If you drive on a Texas highway on any given day, you likely encounter several trucks, eighteen-wheelers, or big loads being hauled across the state. Whether it’s goods to be delivered to stores, construction equipment, or other cargo, the transportation of these items is an essential part of the supply chain. The trucking industry plays an important role in the state’s economy and in the state’s supply chains, as many goods are transported via this means. The demand for freight transportation has increased over the past few years given a growing economy.
So how do these goods get transported and how does the state regulate the safety to ensure that other Texas motorists remain safe on the road?
Here’s what you need to know.
Texas Trucking Industry Standards for Compliance
Texas has a border that spans almost 2,000 miles. Because of this large border with neighboring Mexico, the state dominates the trade with our Southern neighbor and is responsible for about 85% of the cross-country trade. As reported by the Texas Department of Transportation, over $1.6 trillion (equal to about 1.2 billion tons of freight) are traversed within the state’s border every year. Due to the state’s central geographic location, truck drivers can reach any other place in the country in less than two days. This means that a lot of traffic passes through the state’s highway system heading in multiple directions.
Standard Loads and Permits in Texas
The types of permits that truckers need really depend on the size and load weight of the freight being transported. For companies or contractors shipping heavy equipment or materials, these rules also apply as per TxDot. Here are a couple of weight and height amounts that provide an idea of what this all means.
- Legal loads: Length: the trailer length maximum is about 59 feet. The overall combined length is 65 feet. The width is 8 feet 6 inches with a 14 ft height limit. The weight is 80,000 pounds overall.
- Oversized limits: The maximum length for this is 180 and the width is 20 feet. The height is 18 feet with the weight ranging up to 240,000 pounds.
Texas Superloads and What You Need to Know
A Texas superload is considered anything that outweighs the above limits. So if it exceeds 240,000 pounds and less than 95 feet of axle spacing, it may be considered a Texas superload.
Restrictions on when these loads and superloads are driven on the roads also apply. For example, if a shipment is overweight it can travel at night. Traveling on weekends is also permitted. Travel on certain holidays when the load exceeds a certain weight and height is also restricted.
Lights and Safety When Carrying Oversize Loads
Other restrictions about how certain loads are carried also apply here. For example, when dealing with oversized and superloads, the tractor-trailer unit is required to showcase its own orange or red fluorescent lights. In fact, the requirements are pretty precise indicating, for example, that the base lights have a minimum base of 8 inches or 2 amber lights.
When it comes to certain sized loads, escort vehicles might also be required. You may have seen these vehicles before when a large load is moving through a highway. These are the side vehicles that carry signs, lights or keep a lane open for an overhanging load.
Examples of Loads on Texas Highways
Everything and anything can be transported via the highway. Some of the many types of heavy loads and TxDot permits may include:
- Manufactured housing single-trip
- Portable building
- Super heavy
- House move
- Crave and well service unit mileage
- Self-propelled off-road equipment
When transporting goods within a state, an important distinction to make includes interstate and intrastate. When a shipment or load leaves Texas borders, it is generally referred to as interstate shipment or travel. Yet, this is the source of some confusion because it is often the load that determines the restrictions the driver and company must follow and not the final destination of the shipment.
There are a lot of rules and regulations when it comes to weight, inspections, and more. The state has placed heavy regulations in ensuring the safety and adequate training and screening of drivers, requiring trucking insurance, and regulating the weight and size of shipments that are interacting with day-to-day commuters.
Learn More About Texas Trucking Permits with Border Trucking Compliance
Following state guidelines is essential to maintaining the good standing of your company. It also avoids fines or citations, plus providing specific safety protocols and requirements to follow to keep Texas drivers and your drivers safe.
Want to learn more? We know the law is always changing and can be confusing. Connect with Border Trucking Compliance today.