There are both state and federal laws in place to prevent commercial trucks from becoming too big, too long, too wide, too tall, or too heavy. However, in special circumstances, oversized loads or wide loads are allowed on our highways and interstates, as long as trucking companies secure a permit. Examples of oversized loads include construction materials, pre-fabricated houses, construction equipment, military equipment, industrial parts, windmill parts, and bridge beams.
While there are a number of precautions in place to make oversized loads safe, they are still the cause of a limited number of truck accidents each year around the country.
Here are a few of the oversized-load regulations in the United States:
- You must obtain a permit. Every state requires an oversized-load permit, which allows the trucker to communicate with officials about the details of the trip. The permit comes with a small administrative fee, and truckers must obtain multiple permits if driving through multiple states.
- You must share your route. Part of securing your oversized-load trucking permit involves sharing your planned route, as well as when you will be navigating that route.
- You may need to flag your vehicle. If you are driving a wide load, you must label your vehicle as wide and place high-visibility flags on your truck or load so that surrounding cars are aware of the size of your truck. Most states require a flashing light on the oversized load.
- You may need a pilot vehicle. Also known as escort cars, pilot vehicles drive either in front of or behind oversized trucks to make the journey safer. A pilot car may look for approaching obstacles, warn other drivers that an oversized load is approaching, and prevent dangerous lane changes and other maneuvers.
Even when trucking companies and state governments take precautions with oversized loads, accidents still happen. In some cases, other vehicles on the road are to blame, but in other cases the trucker or trucking company is at fault. If you have been injured in a truck accident involving a wide load or oversized load, speak to a Virginia truck accident attorney today. Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharpto schedule a free case evaluation: 800.752.0042.