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FAQ - Over-Dimension Trucks

Who needs an over-dimension permit?

Truckers will need an over-dimension variance permit whenever their vehicle combination exceeds maximum size and/or weight limits. A permit is needed to haul any single, non-divisible load for which any one of the following conditions apply:
  • Width of the load or hauling equipment exceeds 8 feet 6 inches 
  • Height of vehicle or vehicle combination and load exceeds 14 feet
  • Vehicle and/or combination length exceeds those authorized on Group Map 1 and Route Map 7
  • Front overhang exceeds 4 feet beyond the front bumper of the vehicle 
  • Load greater than 40 feet, exceeding 5 feet beyond the end of the semi-trailer
  • Load length 40 feet or less, as long as rear overhang does not exceed 1/3 of the wheelbase of the combination, trailer length does not exceed 40 feet, and overall length (including rear overhang) does not exceed 60 feet
  • Gross combination weight exceeds 80,000 pounds
  • Any single axle weight exceeds 20,000 pounds 
  • Any tandem axle weight exceeds 34,000 pounds
  • Gross weight of a group of axles exceeds those set forth in the legal weight table shown on Permit Weight Table 1


The Motor Carrier Transportation Division (MCTD) issues single-trip and annual variance permits for overweight, over-height, over-width, over-length, and other unusual truck loads. The permits include routing plans, road restriction information, pilot vehicle requirements, and other permit conditions. Permit routing covers state and federal highways. They can also cover county roads, with county approval.

 

I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.

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What does it mean to say a truck is operating at "legal" weight?

In Oregon, the maximum legal gross weight limit is 80,000 pounds. The gross weight of a single axle cannot exceed 600 pounds per inch of total tire width on the axle (limited also by manufacturer´s sidewall tire rating), or 20,000 pounds, whichever is less. The gross weight of a tandem axle cannot exceed 600 pounds per inch of total tire width of the wheels on tandem axle, or 34,000 pounds, whichever is less. The wheelbase measurements must comply with those allowed in Permit Weight Table 1.
 
Combinations with a total gross weight over 80,000 pounds and up to 105,500 pounds must obtain a special permit, called an Extended Weight Permit. These permits are often needed, for example, by truckers operating double- and triple-trailer combinations that have legal axle, tandem and group weights, the total of which weigh between 80,001 and 105,500 pounds. The wheelbase measurements must comply with those allowed in Permit Weight Table 1 and Permit Weight Table 2.
 
Check a three-page guide to Size Limits and a four-page guide to Weight Limits. Vehicles exceeding the limits are required to obtain a variance permit.
 
 
 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.
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What is Oregon's entry policy for over-dimension permits?


 http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/Pages/OD.aspx#Entry_Policy  

 

 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings. 
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What are the regulations governing oversize load signs?

Regulations for oversize load signs are spelled out in the attachmentts that come with all oversize permits.

Vehicle(s) transporting a load that exceeds 8 feet 6 inches in width or 80 feet in length are required to display standard signs bearing the words “OVERSIZE LOAD*.” The signs must be displayed at the front and rear of the solo vehicle or the combination of vehicles.

*Warning signs for vehicles or loads that exceed 8 feet 6 inches in width and are 80 feet or less in overall length, inclusive of load, may bear the words “WIDE LOAD.” Signs for vehicles or loads that do not exceed 8 feet 6 inches in width may bear the words “LONG LOAD” when the overall length, inclusive of load, exceeds 80 feet. Signs must meet the standards described in OAR Chapter 734 Division 82.

  • Signs must be 7 feet wide by 18 inches high with black letters 10 inches high with 1-5/8 inch brush stroke in accordance with Federal Highway Administration series C on highway yellow background.
  • The highway yellow background of the sign shall be made of reflectorized material when operating between one half-hour after sunset and one half hour before sunrise.
  • When three front pilot vehicles are required by a permit, additional signs that bear the legend “REDUCE SPEED” and “MOVE RIGHT” may be required.
    • These signs shall be at least five feet wide by ten inches high; have black letters eight inches high with one-inch brush stroke in accordance with Federal Highway Administration series B, on highway yellow background.
  • Signs must be kept in good repair, free from dirt, grease and road film, and be clearly readable to other drivers.
  • The signs shall not cover or interfere with the visibility of the registration plate.
    • To meet this requirement, plates may be mounted to cover a portion of the sign’s background, as long as the sign’s legend remains readable.
For more specific requirements see:

 

 

 

 

 

 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.
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Do pilot car operators have to be certified in Oregon?

Oregon does not require that people be certified to become a pilot car operator. Under Oregon administrative rules, OAR 734-082-0035 and OAR 734-075-0035, pilot vehicles are considered to be under the direct control and supervision of the operator of the vehicle to which the over-dimension variance permit is issued. Those rules describe the type of vehicles that are authorized and the equipment requirements.


In addition, there are 18 locations in Oregon, shown on Route Map 2, where carriers are instructed to stop traffic and straddle the center line at various tunnels and bridges. This allows a carrier the choice of using certified flaggers or perform a rolling stop using three pilot vehicles. To perform a rolling stop, pilot vehicles must be certified in the rolling stop method. Rolling stop certification is offered through the Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon.  Call 503-316-3230 for more information.

 
 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.
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What are the pilot car requirements for oversize loads?

Pilot car requirements are outlined on two Over-Dimension Permit attachments:

There are also certain situations and certain Oregon Districts where pilot cars may be required in front and back depending on the width of load, see District Guide to Pilot Vehicle Requirements.

The positioning of pilot cars is governed by Oregon Administrative Rule 734-075-0035(6) for Mobile Home / Modular units and by Oregon Administrative Rule 734-082-0035 (6) for Non-Divisible loads:
  • Unless specified otherwise, the pilot vehicle(s) must be positioned ahead of (when one is required) or to the front and rear of (when two or more are required) the oversize unit at a distance of 300 feet to 500 feet from the unit. In areas where traffic congestion is encountered, where traffic is controlled by signals, or where other conditions may require, the spacing will be reduced as may be required to properly safeguard the traveling public.
pic of pilot car behind oversize load
 
 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.
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Can oversize loads travel in bad weather?

Motor Carriers moving oversize loads are subject to travel restrictions when road conditions are hazardous due to ice, snow, frost, when visibility is reduced to less than 500 feet, or when wind conditions exist that make it difficult for vehicles to safely move.
 
These weather-related travel restrictions are prescribed in Permit Attachments that accompany all over-dimension permits issued, and in Oregon Administrative Rules.
WEATHER RESTRICTIONS: Movement of loads or vehicles exceeding 8 feet 06 inches in width is strictly prohibited:
  • When road surfaces are hazardous due to ice, snow or frost; OR,
  • When visibility is less than 500 feet due to snow, mist, rain, dust, smoke, fog, or other atmospheric conditions; OR,
  • When wind conditions exist which cause excessive swaying or weaving, or tip-over of the towed unit, or are such that the towed unit cannot maintain its lane of travel; OR, 
  • Whenever the Department of Transportation places signs indicating travel is hazardous.
Drivers are responsible at all times to recognize these conditions when they are moving loads or combinations of vehicles exceeding 8 feet 06 inches in width.  Drivers making the wrong choice and continuing to operate when these hazardous conditions exist are subject to citation and the responsible Motor Carrier is subject to civil monetary complaint on a first offense and in the instance of repeated violations is subject to additional sanctions including cancellation of permit and/or denial of future permit requests.
 
Chain up locations are not intended to serve as staging areas for over dimension vehicles. Parking in chain-up areas is strictly prohibited. In order to avoid being caught unaware of existing or approaching weather conditions ALWAYS check for available highway and weather information before beginning a trip.
 
Prior to travel, go to www.tripcheck.com or call the toll free Oregon road report at 511 or (800) 977-6368 for current travel and weather information throughout Oregon.  If calling from out of state, call (503) 588-2941.
 
 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.
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Who's qualified to drive a truck with triple trailers?

Operators of triple trailer combinations must be highly qualified drivers:
  • All triple trailer drivers must have a current Commercial Drivers License with a doubles/triples endorsement and no airbrake restriction.
  • Triple trailer drivers and all individuals and companies operating triple trailers must comply with Part 391 -- Qualifications of Drivers of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) and Part 395 -- Driver Hours of Service.
    • Driver exemptions as set forth in Section 391.67 of the FMCSR shall not apply to triple trailer drivers.
  • Triple trailer drivers must have a minimum of one-year experience driving commercial vehicle combinations.
  • Triple trailer drivers must be directly supervised by the company or individual holding the triple trailer permit.
  • Triple trailers may not be operated by any driver convicted of two or more speeding violations in Oregon as provided by ORS Chapter 811 within the last three years while operating a triple trailer combination after being informed by ODOT that the driver is disqualified and may not be operated by a driver if suspension or revocation of driving privileges arises from operation of a commercial motor vehicle in any state or province during the past three years.

 

I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.
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Are there any exclusions to trailer length and width limits?

pic of devices on front of trailerFederal regulations, (23) 49 CFR Part 658.16, specify what is excluded from length and width determinations. This includes such items as rear view mirrors, turn signal lamps, handholds for cab entry and egress, splash and spray suppressant devices, and load induced tire bulge. Also excluded from length and width determinations are all non-property-carrying devices, or components thereof, at the front of a semitrailer or trailer, or that don't extend more than 3 inches beyond each side or the rear of the vehicle, or that don't extend more than 24 inches beyond the rear of the vehicle and are needed for loading or unloading. 


 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.
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Are there size and weight exemptions for fire trucks?

There are no size or weight exemptions for fire trucks on state and interstate highways. However, if a fire truck exceeds state and federal size and weight limits, an annual variance permit may be issued authorizing up to 55 feet in length and a maximum of 635 lbs. per inch of tire width for the fully loaded vehicle (but not to exceed the manufacturer's tire sidewall rating, whichever is less).

Oregon Administrative Rule 734-082-0009 specifies that fire apparatus may operate with a variance permit that is not subject to the maximum limits established in Division 82 when its operating within the fire district boundary of the owner of the apparatus, including any "mutual aid" agreement area, operating in response to any emergency act declared by the Governor, or maintaining, deploying or re-deploying such fire apparatus.

All trucks over 20,000 pounds, including fire trucks, normally must stop at an open weigh station. But when an actual fire emergency has been declared, such as a wildfire somewhere in the state, fire trucks with lights and siren activated may bypass an open weigh station.

Although fire trucks may operate under a variance permit, these vehicles cannot cross bridges if they are weight restricted. Bridges with weight restrictions on state and interstate highways can be found on the Oregon Road & Bridge Restriction List (Note: not all bridges are posted). 

In addition, for all newly-purchased fire trucks to be operated in Oregon, prior to issuance of an annual overweight permit (E10 permit), the fully loaded vehicle must be weighed by ODOT Motor Carrier Enforcement personnel to validate the weights do not exceed 635 lbs. per inch of tire width (or the manufacturer’s tire sidewall rating, whichever is less). 

 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.
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What does a person need in order to tow an 11-foot wide boat?

To move wide loads in Oregon, a person needs an over-width permit from the ODOT Motor Carrier Transportation Division. An annual permit is available for all interstate highways and most state highways. The annual permit is $8.00 and must be picked up at a participating DMV or Motor Carrier office. Single trip over size permits are also available, via fax, and can cover a specific move over any Interstate or state highways as well as county roads. The state fee is $8.00 and counties can charge as much as $8.00 each for the single trip permit.  All of the necessary requirements for moving wide loads are detailed in Permit Attachment 82A, related to non-divisible loads, Permit Attachment H, related to hauling hours and days for over-width movements and Route Map 2, related to pilot vehicle requirements and structures that may require certified flaggers.
 
Loads that exceed legal width (8 feet 6 inches) will need to:
  • Display an oversize sign on the front of the combination truck and also on the back.
    Mark the outermost extremities with red flags not less than 18 inches square. The sign must meet the requirements outlined in Permit Attachment 82A.
  • Observe the travel time and day restrictions for over-width movements, as detailed in Permit Attachment H
  • Pilot vehicles may be required based on the route being traveled. A multi-lane or interstate highway would not require one. You can use Permit Attachment 82A and Route Map 2 when operating on an annual permit, to determine when it's required. Pilot vehicles will be determined for you when operating on single trip oversize permits.

 

The Motor Carrier Division Over-Dimension Unit is available Monday through Friday, 7:00am to 5:00pm at 503-373-0000 to answer any questions related to over width movement.
 
 
 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.
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What can I tow behind my pickup truck?

Rules governing pickup trucks are spelled out in Oregon Administrative Rule 734-071-0050 through 734-071-0060 

A pickup truck may tow:
  • A single trailer that exceeds 40 feet in length, but does not exceed 53 feet in length if:
    • The pickup truck is not carrying a load other than the towed vehicle;
    • The coupling device for the trailer is a ball to socket hitch located above and not behind the tire tread of the rearmost axle of the pickup truck;
    • The trailer has operating brakes on all wheels; and
    • The load on the truck-trailer shall not extend past the rear of the trailer by more than five feet; or
  • Two trailers in a tow-away operation if:
    • The pickup truck is not carrying a load other than the towed vehicle;
    • The coupling device for the lead trailer is a ball to socket hitch located above and not behind the tire tread of the rearmost axle of the pickup truck; and
    • The trailers have operating brakes on all wheels. Addtionally, the trailer must be empty, and the operation must be exclusively for commercial purposes.

For example, a company that is hired to take trailers from a manufacturer to a sales lot or customer is allowed to tow up to two empty empty trailers. A person or company is not allowed to tow more than one trailer if a trailer is loaded or if it is not a tow away operation.

For length limits, refer to Group Map 1 and Route Map 7 for pickup trucks towing a single trailer and Group Map 1 for pickup trucks towing two trailers.

A pickup may not tow two vehicles except in tow away operations as described above. The following examples would not be allowed in Oregon:

  • A recreational vehicle (RV) and a boat
  • A utility trailer and an RV
  • Two utility trailers
  • An enclosed trailer, or toy hauler, and a boat


 

 
 
 
 
 
Except as described above, for a power unit to draw or tow two trailers, it would have to be defined as a "truck-tractor."  The following are the requirements of a "truck-tractor" in Oregon, with references to the appropriate Oregon Administrative Rules and Oregon Revised Statutes:
 

Truck-Tractor: Per Oregon Administrative Rules 734-071-0010, a truck-tractor means a motor vehicle designed and used primarily for drawing (towing) other vehicles and constructed so as not to carry a load other than a part of the weight of the vehicle or load, or both as drawn. 

For “hotshots” or vehicles that look like larger pick-up trucks, the bed of the power unit would need to be removed – not capable of hauling a load to be considered a truck-tractor.
 
Per Oregon Administrative Rules 734-074-0005, a truck-tractor must be used exclusively for commercial purposes and is subject to Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 823 (Carrier Regulation) & Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 825 (Economic & Safety Regulations)
 
Per Oregon Administrative Rules 734-074-0005, a truck-tractor may not be licensed or used as a recreational vehicle.
 
Per Oregon Administrative Rules 734-082-0015, the power unit must be adequate in size to haul the amount of weight needed. In no instance may the vehicle combination exceed the manufactures GVWR for the vehicle or the vehicle combination and load.
 
If the combination does not meet all of the above requirements, the vehicle and combination lengths are limited to that described on the back of our Group Map 1 and Route Map 7
 
If a power unit meets the definition of a truck tractor as described above, we suggest contacting our Registration group at 503-378-6699.  They will be able to get the carrier started in obtaining the appropriate registration, tax, and other credentials required to operate as a commercial vehicle in Oregon. The driver of the truck-tractor must have a valid Class A Commercial Drivers License with a doubles endorsement.
 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings. 
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What are the weight allowances for Tow Trucks?

When empty or otherwise not hauling a wrecked or disabled vehicle, are tow trucks allowed to exceed legal axle and group axle weights?
Answer:  No. Extra weight allowances for tow trucks are found in Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) Chapter 734, Division 76
 
Empty / unladen tow trucks are not eligible for oversize or overweight permits in Oregon, and must maintain legal axle weights. Legal axle and group axle weights are shown in Permit Weight Table 1.
 
As an example, a tow truck acting as a solo vehicle with a 9’ spread and 3 axles on the ground, the maximum allowed weight is 42,500 lbs on those three axles.
 
Can tow trucks be permitted to have heavy haul axle or group axle weights (higher than that allowed in Weight Table 1?
Answer: Yes, when towing or hauling wrecked or disabled vehicles, heavy haul weights are allowed on the tow truck.
 
Heavy Haul Permit Weight Table 3 permits are available by single trip permit.  In addition, Weight Table 3 permis are available by annual permit, as long as the gross weight does not exceed 98,000 lbs.  In either case, the vehicle or combination of vehicles must qualify for a heavy haul permit.  Tow trucks that are not hauling or towing wrecked or disabled vehicles do not qualify for heavy haul permits.
 
Heavy Haul Permit Weight Table 4 permits are available by single trip permit for vehicles or combination of vehicles must qualify for a heavy haul permit.  Tow trucks that are not hauling or towing wrecked or disabled vehicles do not qualify for heavy haul permits.
 
Do rotator tow trucks qualify as a self-propelled vehicle?
Answer: No. Oregon Administrative Rule OAR 734-082-0005(29) defines a "Self propelled fixed load vehicle" as a vehicle with motive power designed and used primarily to support and move a permanent load in the form of equipment or appliances constructed as part of, or permanently attached to, the body of the vehicle.
 
Because a rotator tow truck is both a crane and a tow truck, it does not qualify for permits as a self-propelled vehicle.   As another example, a self-propelled drill rig is a drill rig 100% of the time, and thus eligible for heavy haul permits.
 
What other tools are available to help me with weight analysis?
Answer:  Our Weight Table Calculator is a publically available application, and can be used to check axle weights and spacings, to see if they are legal, permittable, or not allowed. (Make sure you choose the radio button for “Divisible Load” if you are checking on legal axle and group axle weights.)
 
 
I have additional questions that are not mentioned in this FAQ.
Please contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, Option 1. We are available Monday-Friday between the hours of 7 AM & 5 PM Pacific time, closed on state observed holidays, and on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1 PM Pacific time for staff meetings.
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Who can carriers contact with truck size and weight questions?

Motor carriers with truck size and weight questions may contact the Motor Carrier Transportation Division Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000, select Option 1. Alternatively, contact the someone in one of our Ports of Entry and Field Offices.
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FAQs -- Other Subjects

 
graphic of question markThe Motor Carrier Transportation Division has created a number of pages like this with frequently asked questions about other subjects.

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