Over Dimensional Freight
Over dimensional freight is any freight that goes over the legal size, which is set by each state or province. As a result, it is important that you know the over dimensional freight regulations, specific to certain states.
What should you know when your shipment is over dimensional?
In general, it is necessary to understand over dimensional freight because you do not want to accidentally break any rules, restrictions, or regulations. The federal government requires each state to regulate freight loads, ensuring that they do not exceed a certain weight, height, or length. It can be quite confusing to keep track of all of the various shipping regulations due to the fact that each state is subject to different laws, regulations, and restrictions.
In addition, a change in road conditions can cause you to have to change your route, depending on the state, city, or town that you are in. Overall, you always want to make sure that you are practicing legal, safe, and efficient shipping practices. This is especially important when it comes to over dimensional freight shipping, where there are extra rules and regulations to follow.
To ensure that the information is correct and up to date, always check your state’s department of transportation.
Over dimensional (OD) freight heavy refers to how much weight a freight can legally carry. This is a combination of the weight of the tractor, trailer, and the cargo. Most of the time, 80,000 lbs gross will be the maximum legal limit. There are carriers that have heavy haul equipment which can haul loads even heavier than that.
While states differ in their laws. Here are some examples from states across the country:
In Georgia, the OD freight weight is 80,000 gross. A single can be 20,340. A tandem can be 34,000. A tridem, depending on the space, can be no more than 20,340 on any type of axle.
In California, the OD freight weight is 80,000 gross. A steer can be 12,500. A single can be 20,000. A tandem can be 34,000. A tridem, depending on the acle spread, can be 40,000.
In New Jersey, the OD freight weight is 80,000 gross. A single can be 22,400. A tandem can be 34,000. A tridem can be 56,400.
The OD freight width refers to how wide a load is allowed to be. Usually, the maximum load width is 8.5 feet with a maximum height of 13.5 to 14.5 feet. Even though these regulations can vary state by state, the width of 8.5 feet tends to be the same, if not very similar, due to the fact that the standard width of a highway lane is typically 12 feet wide. Obviously, OD wide loads will be only on flatbeds or similar trailers.
Here are some regulations from the same three states about OD wide loads:
In Georgia the OD freight width is 8 feet and 6 inches wide. On some non-designated it is 8 feet wide.
In California, the OD freight width is 8 feet and 6 inches wide.
In New Jersey, the OD freight width is 8 feet and 6 inches wide on designated roads. On all other roads, the OD freight width is 8 feet wide.
The OD freight length refers to how long the freight is legally allowed to be. Similar to OD wide loads, an OD long load will only apply to flatbeds, stepdecks, RGNs, and similar equipment.
Examples of regulations in the three states:
In Georgia, the OD freight length is 75 feet long, including the overhang, for a 48 feet to 53 feet long trailer. In general, it is 60 feet overall on some non-designated routes.
In California, the OD freight length is 75 feet long, 65 feet long on non-designated highways, and 48 feet long for semi-trailers.
In New Jersey, the OD freight length is 53 feet long for a semi-trailer on designated highways and the interstate. On all other roads, the OD freight length is 48 feet long.
Other factors to consider
Making sure that you follow the over dimensional freight regulations is not the only thing you should consider.
First, you will also want to carefully plan out your driving route. Not every single road can handle the weight of heavy loads; therefore, you will need to make sure you avoid driving on those roads. You should plan ahead of time your route so that you get to your destination in a timely manner, while staying safe on the road.
Second, you need to know the legal limits for flatbed loads. The legal limits for shipments are generally pretty similar in each state. For instance, the maximum weight is typically 46,000 pounds; however, some trucks might be on the heavier side.
Third, you should figure out how to tell if your truck load is considered an oversized freight. The weight restrictions are on a per axle basis. In other words, a shipment might not surpass the total weight limit; however, it can exceed the per axle limit. By simply adjusting the load, you can make sure that your load is legal without having to obtain a special permit to travel.
On the other hand, the other category that often pushes shipments into the oversize category is the width of the freight. Although it can be different in whatever state you might be in, typically, your load cannot exceed 8 feet and 6 inches wide. If your load is over that width, your shipment is considered an oversized load. If your load is over 12 feet wide, you might even need one or two pilot vehicles in the front and back of your truck. In general, the driver is the one responsible for obtaining the correct permits.
Fourth, you need to understand that carrying an oversized load can impact your driving schedule. For instance, in a lot of states, oversized loads are limited to the hours that they can drive. Oversized loads with a travel escort can only be on the road from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset on business days, Monday through Friday. Basically, they don’t want oversized freight drivers driving in the dark.
Lastly, you should know when you need a travel escort. A travel escort is also known as a pilot vehicle. The purpose of a travel escort or pilot vehicle is to warn the flatbed drivers of driving hazards, like bridges, low wires, traffic jams or accidents, or construction zones. It is also their job to let the public know that there is an oversized vehicle nearby.
Overall, there is a lot to know about over dimensional freights due to the various regulations that can vary based on the state. As mentioned before, always check with your individual state’s guides to see the specific rules and regulations that you should be following. This includes whether or not you need a special oversized permit to legally drive.
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