What is the Highest Load Without a Permit?

If you are an independent entrepreneur or own a trucking company in the United States, there are various permits you are required to have. You will need trucking permits to drive from state to state, pay taxes on gas, and carry certain items or products. Additionally, if you drive an oversized truck, you must get a special permit.

Checking the truck load against the necessary permit.

photo credit: Tima Miroshnichenko / Pexels

Because the weight limit depends significantly on what state you are going through, understanding the legal requirements for every state is vital.

DOT Numbers

If your truck weighs more than 10,000 pounds and drives state lines, you need a UDFOD number. More than that, you will need one if you carry items or materials that are considered hazardous and require placarding.

Kentucky Permits

Suppose you drive through Kentucky. If your vehicle weighs more than 59,999 pounds, you need special permits, and you must pay a tax for every mile you drive.

Oregon Permits

When it comes to Oregon, the state takes its air quality and road exceptionally seriously, requiring truckers and trucking companies to get a permit to run a vehicle that weighs more than 26,000 pounds. You must obtain an overweight truck permit if your truck has over 80,000 pounds. But if your vehicle weighs over 105,500 pounds, either loaded or unloaded, you will not be allowed to drive through Oregon.

New Mexico Permits

While New Mexico is one of the most beautiful states you might be driving through, the view comes with a price. If your truck weighs more than 26,000 pounds, you need to get a highway permit, with costs 59$ for the first truck and $39 for any other truck you have.

Permits for Oversized Trucks

If you are driving an oversized truck, you need an oversized vehicle permit. It is vital to know that almost every state considers an oversized truck to have over 80,000 pounds. In addition, the height of an oversized vehicle is between 13 feet 6 inches and 14 feet, while the width is 8 feet 6 inches. The single exception to the rule is Nevada, where you will only need such a permit if you drive a rig weighing over 129,000 pounds.

Separately, most American states have a weight limit of for one axle, 20,340 pounds, and for tandem axles, which is 34,000 pounds. Please remember that if you are driving through multiple states, you must have a permit for each one.

Other Things You Should Consider

Operating a wide to oversized load can involve much work and other things to consider. Some states have additional requirements, such as limited driving hours, escorting vehicles, flags, or banners. Some roads might need to be shut down so you can drive your oversized truck on them, but you will likely have to pay additional fees.

Insurance is also something you need to consider, often being more expensive for oversized vehicles. The type of cargo and the volume you will be allowed to haul will justify the costs.

Delivering oversize loads might be challenging, but sometimes is the most efficient way to get your products from point A to point B. However, because there are many restrictions and laws related to the shipment of wide loads, being informed is crucial.

Luckily, there are trucking compliance companies that can obtain the trucking permits you need. In fact, any small trucking company should engage the services of a compliance company, as failure to get the needed permits can result in heavy fees.


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