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Florida Pilot Cars / Escort Vechicle Requirements

When escort vehicles are required:

If the load exceeds…





You must have

8 ft. 6 in.

65 ft.

13 ft. 6 in.


12 ft.


95 ft.

14 ft. 6 in.

One escort

14 ft.


250 ft.*

16 ft.*

Two escorts

*One escort must be Law Enforcement Escort

Escort vehicles requirements:

Escorts accompanying overdimensional loads are limited to:

1) Law enforcement escorts: for nighttime moves; when required by permit pursuant to subsection 14-26.012(6), (7), or (8), F.A.C.; must be a currently certified law enforcement person having jurisdiction within the State of Florida.

2) Escorts qualified by another state’s authorizing agency.

3) Qualified escorts:

Up to and including July 1, 2000, escorts qualified by successfully completing a Department worksite traffic course currently offered by sponsors approved by the Department’s Maintenance of Traffic Committee will be allowed to escort overdimensional loads. Such sponsors are selected according to prior experience and performance record in presenting instruction courses, demonstrated course content and methods of instruction, familiarity with state and federal standards, and familiarity with Department goals and objectives for the training to be presented.

After July 1, 2000, the Department Worksite Traffic Course will no longer be recognized and will be replaced by a requirement to complete an Escort Qualification Course offered by Department approved sponsors.

Mandatory requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age and must possess a valid driver’s license in the state or jurisdiction in which he or she is a resident.
  • Must have successfully completed a minimum eight hour defensive driving course as provided by a National Safety Council qualified instructor or hold a currently valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (Class A, B, or C). The instructor shall not be an employee of the employing escort service.
  • Must have successfully completed a course in management of highway movements or oversize vehicles and loads and must be qualified to perform such functions within Florida or any other state in the nation. The qualification must be current and must be from an entity approved by the Department based upon that entity’s course content, methods of instruction, and familiarity with state and federal standards.
  • Shall maintain in his or her possession, for prompt presentation upon request by a law enforcement person or Department representative, a copy or copies of the qualification document or documents verifying completion of the courses required in subparagraphs 14-26.012(2)(b)2. and 3., F.A.C., above.
  • Shall be requalified every four years.

Escort Vehicle and Equipment Requirements for Non-Law Enforcement Escort Vehicles

Qualified escorts and flagpersons may, when actively escorting permitted loads, perform necessary traffic control functions as defined in Section 316.079(2), Florida Statutes.

Escort Vehicles.

  1. Escort vehicle(s) must be a single unit vehicle weighing more than 2,000 pounds with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating less than 15,000 pounds, must be properly licensed, and must be operated by a qualified escort.
  2. Identification signs or placards showing the name of the company or the owner or driver of the escort vehicle must be in a conspicuous place on both the right and left sides of the escort vehicle. The signs or placards shall be at least 8 inches × 12 inches, or contain the equivalent square inches, and shall also contain the telephone number of the owner or driver plainly legible and visible to the motoring public.
  3. All escort vehicles must be equipped with Class 2 amber warning lights that meet (Society of Automotive Engineers Recommended Practice) SAE J845 or SAE J1318, incorporated herein by reference. Copies of this document are available from the Department’s Permit Office.
  4. Escort vehicles shall display either a bumper mounted or a roof mounted yellow sign (or may display both) reading “OVERSIZE LOAD with black letters with a minimum brush stroke of 10 inches high and 11/2 inches wide, which must be visible from front and rear.
  5. Two flags, either red or fluorescent orange in color, which must be at least 12 inches × 12 inches, shall be mounted at approximately a 40 to 70 degree angle on the escort vehicle’s roof rack.

On board equipment. During escort operations, all escort vehicles shall have on board the following equipment and such equipment shall be in working order:

  1. Operable two-way electronic communications. Qualified escorts must be in radio contact with load drivers at all times during movements.
  2. Two five-pound fire extinguishers.
  3. “STOP” and “GO” or “STOP” and “SLOW” paddle (minimum 18 inches in diameter with 6 inch high letters).
  4. Safety orange vest, shirt, or jacket.
  5. One hand-held flag, either red or fluorescent orange in color, which must be at least 12 inches × 12 inches.
  6. Two oversized load banners (yellow with black lettering) (for use if the permitted vehicle or load loses its sign(s)).
  7. Hard hat (no color specified).
  8. Three reflective triangles or 18 inch traffic cones.
  9. For over height loads, the lead vehicle must have a height indicator, i.e., height pole.
  10. Additional equipment recommended, but not mandated: Hand-held two-way electronic communications; Flares or approved alternatives; Map(s); Height indicator for all loads.

Escort Functions. In cases where one qualified escort is required for an over width load, the qualified escort should precede the load on two lane highways or follow the load on four lane divided highways. In cases where two qualified escorts are required, one must precede the load and one must follow. If the load is over length only, the escort vehicle should be in the rear of the load at all times. Qualified escorts shall operate no more than 300 feet in front of or behind the load unless road conditions dictate otherwise.

Source of information:

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