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Alabama Pilot Cars / Escort Vechicle Requirements

When escort vehicles are required:

ALDOT may require that permitted vehicles use front or rear escorts when deemed necessary. Escorts are required but are not limited to the following: 

Over height vehicles/loads: Front escort with height indicator is required for heights greater than 15’6”. 

Over width vehicles/loads: (a) Loads greater than 12’ and up to 14’ wide require 1 front escort on two-lane roads, or (b) 1 rear escort for multilane roads. 

Loads greater than 14’ wide require 1 front and 1 rear escort on all roads. 

For mobile homes, the rear escort may be replaced by the following described lighting system: 2 flashing or strobe lights, visible for 360 degrees at 500 feet shall be mounted 6 feet above ground level on the rear corners of the mobile home. Control of the lighting system shall be inside the tractor cab with a warning device to alert the driver in the event the lighting system malfunctions. If the lighting system malfunctions, the driver is to proceed to the first area where the load can be safely removed from the roadway and parked until the lighting system is repaired. 

Over length vehicles/loads: 

(a) A single rear escort is required for lengths greater than 90 feet up to 125 feet, inclusive, except that mobile homes may use the approved lighting system, described above, instead of a rear escort. A front and a rear escort are required for lengths greater than 125 feet up to 150 feet. ALDOT may require additional escorts for lengths less than 150 feet when deemed necessary. 

(b) Front and rear law enforcement escorts are required for lengths greater than 150 feet.

(c) A rear escort is required for any permitted vehicle transporting a load extending more than 5 feet beyond the rear of the vehicle. A front escort is required for any permitted vehicle transporting a load extending 10 feet or more beyond the front of the vehicle.

Escort vehicle requirements:

Escort vehicles shall be a properly licensed, single unit vehicle (e.g. passenger automobile, pick-up truck, or SUV) with an unobstructed view and clear line of sight in all directions. A flatbed truck or service vehicle may be used if it maintains an unobstructed view and clear line of sight in all directions. No vehicle towing a trailer can be used as an escort vehicle. Escort vehicles must be equipped with flashing or strobe amber lights that are visible 360 degrees at 500 feet. The escort’s headlights shall be set at low beam at all times. All vehicles supporting the move shall be able to contact each other, including escort vehicles, law enforcement escorts, and the permitted vehicle. A sign shall be mounted on the front and rear of any escort vehicle or above the roofline where it is visible from the front and rear. The sign shall contain the wording “OVERSIZE LOAD” in black letters on a yellow background. The size of the sign shall be relative to the size of the escort vehicle so that the entire message may be seen completely and clearly. The letters shall be 10 inches high with a 1.4” – 1.5” brush stroke. No other signage is allowed. The banner shall only be attached or visible during the transportation of the permitted load. 

A front escort shall provide enough space between it and the permitted load, or combination of vehicles and load, to warn oncoming traffic of the presence of the oversize load; notify the vehicles facilitating the move of any road hazards that could affect safe movement of traffic in sufficient time for the driver of the permitted load to take remedial action and locate, to the extent necessary, a safe place adjacent to the highway to protect public safety and the efficient movement of traffic and any other matters reasonably necessary for safe movement. 

A rear escort shall warn traffic approaching from the rear of the presence of the oversized load; notify the driver of the permitted load of any problems (i.e. objects coming loose from the load, traffic approaching or passing the over dimensional load, traffic buildup) that could affect the safe and efficient movement of traffic in sufficient time for the driver to take remedial action as necessary; and be far enough behind the permitted load to assist in lane maneuvers and any other matters reasonably necessary for safe movements.

Mobile home escorts shall be in the front on two lane roads and shall move to the rear of the mobile home on multi-lane roads to assume the duties of a rear escort, even with the approved lighting system. 

The non-emergency use of cell phones or other portable electronic devices, other than those designated to support the movement of the specific oversize combination vehicle, except to communicate hazard-related information, is prohibited. 

Drivers of escort vehicles must be a minimum of 18 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, and have completed a pilot/escort flagging course which equals or exceeds Alabama’s course within 12 months of Alabama’s course availability. A list of states with approved escort certification may be found on the Permit Office website.

Source of information:

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