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Arizona Pilot Cars / Escort Vechicle Requirements

When Pilot/Escort Vehicle is Required:

  • Over 14' wide, Over 16' high or Over 120' long - 1 Pilot Car or more required
  • A# Highways Over 12’ wide - 1 Front Pilot Car and 1 Rear Pilot Car
  • Front Overhang 20’ or more - 1 Front Pilot Car
  • Rear Overhang 20’ or more - 1 Rear Pilot Car

Escort Vehicles General Requirements

Service requirement

1. A permittee transporting an oversize or overweight vehicle or load shall use all escort vehicles required by the Department as a condition of special permit issuance under this Chapter.

2. The Department shall determine whether one or more escort vehicles must accompany an oversize or overweight special permitted vehicle by considering the following in relation to the proposed transport and route: 

  • Roadway dynamics, including surface condition, grade, width, and height limitations; 
  • Overall dimensions of the vehicle and load; 
  • Need for frequent stops; 
  • Concern for public safety; and 
  • Time of transport. 

3. According to the criteria applicable under subsection (A)(2), the Department shall require two or more oversize or overweight special permitted vehicles traveling together to be accompanied by at least one escort vehicle per load. 

Vehicle, operator, and equipment requirements

1. A vehicle qualifies as an escort vehicle if it: 

  • Is a passenger car or two-axle truck operating as a single unit, 
  • Is currently registered, and 
  • Meets insurance requirements as provided by law. 

2. An escort vehicle operator, except for a law enforcement escort, while in service under this Chapter shall: 

  • Meet all requirements under A.R.S. § 28-1110, and maintain certification through a program that meets the escort vehicle operator training and certification standards of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance or an equivalent program, whether in this state or another state, that meets the same objectives; 
  • Carry in the escort vehicle the same emergency equipment required for a truck, truck tractor, or bus under A.R.S § 28-960 and 49 CFR 393.95, which shall include; 

i. Fire extinguishers; 

ii. Warning devices for stopped vehicles; and 

iii. Emergency staff-mounted warning flags; 

  • Display an “OVERSIZE LOAD” sign: 

i. Constructed for escort vehicles as provided under R17-6-303, Illustration 2; 

ii. Mounted above the vehicle’s roofline and visible to approaching traffic from the front and rear; 

iii. Accompanied by two flags, one mounted on each side of the oversize load sign; and 

iv. Concealed when not in use; and 

  • Ensure continuous communication by two-way radio: 

i. Capable of transmitting and receiving a minimum of 1/2 mile; and 

ii. Compatible with the two-way radios used by the driver of the escorted vehicle, law enforcement escorts, and all other accompanying escort vehicles. 


1. Lighting requirement. While in service, an escort vehicle operator shall maintain continuous illumination of headlights and overhead warning lights as prescribed under A.R.S. § 28-947. 

2. Lead and follow distance. An escort vehicle operator shall maintain a lead or follow distance from an escorted vehicle that generally does not exceed 1,500 feet on an open state highway or 250 feet in an urban setting. When determining the appropriate lead or follow distance, an escort vehicle operator shall: 

  • Consider traffic density, road conditions, road type, speed, and type of load; 
  • Ensure constant radio communication with all escorts and the escorted vehicle; and 
  • Maintain visual contact with the escorted vehicle at all times. 

3. Stop provisions at an intersection with a traffic control signal. 

  • When an oversize or overweight special permitted vehicle is required to stop, the lead-escort vehicle operator shall proceed through the intersection and stop safely off the roadway. The lead-escort vehicle operator shall resume an appropriate lead distance as soon as is safely possible. 
  • When a following-escort vehicle is required to stop, the operator of an oversize or overweight special permitted vehicle shall proceed without stopping. The following-escort vehicle operator shall resume an appropriate following distance behind the oversize or overweight special permitted vehicle as soon as is safely possible after clearing an intersection.

Source of information: 

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