California Oversize / Overweight Regulations

What is considered as "Oversized Load" in California?

Dimensions: Width: 8' 6" Height: 14' Length Overall: 53' Overhang: Front 3', Rear 6' (Note: This is subject to many local variations and conditions.)

What is considered as "Overweight Load" in California?

Weights Single Axel - 20,000 Tandem Axle - 34,000 Maximum Gross Weight: 80,000

Under the California Vehicle Code, having an overweight vehicle is a criminal offense that can carry significant penalties. In most cases driving an overweight vehicle is a misdemeanor in California law. Misdemeanor ( summary ) probation up (6) months in county jail; and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).

Maximum overweight fines can exceed $2000.

California Oversize / Overweight Permits

California Permit Department Contact Information

916-322-1297

Fax: 916-322-4966

7:00 AM - 5:00 PM Pacific

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/permits/

California Pilot Cars / Escorts

Escort Vehicle Requirements

Responsibilities 

  • Pilot cars maintain communications with the escorted load via two-way radio communication device. 
  • Pilot cars maintain a safe distance from the escorted vehicle to allow both passing and warning for other traffic. 
  • Pilot cars accompany the escorted vehicle over all operational California Highway Patrol (CHP) scale and inspection facilities.  Location 

One pilot car is required, the car precedes the escorted vehicle on two (one lane in each direction) or three-lane conventional roads .

When a pilot car is required for rear overhang (i.e. more than 25' 0”), the pilot car will follow the escorted vehicle on all routes.

  • The maximum number of pilot cars, on yellow routes, is one until width exceeds 15'0”. 
  • If two pilot cars are required, one pilot car precedes, and the other follows the escorted vehicle. . 

Equipment Failure to comply with all regulations under law renders the vehicle and/or load out of service until all necessary repairs or additional equipment is obtained to meet said requirements. This applies to I.D. placards, warning signs, warning lights, warning flags, vertical clearance devices, etc.

California Axle Regulations

  • Single Axle - 20,000 lbs. (Alternative method of computation: 18,000 lbs.)
  • Alternative method of computation, limit on steering axle: 12,500 lbs.
  • Tandem Axle (Two Axle) - 34,000 lbs. (Alternative method of computation: 33,600 lbs.)
  • Tridem Axle (Three Axle) - 51,450 pounds with 9’-0” axle spacing, 8-foot width, 4 tires per axle.
    52,500 pounds with 10’-0” axle spacing 8-foot width, 4 tires per axle.
    The maximum allowable axle spacing for tridem axles is 10’-4’.
  • Gross Vehicle Weight - 80,000 lbs. (Alternative method of computation: 76,800 lbs.)

With respect to trucks operating on the NHS in California, two provisions in State law allow trucks to exceed some elements of Federal limits:

  1. Log trucks are allowed to exceed the Federal limit for tandem axles of 34,000 lbs. by 1,500 lbs.
  2. Between September 15 and March 15 each year, cotton trucks that meet certain criteria are allowed an additional 6,000 lbs. above the Federal limit of 34,000 lbs. for tandem axles.
Note: higher weights for tandem axles for increased spacing and/or eight tires per axle.



California Trip and Fuel (IRP / IFTA) Permits

California Fuel Trip Permit Information

California Fuel Trip (CFT) permits allow out-of-state registered owners to enter and travel into California for 4 consecutive days without obtaining a license for fuel tax purposes. The CFT must be obtained and completed prior to entering the state.

CFT(s) may be purchased through the following agencies:

  • California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA)
  • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Qualified Motor Vehicle:

  1. has two axles and a gross vehicle weight or registered gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms,
  2. has three or more axles regardless of weight when used in combination (for example, a tractor-trailer combination), 
  3. has a combined weight exceeding 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms gross vehicle weight.

The fee is $30,00 for each California Fuel Trip Permit.

California Fuel Trip Permit Information

California Fuel Trip (CFT) permits allow out-of-state registered owners to enter and travel into California for 4 consecutive days without obtaining a license for fuel tax purposes. This permit also allows California registered carriers to reenter California after traveling out of state if they are unlicensed for fuel tax purposes. The CFT must be obtained and completed prior to entering the state.

Qualified Motor Vehicle:
  1. has two axles and a gross vehicle weight or registered gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms,
  2. has three or more axles regardless of weight when used in combination (for example, a tractor-trailer combination), 
  3. has a combined weight exceeding 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms gross vehicle weight.

The fee is $30.00 for each California Fuel Trip Permit.

CFT(s) may be purchased through the following agencies:

  • California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA)
  • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

California Overweight / Oversize Fines

Under California Vehicle Code Section 35551(a) VC, having an overweight vehicle is a criminal offense that can carry significant penalties. In most cases driving an overweight vehicle is a misdemeanor in California law. Misdemeanor ( summary ) probation up (6) months in county jail; and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).

The exception is if the amount of excess weight is less than four thousand five hundred one pounds (4,501). In this case, VC 35551 is only a California infraction. The penalty for overweight vehicles as an infraction is a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

WEIGHT

FINE

0 – 1,000 lbs excess

$20

1,001 – 1,500 lbs excess

$30

1,501 – 2,000 lbs excess

$40

2,001 – 2,500 lbs excess

$55

2,501 – 3,000 lbs excess

$85

3,001 – 3,500 lbs excess

$105

3,501 – 4,000 lbs excess

$125

4,001 – 4,500 lbs excess

$145

4,501 – 5,000 lbs excess

$175

5,001 – 6,000 lbs excess

$200.04 + .04 per each lb

6,001 – 7,000 lbs excess

$360.08 + .08 per each lb

7,001 – 8,000 lbs excess

$560.08 + .08 per each lb

8,001 – 10,000 lbs excess

$1200.15 + .15 per each lb

10.001 and over

$2000.20 + .20 per each lb

Running Hours and Holiday Restrictions

Warning Lights: Color and Placement

Must have a amber colored strobing or flashing light affixed to the top of the tractor trailer cab that is visible 360 degrees from a minimum distance of 500′. Two (2) red lights required on the side and rear attached to the load or extremities including any projection greater than 4'

"Oversized Load" Banner Regulations and Requirements

“Oversize Load” signs are required front and rear for all oversize loads.

Signs that state the exact nature of the shipment; “WIDELOAD”, “OVERSIZE LOAD”, “LONG LOAD”, “EXCESSIVE FRONT OVERHANG”, “EXCESSIVE REAR OVERHANG” are required.

If the shipment is over 100′ overall then the “LONG LOAD” sigh shall be displayed and the “OVERSIZE LOAD” sign is to be displayed for lesser lengths and other oversize configurations.

Flag Requirements

Flags are required at all four corners of any extremities of wide and over length loads, and at the end of load projections greater than 4 feet.

In California, and oversize loads is defined by the following dimensions (Note: This is subject to many local variations and conditions.) :

Dimensions:

Width: 8' 6" Height: 14'

Length Overall: 53'

Overhang: Front 3',

Overhang: Rear 6' (Note: This is subject to many local variations and conditions.)

Weights:: Single Axel - 20,000 Tandem Axel - 34,000 Maximum Gross Weight: 80,000

Flags, Lights and Banners

Basic: 24 hours, 7 days a week (with many exceptions for larger loads).

Oversized loads are not permitted during the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Permits will specify variances to permitted travel times.

No travel from 6 AM until 9 AM in/around Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento & San Francisco.

California Tire Regulations

Tires are to be equipped with tire traction devices when entering a signed restricted area.

There are three levels of requirements in California.

Requirement One (R1): Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles.

Requirement Two (R2): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles . (NOTE: Four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)

Requirement Three (R3): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions. There is no requirement for trucks to carry chains during any specified time period.

Pneumatic tires containing metal-type studs of tungsten carbide or other suitable material and  inserted or constructed that under no conditions will the number of studs or the percentage of metal in contact with the roadway exceed 3 percent of the total tire area in contact with the roadway, between the first day of November and April 30.

No person shall use on a highway a pneumatic tire on a vehicle axle when it has:

 (1) less than one thirty-second (1/32) of an inch tread depth in any two adjacent grooves at any location of the tire, except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3):
(2) Four thirty-second (4/32) of an inch tread depth at all points in all major grooves on a tire on the steering axleand two thirty-second (2/32) of an inch tread depth at all points in all major grooves on all other tires on the axles of these vehicles.
(3) Six thirty-second (6/32) of an inch tread depth at all points in all major grooves on snow tires used in lieu of tire traction devices in posted tire traction device control areas.

California Annual Permits

Dimensions:

  • Height: 14 feet
  • Width: 12 feet

Cost: $90

Time, it takes to receive: 5-7 business days

Mailing method: Mailed

Commodity specific? Yes 

Need to obtain a route? No



California Road Conditions

National Work Zone awareness happens like in most states in April, the dates vary but is mostly held in the second week of the month. California promotes safety on the highways and interstates because every life matters. Safety is important so the government states that respecting speed limits and signalization through areas that are under construction is mandatory. Planning your trip is also one way to prevent anything happening, but most importantly being patient and understanding the situation as it is.

California Manufactured Houses and Mobile homes

10’/12' WIDE MANUFACTURED HOME 

  • Width - 10’0” 
  • Length - 105’0" (80’0" maximum for housing, includes tongue) 
  • Height - 14’0" 
  • Weight - 6,000 lbs. maximum per axle under towed unit 
  • Range - Statewide, except on restricted routes. 

Permits are available only to transporters or licensed manufacturers and dealers. In this case, a transporter is one who is in the business of moving manufactured homes and possesses an HCD decal.


Oversize / Overweight Regulations By State