Colorado Pilot Cars / Escort Vechicle Requirements

When Escort Vehicles are required: 

Height 

1. The Permittee is responsible to check all overhead structures and utilities on the route to be traveled to ensure that the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load has adequate clearance of all overheight restrictions. 
2. An Extra-legal Vehicle or Load more than sixteen feet in Height is prohibited from travel unless a Pilot Escort Vehicle is positioned in front with a height pole. 
3. An Extra-legal Vehicle or Load that exceeds 17 feet 6 inches in Height must submit a route survey for the route of travel. 
4. An Extra-legal Vehicle or Load more than 17 feet in Height must be accompanied by a licensed signal contractor through all intersections controlled by an overhead traffic signal. 

Length 

An Extra-legal Vehicle or Load which exceeds the following Maximum Limits for Length must use a Pilot Escort Vehicle: 
1. More than eighty-five feet when traveling on Mountainous two-lane Highways, the Pilot Escort Vehicle must be positioned one in the front. 
2. More than one hundred ten feet when traveling on all non-Mountainous two-lane Highways, the Pilot Escort Vehicle must be positioned in the front. 
3. More than one hundred fifteen feet traveling on four-lane Highways, the Pilot Escort Vehicle must be positioned in the rear.

Overhang

An Extra-legal Vehicle or Load which has an Overhang that exceeds the following limitations must use a Pilot Escort Vehicle. The Pilot Escort Vehicle shall be positioned according to the Overhang, as follows: 
1. If the Overhang is more than 15 feet in the front, the Pilot Escort Vehicle shall travel in the front. 

2. If the Overhang is more than 25 feet in the rear, the Pilot Escort Vehicle shall travel in the rear. 

Pilot Escort Driver Requirements 

Pilot Escort drivers must comply with all applicable traffic laws (contained in §42-4-101 to §42-4-1717, C.R.S.) and with the requirements of these Rules when escorting a Vehicle or Load on a State Highway, in order to protect the safety of Highway users and to protect the efficient movement of traffic from unreasonable interference. 

Pilot Escort drivers must obtain and maintain certification as provided in this chapter to be authorized to escort an Extra-legal Vehicle or Load on a State Highway. The Permit holder of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load shall be responsible to inspect a Pilot Escort driver’s certification to ensure that it is valid and current. 

The Department or its authorized agent will grant a certificate to all persons who pass the Pilot Escort Vehicle certification examination and satisfy the other requirements of Section 500.4. The certification shall be exclusive to the Pilot Escort driver named in the certificate and may not be assigned or transferred. 

Pilot Escort driver applicants must meet the following requirements to attend a Pilot Escort Certification Program

    Residency and Reciprocity 

    1. Pilot Escort drivers operating pilot escort vehicles in Colorado may participate in the Colorado certification program authorized by the Department and complete the requirements for Colorado certification or they may operate as a certified pilot escort driver with another State's certification credential, provided the state has signed a reciprocity agreement with Colorado as outlined in paragraph 2 below. 

    2. The Department may enter into a reciprocal agreement with other states that demonstrate that course materials are comprehensive and meet minimum requirements outlined by the “Best Practices Guidelines” published by the US DOT Federal Highway Administration, publication FHWA-HOP-04-028. A list of reciprocal states may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.coloradodot.info/business/permits/truckpermits or by calling the Permit Office at (303) 757-9539. 

    Pilot Escort Vehicle Standards 

    1. The Pilot Escort driver shall ensure that the Pilot Escort Vehicle is in safe operating condition at all times when the Pilot Escort Vehicle is escorting an Extra-legal Vehicle or Load. 

    2. The Pilot Escort Vehicle shall: Be either a passenger vehicle or a two-Axle Truck; The original Transport Permit or legible copy of the same in accordance with § 42-4-510(4), Not exceed a maximum Gross Vehicle Weight of 16,000 pounds; Be at least 60 inches wide; and Properly registered and licensed. 

    3. Not exceed the Legal Limits of size and weight, as defined in Section 226 of the Rules. 

    4. Equipment and load shall not reduce visibility or mobility of pilot escort vehicle while in operation. 

    5. Pilot Escort drivers shall not tow trailers at any time while in Pilot Escort operations. 

    6. Pilot escort vehicles shall be equipped with a two-way radio capable of transmitting and receiving voice messages over a minimum distance of one-half mile. Radio communications must be compatible with all accompanying pilot escort vehicles, utility company vehicles, and permitted vehicle operator as applicable. 

    7. The Pilot Escort driver shall not carry any item(s) or equipment or Load in or on the Pilot Escort Vehicle which: 

    • Exceeds the Height, Length, or Width of the Pilot Escort Vehicle, or Overhangs the Pilot Escort Vehicle, or otherwise impairs its immediate recognition as a safety Pilot Escort Vehicle by the motoring public; however when it is not in use, the height pole may be tied down or secured to the vehicle and extend beyond the rear of the Pilot Escort Vehicle up to but not exceeding 4 feet; or 
    • Obstructs the view of the flashing yellow or amber lights or the signs used by the Pilot Escort Vehicle; or 
    • Causes safety risks; or 
    • Otherwise impairs the performance by the Pilot Escort driver or the Pilot Escort Vehicle of the duties required by the Rules. 
    • The Pilot Escort driver shall properly load and secure any item(s) or equipment or load carried by the Pilot Escort Vehicle to ensure compliance with the requirements of this Section. 
    • No passengers under 16 years of age are allowed in pilot escort vehicles during movement of oversize load. 

    Pilot Escort Vehicle Signing Requirements 

    A Pilot Escort Vehicle shall display signs to indicate “Wide Load” or “Wide” , “Long Load” or “Long” , or “Oversize Load” or “Oversize” , as applicable. 

    All such signs shall be a minimum of five feet wide, ten inches high with one inch wide brush stroke, black letters a minimum of eight inches high on yellow background, or shall be a maximum of seven feet wide, eighteen inches high, with a 1.41 inch brush stroke, black letters a minimum of ten inches high on yellow background. 

    The signs must be mounted on the top of the pilot/escort vehicle. 

    • The sign for the front/pilot escort vehicle shall be displayed so as to be clearly legible and readable by oncoming traffic at all times. 
    • The rear pilot/escort vehicle shall display its sign so as to be readable by traffic overtaking from the rear and clearly legible at all times. 

    Pilot Escort Identification signs or placards shall be displayed on the Pilot Escort Vehicle at all times when escorting an Extra-legal Vehicle or Load. The sign or placard must: 

    1. Appear on both sides of the Pilot Escort Vehicle. 
    2. Be in letters that contrast sharply in color with the background on which the letters are placed. 
    3. Be readily legible, during Hours of Daylight, from a distance of 50 feet while the Vehicle is stationary; and 
    4. Be kept and maintained in a manner that retains the legibility required by subparagraph 3 of this subsection.

    A route survey identification sign shall be displayed on the Pilot Escort Vehicle at all times when the driver is conducting a route survey and has the height pole extended above legal height. 

    1. Such sign shall state “Route Survey” and be displayed in the same manner as the Oversize Load sign used when piloting loads. 
    2. All such signs shall be a minimum of five feet wide, ten inches high with one inch wide brush stroke, black letters a minimum of eight inches high on yellow background, or shall be a maximum of seven feet wide, eighteen inches high, with a 1.41 inch brush stroke, black letters a minimum of ten inches high on yellow background. 
    3. A route survey may not be conducted during the piloting of an Extra-Legal Vehicle or Load move. 

    Pilot Escort Vehicle Lighting Requirements 

    1. A Pilot Escort Vehicle shall, in addition to any other equipment required by the traffic laws, be equipped with at least one, but not more than three, Flashing Yellow or amber light, as defined in Section 216 of the Rules. The Flashing Yellow or amber light(s) shall be top mount and visible to approaching traffic from the front and the rear of the Pilot Escort Vehicle. 

    2. Two methods of lighting are authorized by the Department as follows: 

    • Two AAMVA approved Yellow or Amber Flashing Lights mounted on each side of the required top mounted sign. These shall be a minimum of 6 inches in diameter with a capacity of 60 flashes per minute with warning lights illuminated at all times during operation and visible for 360 degrees for at least 500 feet, or 
    • An AAMVA approved yellow or amber rotating, oscillating, or flashing beacon/light bar mounted on top of the pilot escort vehicle. This beacon/light bar must be unobstructed and visible for 360 degrees for at least 500 feet. 
    • Incandescent, strobe or diode (LED) lights may be used provided they meet the above criteria. 
    • The Pilot Escort Vehicle shall use its headlights at all times during operation when escorting an Extra-legal Vehicle or Load. 

    Pilot Escort Vehicle Equipment Requirements

    Pilot Escort vehicles shall be equipped with the following safety items: 

    1. Standard 18 inch or 24 inch red/white “STOP” and black/orange “SLOW” paddle signs. Construction zone flagging requires the 24-inch sign. 
    2. At least three reflective bi-directional triangles or their equivalent. 
    3. Eight red-burning flares, glow sticks or equivalent illumination device approved by the Department. 
    4. Three orange traffic cones which are a minimum of 18 inches high with a 6 inch reflective collar. 
    5. Flashlight, with a minimum 1 1⁄2 inch lens diameter, with extra batteries or charger (emergency type shake or crank will not be allowed), and a 6 inch minimum length red or orange cone flashlight for use when directing traffic.
    6. Orange or white hardhat and Class 2 or Class 3 reflective high visibility safety vest for each person involved in pilot escort operations. Class 3 reflective vests are required for operations during hours of darkness. 
    7. For front escort vehicles piloting loads greater than 16’ high, a height-measuring pole with a non-conductive tip, made of non-destructive, flexible material. Compression fittings must be accompanied by a secondary means of securement. Compression fittings alone are not allowed. A Pilot Escort Vehicle shall use a Height pole at all times when escorting an Extra-legal Vehicle or Load exceeding sixteen feet in Height, unless otherwise expressly authorized by the Department on the permit. The Height pole shall not extend more than six inches above the maximum Height of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load the Pilot Escort Vehicle is escorting. When the Pilot Escort Vehicle is not escorting an Extra-legal Vehicle or Load but is moving on the Highway, the Height pole shall be removed, tied down, or shortened to within Legal Limits. 
    8. One 5 lb B.C. fire extinguisher or one 10 lb A.B.C. fire extinguisher for Pilot Escorts of Hazardous Materials. 
    9. A minimum of two red or orange flags mounted to the top of the vehicle at approximately 45 degree angles and not extending more than 6 inches on either side of the vehicle. 
    10. One spare “oversize load” sign, a minimum of 5 feet wide by 10 inches high or a maximum of 7 feet wide by 18 inches high. 
    11. At least 2 Handheld two-way simplex radios or other form of communication for operations outside pilot escort vehicles. 
    12. First aid kit must be clearly marked. 
    13. Serviceable spare tire, tire jack and lug wrench. 
    14. 2 CCR 601-4 

    Vehicles shall not have unauthorized equipment on or in the vehicle similar to that used by emergency or law enforcement personnel. This equipment includes, but is not limited to, the following: 

    • A lamp or device that is designed to display, or that is capable of displaying if affixed or attached to the vehicle, a red or blue light visible directly in front of the center of the vehicle. 
    • A flashing, oscillating, or rotating red light, blue light, white light, or blue light in combination with white. 
    • An audible device such as a siren or a horn that, if used, would give other drivers the impression that they must yield the right-of-way or pull over. 

    3. The operator of the Pilot Escort Vehicle shall use the Pilot Escort Vehicle and the equipment described herein only in compliance with the Rules. 

    4. When a Pilot Escort Vehicle is not escorting an Extra-legal Vehicle or Load but is moving on the Highway, the signs described in Section above of the Rules shall either be removed or covered, and the Flashing Yellow or Amber Lights described in Section 504.1 of the Rules shall not be operated. 

    Pilot Escort Vehicles Operating Conditions 

    A Pilot Escort Vehicle is prohibited from escorting more than one Extra-legal Vehicle or Load at the same time, unless expressly so authorized under a Chapter 6 Special permit. 

    Tillerman operations will not be performed by the Pilot Escort Vehicle driver/operator or by a passenger in the Pilot Escort Vehicle that is escorting the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load. 

    When the Pilot Escort Vehicle is in front of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load being escorted, the operator shall: 

    • Warn oncoming traffic of the presence of the Vehicle or Load by use of lights and signs as provided in Sections 503.1 and 504.1 of the Rules. 
    • Notify the driver of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load by two-way radio of all hazards; overhead clearances; obstructions; traffic congestion; pedestrians; and any other circumstances evident to the operator that could affect either the safe movement of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load, the safety of the traveling public, or the efficient movement of traffic in sufficient time for the driver of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load to take remedial action, as necessary. 
    • 506.5.1.2 When the movement of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load on a particular section of State Highway presents a safety risk or unreasonably interferes with the efficient movement of other traffic, based upon such factors as the Widths of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load and the roadway, volume of other traffic, visibility and limited sight distance, and mountainous terrain; or 
    • 506.5.1.3 When driving conditions for the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load are hazardous for any other reason, including weather. When the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load has been stopped pursuant to this Subsection D, the Pilot Escort driver shall then direct other traffic past the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load, as necessary, until such time as the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load can re-enter the roadway and continue moving without presenting a safety risk or unreasonably interfering with the efficient movement of other traffic. 

    When directing traffic in the situations described in this Section, Pilot Escort driver shall: 

    • Stand outside the Pilot Escort Vehicle; 
    • Use the paddle signs and other equipment identified in Section above; and 
    • Comply with the flagging procedures and requirements described in Section 6E.01 through Section 6E.05 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (M.U.T.C.D.) 

    Traffic lights procedure: 

    • If the front Pilot Escort Vehicle goes through a traffic light but the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load does not, then the Pilot Escort Vehicle must pull over to the right side of the Highway, where practicable, to wait for the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load. 
    • If the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load goes through the traffic light but the rear Pilot Escort Vehicle does not, then the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load cannot proceed under the provisions of the permit to have a rear Pilot Escort. 

    Pilot Escort drivers are responsible for all requirements utilizing pilot escorts. 

    Convoy of Extra-Legal Vehicles or Loads 

    The movement of more than one permitted vehicles in convoy is not allowed except when that authorization is specifically stated on the oversize/overweight transport permit. 

    Trip Planning and Coordination Requirements 508.1 Pre-trip planning shall be done as follows: 

    A coordination and planning meeting shall be held prior to load movement. The meeting can be held at the roadside when the required parties come together to organize the trip. The required parties may include some or all of the following: the driver(s) carrying or pulling the oversize load(s), the pilot escort vehicle driver(s), law enforcement officers (if assigned), Department personnel (if involved), and public utilities company representatives (if involved). This meeting shall include discussion and coordination on the conduct of the move, including at least the following topics: 

    • The person designated as being in charge. 
    • Authorized routing and permit conditions. Pilot Escort drivers shall ensure that all copies of permit and routing documentation is distributed to all appropriate individuals involved with the permitted load movement. 
    • Coordination of the communication and signals to be used. 
    • A verification or measurement of load dimensions with permitted dimensions shall be done jointly by the operator of the Extra-Legal Vehicle or Load and the Pilot Escort driver. 

    The operator of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load and the Pilot Escort driver shall comply with the following procedures: 

    • Discuss aspects of the move, including the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load, the route, and specific responsibilities. 
    • Review the permit conditions and distribute copies of the OS/OW permit to each Pilot Escort driver. 
    • Review the permitted route with the highway restrictions specified in the Rules, Bridge Weight Limit map, Height Restriction map, Pilot Escort and Oversize Restriction map and the Transport permit. 

    During the trip the operator of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load and the Pilot Escort driver shall comply with the following procedures: 

    1. Obey all traffic laws.
    2. Maintain proper distance between the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load and the Pilot Escort Vehicle.

    The Pilot Escort driver shall not follow or precede Extra-legal Vehicle or Load more closely than is reasonably prudent, considering the speed of the Extra-legal Vehicle or Load, other traffic, and Highway conditions, Determine the proper position of the Pilot Escort Vehicle(s). Check mandatory equipment. Mount signs, adjust mirrors, and turn on lights. Check each 2-way radio to ensure clear communication on a selected channel. 

    The Pilot Escort driver shall be close enough to warn other traffic of Extra-legal Vehicle or Load. 

    Denials, Suspensions and Revocations of Pilot Escort Driver Certification 

    Reasons for denials, suspensions, revocations 

    Pilot escort drivers may have their certification revoked by the Department if convicted of a disqualifying offense. 

    The certification may be revoked on the date and to the extent the Pilot Escort driver’s motor vehicle driver's license is canceled, suspended or revoked or if conviction of a drug and alcohol related offense, or if a single moving violation penalty assessment of 6 or more points have been assessed against the driver’s license pursuant to §42-2-122 to §42-2-208, C.R.S. The Pilot Escort driver must notify the Department immediately of any such cancellation, suspension or revocation, and must provide to the Department a copy of any written notice of same. 

    The Department may revoke for first offenses up to one year or the term of the driver’s license revocation, which ever is longer, after which time the applicant may reapply for a new certification by submitting a new application as required in these rules. Subsequent offenses may result in permanent revocation of Pilot Escort driver certification. 

    In addition, the Department may deny, suspend or revoke a certificate, pursuant to §24-4-104 and §24-4-105, C.R.S., for: 

    • Failure to satisfy the requirements of Section 500 above, or failure to give the required or correct information on the application for certification as a Pilot Escort driver, or the commission of any fraud in making the application. 
    • Violation of the Rules. 
    • Failure to notify the Department of any cancellation, suspension, or revocation of the operator's motor vehicle driver's license by the “DMV” within five working days of the Pilot Escort driver’s receipt of notice of the same. 
    • Conduct while operating a motor vehicle or a Pilot Escort Vehicle, which, as determined by the Department, threatens the public safety or welfare of Highway users or creates unreasonable interference with the efficient movement of traffic. 
    • Allowing or permitting an uncertified person to operate a Pilot Escort Vehicle under the Pilot Escort driver's supervision or direction. 


    Source of information https://www.codot.gov/business/permits/truckpermits/documents/rulesregsread.pdf 

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