to simply ask some clarifying questions. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
You might be wondering about escorts and how they will affect the costs of shipping and transportation. Well, they are another factor that can vary based on the state you are travelling through. Escort cars, also known as pilot cars, are meant to protect the freight and other cars while travelling. The majority of the states require pilot vehicles for freights that are over 10 or 12 feet wide. Let’s look at the escort vehicle regulations for three states: Georgia, California, and New Jersey. In Georgia, if your freight is over 125 feet long, you will need two pilot vehicles accompanying you on your trip. For California, if your freight is over 120 feet to 135 feet, you will need at least one pilot vehicle. In New Jersey, if your freight is over 120 feet long, you will need 2 escort vehicles.
How to get a Permit
Once you know whether or not you need a freight permit, it’s time to figure out how to get one. As briefly mentioned earlier, there are a few different ways to purchase a permit. If you are new, or just prefer it, going through a permit company will make it a lot easier on you. These permit services are experts in making sure that you have the correct permits, which is your top priority. If there are any discrepancies in your permits, dealing with them can put you behind on your driving schedule. Even though there are added costs to going through a permit service company, it is definitely something to consider, especially if you are new to the trucking world.
Here, at Heavy Weight Transport, Inc., we put you, the customer, first. If you need a reliable and efficient shipping service, look no further! We have multiple locations which are located from coast to coast.