A vehicle can be operated outside of weight and size limitations as long as a permit for the activity has been granted by PennDOT. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4961, 67 Pa. Code § 179.3).
A person wishing to operate an oversize or overweight vehicle on Pennsylvania highways may want to register with PennDOT. Registration is not mandatory in order to receive a permit, but registration enables the person to apply for a permit by fax or another wire method and pay by a non-certified check, including a company check, or money order.
Without registration, the application must be made in person or by mail, accompanied by a certified non-company check or money order. In order to register, the person must file a registration agreement (Form M-936RA) and a surety bond (Form M-936B) in the amount of at least $2,000 with PennDOT. (67 Pa. Code § 179.4).
An application for a permit (Form M-936A) must be made to either the district office or county office that has jurisdiction over the point of origin or the point of destination of the trip for which a permit is requested. Registered persons may apply to the district office in person, by mail, or by fax. The application must be accompanied by a check or money order. If the application is submitted via fax, payment must be made within three (3) working days after the permittee receives the permit.
Non-registered persons may only apply to the district office in person or by mail. A certified check or money order must accompany the application. Nonregistered persons may not pay through the use of a company check. (67 Pa. Code § 179.8).
Applications may be made to the county office in person only. The fee for an overweight vehicle or hauling permit is three (3) cents for every ton-mile by which the gross weight of the vehicle exceeds the registered gross weight. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1942(a)(3)).
Form M-936RA – Registration Agreement for Special Hauling Permits
Form M-936B – Surety Bond
Indemnification and insurance
In addition to the above application requirements, permittees and their contractors (including pilot car
owners) must add the Commonwealth as an additional insured to their insurance policies, in order to indemnify the Commonwealth for any damage or injury to third persons caused by the permitted activity and for which the Commonwealth must pay.
Furthermore, the permittee must carry insurance to guarantee coverage for damage and injury to third persons caused by the permitted activity and for which the permittee must pay. In both cases the level of coverage must be at least $250,000 per person and at least $1 million per occurrence. PennDOT may also require the permittee to enter into an agreement or provide security to provide for the restoration of roads and bridges damaged by the permitted action. (67 Pa. Code § 179.7).
The driver of the permitted vehicle must carry the permit and related documents in the vehicle and must make these documents available to police officers and PennDOT representatives on request.
The permit may not be assigned or transferred to another person (67 Pa. Code § 179.10(1)).
Generally, a permit is valid only for a single trip between the two points designated on the permit. The permit expires after 5 weekdays have passed. (67 Pa. Code § 179.10(9)). However, there are some special agricultural permits that last for an extended length of time (see below).
FREQENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In addition to obtaining a permit, what else must I do while hauling an oversized load?
1. In certain situations, permittees must provide a car or cars to accompany the permitted vehicle during the trip. These cars are known as "pilot cars." Pilot cars must be provided as follows:
2. If the length of the permitted vehicle is greater than 90 feet or the load extends more than 15 feet beyond the rear of the vehicle, a pilot car must follow the permitted vehicle.
3. If the width of the permitted vehicle is greater than 13 feet and there are at least two lanes for traffic moving in the same direction as the permitted vehicle, a pilot car must follow the permitted vehicle. If there is only one lane for traffic moving in the same direction as the permitted vehicle, the pilot car must precede the permitted vehicle.
4. If the height of the permitted vehicle exceeds 14 feet, six (6) inches, the pilot car must precede the permitted vehicle by 1,000 - 3,000 feet.
5. If the permit requires the permitted vehicle to travel over bridges at reduced speeds, a pilot car must follow the permitted vehicle while it is traveling at the reduced speed.
6. If the permit requires the permitted vehicle to either be the only vehicle on a bridge span or to occupy more than one lane while crossing a two-way bridge, one pilot car must precede the permitted vehicle and one pilot car must follow. If the bridge is a one-way bridge, only one pilot car is needed, and it must follow the permitted vehicle.
7. If the permitted vehicle is traveling in an urbanized area during darkness, one pilot car must precede and one pilot car must follow the permitted vehicle.
8. If the permitted vehicle is traveling on a limited access highway and cannot maintain a speed of 40 mph, a pilot car must follow the permitted vehicle. If the limited access highway is within an urbanized area, the permitted vehicle may only travel on that highway between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. (67 Pa. Code § 179.10(13)).
Permitted oversize vehicles must display on both the front and rear of the vehicle a 7 feet x 18 inches yellow sign bearing the words "OVERSIZE LOAD" in black letters 10 inches high with a 2-inch stroke.
Pilot cars must display on both the front and rear of the car a 5 feet x 1 foot yellow sign bearing the words "OVERSIZE LOAD" in black letters at least 8 inches high. When a vehicle is no longer oversize, all "OVERSIZE LOAD" signs must be removed or covered. (67 Pa. Code § 179.10(15)).
Points of excessive length or width must each be marked with a clean, plain, red or fluorescent range warning flag, at least 18 inches square. (67 Pa. Code § 179.16)).
Where the permitted vehicle is a truck or truck tractor, the driver vehicle inspection report (as required by federal motor carrier safety regulations) from the previous trip must be carried with the permit.
Where the permitted vehicle is an implement of husbandry, trailer, semi-trailer, or dolly, a safety certification must be carried with the permit. This certification must show that the lights, brakes, tires, steering system, and coupling devices were checked within the 7 days prior to the trip and are in safe condition. (67 Pa. Code § 179.10(17)).
Contact between vehicles
Pilot cars must maintain visual and two-way radio contact with the permitted vehicle during movement. (67 Pa. Code § 179.10(13)(ii)(A)).
If a permitted vehicle requires a pilot car, the permitted vehicle must travel with its headlights and taillights on. (67 Pa. Code § 179.10(13)(ii)(B)).
Pilot cars must have one or two flashing or revolving amber lights operating during movement. (67 Pa. Code § 179.10(13)(ii)(C)).
If any required lights are obstructed due to the vehicle's load, equivalent lighting must be displayed at the rear of the load. (67 Pa. Code § 179.10(14)).
Are there special permits for agricultural use?
Yes. There are three types of permits specifically authorized for agricultural vehicles.
A. Seasonal permits for implements of husbandry
A permit is available for implements of husbandry up to ten (10) feet in width that will allow them to be operated on limited access highways from sunrise to sunset. While on the limited access highway the vehicle must maintain a speed of at least 40 mph.
This permit is valid for 90 days. A permit is also available for implements of husbandry wider than 14 feet, six (6) inches and up to 16 feet in width that will allow them to be operated on highways other than limited access highways, from sunrise to sunset. This permit is also valid for 90 days.
(67 Pa. Code § 179.15a).
The fee for either of these seasonal permits is $25. (67 Pa. Code § 179.9(e)(5)).
B. Annual permit for movement of domestic animal feed
A permit, valid for one year, is available for overweight vehicles hauling domestic animal feed in bulk. The maximum gross weight allowed under this permit is 95,000 lbs. and the maximum weight on any nonsteering axle is 21,000 lbs. Also, this permit does not allow movement on interstate highways. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4976). The fee for this permit is $400.
(75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1943(g)).
C. Annual permit for movement of live domestic animals
A permit, valid for one year, is available for overweight vehicles hauling live domestic animals. The maximum gross weight allowed under this permit is 95,000 lbs. and the maximum weight on any nonsteering axle is 21,000 lbs. Also, this permit does not allow movement on interstate highways. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4976.1)). The fee for this permit is $800.
(75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1943(i)).