The government is responsible for ensuring the safety of all drivers operating vehicles on public roadways. One of the tools used to help make highway travel a lot safer is a trucking permit.
Semi-trucks carrying loads that exceed state maximums must apply for specialized permits. These permits can significantly affect the cost of delivery, so both transportation companies and retailers must understand the permitting process.
1. Permits Only Apply to Certain Loads
Not every load being transported by a semi-truck requires a permit. Only shipments that are unique in their size and dimensions require permits. Oversize permits are needed when the load is much wider or taller than average.
An overweight permit is required when a truck's load is much heavier than the usual loads carried over the road. By requiring permits on these loads, the government can ensure that unique loads are appropriately secured during transit.
2. Permits Can be Obtained in Different Ways
If a permit is needed for a specific load, the transportation company has a few different ways to secure the proper permits. Some transportation companies opt to go directly to the state agency responsible for issuing highway permits and submit the necessary paperwork. While this is the most affordable option, it can be time consuming.
It is faster and more convenient for transportation companies to work with a permit service. A permit service will handle all of the paperwork needed to obtain a permit on behalf of the transportation company. Since permit services have experience dealing with all kinds of highway permits, they can avoid any potential delays that might affect load delivery times.
3. Some Permits Require an Escort
There are some types of highway permits that will only be issued if the transportation company secures an escort.
Escorts are vehicles to travel along with the semi-truck to help ensure the safety of the load and alert other drivers to use caution. Escorts can be civilian or police, and typically include a vehicle to travel in front of and behind the semi-truck for maximum safety.
If a load requires a highway permit because of its height, a pilot car might be necessary. The job of a pilot car is to travel in front of the truck and identify any bridges or overpasses that don't have adequate clearance for the load to pass under. Escorts can provide an added measure of protection for transportation companies and the public.