State Requirements for Pilot Cars

pilot requirements

The requirements for pilot cars differ from state to state. So, each state has different requirements for pilot cars. For instance, in California, a load will need to have a pilot car or escort vehicle at all times if it is more than 12 feet wide. The pilot car must have:

  • Flags
  • Signs
  • Lights

These are to warn the public that an oversized load is in transit. In certain states and on some routes, the pilot car must be in front of the load or tractor trailer. However, in other states, the escort vehicle has to be behind the load or tractor trailer. The regulations depend on which state you are hauling through as well as on what route you are traveling. Some loads that are wider than 14 ft. will need 2 pilot cars, one in front of the tractor-trailer and the other in the back.

High Pole Cars

Some states will require a special pilot car, called a “high pole car,” in front of the tractor-trailer when the load is overheight. This type of vehicle has a special pole attached to the front bumper. It is adjustable to whatever height is needed for that specific load to clear bridges, traffic signals, power lines, or other overhead barriers. In many states, these pole cars are required if the loaded height exceeds 17 ft. But, there are some states that require a high pole car at lower heights. For example, in New York, if the loaded height of the trailer is more than 14 feet 6 inches, high pole cars are required.

Pilot Car Certification

The majority of states do not require the pilot car to be certified. However, they still need to have specific operational equipment. This equipment may include:

  • Flashing lights and flags
  • Cones and orange vests
  • Fire extinguishers and other safety equipment

Here are the states where the pilot car must be certified:

Other states may not require certification, but they will require other conditions to be met. In Pennsylvania, for example, the pilot car will need to have specific insurance coverage requirements. Call us today at (888) 799-8858 to learn more about each state’s pilot car equipment regulations!