Permitting Rules

Title 23, DMV Rule No. 25. Rules and Instructions Governing Overweight and Over Dimension Vehicle Permits.  The following Rules and Instructions applies to all Permits issued by the State of Vermont unless stated otherwise.

23 VSA §1400 and §1402 empower the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to issue overweight or over dimension permits for the operation or movement of a vehicle over state highways and certain town highways in excess of the legal limit. The Commissioner may make regulations subject to which the vehicle must be operated. The approval may be given for a limited or unlimited length of time and may be withdrawn for cause. In addition, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may deny permits for just cause including, but not limited to, providing false information on applications, continued violation of the rules governing overweight/over dimension operation and/or repeated violation of similar offenses. The policy of the Department is to give consideration to the safety and convenience of the general public and the protection of the highway systems of this state. The legislature, in setting forth certain statutory limitations, intended to protect the public from hazard and unnecessary inconvenience and to preserve the highways.

PERMITS ISSUED TO REGISTRANT: Permits must be issued in the name of the registrant and match the registration certificate.

TRANSFER OF PERMITS: Annual Permits may only be transferred in conjunction with the truck registration for an administrative fee.  

HOURS OF OPERATION: Travel with vehicles and/or loads which are over width, over length or over height shall be restricted to daylight hours and movement shall be made between thirty (30) minutes before sunrise to thirty (30) minutes after sunset. Vehicles, which are overweight only and are capable of traveling with the traffic flow, are not restricted to daylight travel time. On highways where traffic is heavy during certain hours, it may be necessary to further restrict the movement to certain hours of the day or to certain days of the week.

SATURDAY, SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY OPERATIONS: Loads over ten feet, six inches (10’ 6”) wide or over one hundred feet (100’) long or in excess of one hundred eight thousand (108,000) pounds must abide by the holiday restrictions. On state highways unless otherwise stated, permits will not be issued for movement of loads in excess of one hundred eight thousand (108,000) pounds, or over ten feet, six inches (10’ 6”) wide or over one hundred feet (100’) long on any Saturday, Sunday, any Friday afternoon between July 1 and Labor Day, or on the following legal holidays as observed in the State of Vermont:

  • New Year’s Day: January 1st
  • Martin Luther King Day: 3rd Monday in January
  • President’s Day: 3rd Monday in February
  • Memorial Day: Last Monday in May
  • Independence Day: July 4th• Labor Day: 1st Monday in September
  • Columbus Day: 2nd Monday in October
  • Veteran’s Day: November 11th
  • Thanksgiving Day: 4th Thursday in November
  • Christmas Day: December 25th

If a holiday falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday is a legal holiday; if a holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is a legal holiday and these days are restricted as other holidays. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may further restrict the movement of oversize and overweight vehicles before and after certain holidays if deemed necessary.

INCLEMENT WEATHER: No travel is allowed during any ice condition, sleet, freezing rain, slush or combination thereof or any snow accumulation to the extent it is heavy enough to stick to the highway surface. Similarly, no travel is allowed during any period of rain or other weather that requires the use of windshield wipers in the “steady” on position by users of the highway, or when visibility is reduced by fog or any of the conditions previously listed to the extent the load is not readily identifiable by users of the highway at a distance of a quarter (¼) mile. At all times roads must be safe and clear enough to allow traffic to pass. Roads must be clear and free of water which causes spray or mist that interferes with the visibility of other vehicles. When such conditions exist during a trip, permitted vehicles must exit the road at the first available safe location where vehicle and load can park without impeding traffic until the weather conditions clear and/or until the road conditions improve.

SPEED: The Commissioner may prescribe maximum speeds below legal limits for hazardous loads or conditions. State highways speed is limited to forty-five (45) miles per hour for loads in excess of ninety thousand (90,000) pounds or ten feet (10’) in width or thirteen feet, six inches (13’ 6”) in height or seventy-five feet (75’) in length. Interstate highways maximum speed shall be sixty (60) miles per hour unless otherwise specified. Speed may be restricted further on specific roads or portions of roads as required to ensure safe movement of over dimension loads.

POSTED ROADS: During winter thaws, rainy periods or when frost begins to melt, the Agency of Transportation may post state highways. Permits DO NOT supersede road postings.

FLAGGERS: Flaggers, wearing reflective traffic vests, may be required for over dimension or overweight loads. The purpose of the flagger is to protect traffic when entering or leaving main highways and to assist the driver at locations where visibility is reduced or obscured.

SIGNS/SIGN REQUIREMENTS: Oversize load sign(s) required:    

  • For over eight feet, six inches (8' 6") width.
  • For over thirteen feet, six inches (13' 6") height.
  • For over seventy five feet (75') in length.
  • For over forty-six feet (46') for single vehicles.

This sign shall be at least seven feet (7’) long by eighteen inches (18”) high with yellow background and black lettering. Letters shall be at least ten inches (10”) high with a one and one-quarter inch (1¼”) brush stroke. The sign shall be made of durable material that will not be affected by inclement weather and kept in legible condition. It shall read “OVERSIZE LOAD”. A similar sign that is allowed in other states will be accepted. The sign must be securely attached to the front most portion and rear most portion of the load or vehicle. The sign must be covered or removed when not making an oversize move. If a load consists of an over length object such as a pole or beam, the sign need not be seven feet (7’) long but must be of a sufficient size to clearly display the same size lettering as described.

MAXIMUM WEIGHT: No vehicle or combination of vehicles shall be operated upon the highways of this state when the gross weight on the road surface through any wheel thereof exceeds six hundred (600) pounds per inch of tire width. (Manufacturer’s designation shall be used for computing tire width.) Any permit issued shall not be valid upon the state highways, state aid or town roads or bridges that are posted for a lower road limit than the gross weight of the vehicle and load.

FLAGS/LIGHTS: Flags are required on all oversize loads. The flag must be bright or fluorescent red or orange and have a minimum size of eighteen inches by eighteen inches (18” x 18”). They shall be displayed on all four corners (or as close as practicable) of all loads or vehicles that exceed the legal dimensions. Flags shall be in such condition as to be easily distinguished from a reasonable distance. All warning flags shall be secured by at least one corner or mounted on a staff.

  1. Over Width Loads: At least four (4) flags mounted at the corners of the vehicle if the vehicle is oversize and at the corners of the load if the load is oversize. In cases of irregular shaped loads such additional flags as may be necessary to mark the widest extremities of the load.
  2. Over length loads or loads with rear or front end overhang in excess of four feet (4’) shall display one flag at the end of the overhang if less than two feet (2’) wide and two (2) flags if the overhang is two feet (2’) wide or more.
  3. Commercial motor vehicles as defined in 49 CFR 390.5; Such vehicles must have lights installed and operable on the projecting loads as required by 49 CFR 393.11 Footnotes 9 & 10.

ESCORT VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: Escort vehicles are required when the vehicle and/or load meet or exceed the following dimensions or at the discretion of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles or his/her authorized representative:

  • Wide load of twelve feet (12’) or greater.
  • Long load of eighty feet (80’) or greater.
  • Overhang of fifteen feet (15’) or greater.

An escort vehicle must be at least the size of a compact car or larger. Escort vehicles must maintain two-way radio contact with the permitted vehicle at all times. The escort vehicle must be equipped with a flashing amber light above the highest point of the vehicle or a combination of lights visible from 360 degrees. An escort vehicle preceding an oversize load shall have a sign on the front reading “OVERSIZE LOAD” and an escort vehicle following shall have a sign on the rear reading “OVERSIZE LOAD”. These signs shall have ten inch (10”) black letters one and one-quarter inch (1¼”) brush stroke on a yellow background at least five feet (5’) long and twelve inches high (12”). Signs must be maintained in a legible condition. The signs must be covered or removed when the escort vehicle is not accompanying an oversize load. The escort vehicle must maintain proper spacing between itself and the oversize load so as to adequately warn approaching vehicles. When one escort is required, it shall precede a load on undivided highways and follow the load on divided highways. Escort vehicle headlights shall be on low beam during all moves. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles or his/her authorized representative may require two or more escort vehicles.

CONVOY OPERATIONS: There shall be a minimum spacing of one thousand feet (1,000’) between permitted vehicles when two (2) or more permitted vehicles are traveling together.

USE OF TRAVEL LANES: When two or more lanes are available in one direction, vehicles shall travel in the right lane except in an emergency or to comply with any other restrictions established by the state.

SLOW MOVING VEHICLES: All slow moving vehicles shall keep as close to the right hand side of the highway as practicable. A person operating a motor vehicle impeding other traffic on a highway shall pull off the highway at the first safe haven to allow the traffic to pass before proceeding.

PARKED OVERSIZE LOADS: Any oversize load, when parked at other than its place of origin or destination, shall conspicuously display the name and telephone number of a party that, at all hours can see to its immediate removal or security if needed. These markings shall be easily legible.

CARRYING PERMITS: The permit, or a legible permit facsimile, must be carried in the vehicle. The permit shall be available for inspection by any enforcement officer or representative of the Department of Motor Vehicles or Agency of Transportation empowered to issue such permit during movement authorized by the permit.

ONLY ONE VEHICLE ON A PERMIT: Only one vehicle or combination vehicle will be allowed on each permit.

DEPARTMENT JURISDICTION: The permit will be effective only insofar as the Department has jurisdiction and authority and it does not release the applicant from complying with other existing laws, local ordinances or conditions which may govern the movement.

COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS: The acceptance of a permit by the applicant is his/her agreement that the vehicle or object can and will be moved strictly in compliance with the terms and the conditions set forth in the permit. This includes regulations listed on or accompanying the permit, the DMV Rule and with the conditions that the operator and vehicles are properly licensed and the applicant has complied with all legal requirements imposed by the Vermont Motor Vehicle laws.

RESPONSIBILITY: The applicant shall assume all responsibility for injury to persons or damage to public or private property caused directly or indirectly by the transportation of vehicle or loads under the permit. Furthermore, the applicant agrees to hold the State of Vermont, Agency of Transportation, and the Department of Motor Vehicles harmless from all suits, claims, damages or proceedings of any kind as a direct or indirect result of the transportation of the vehicle and/or load.

VIOLATION OF PERMIT CONDITIONS: A Permit may be voided and confiscated by any law enforcement officer and is automatically invalidated for the trip by the violation of any condition specified in the terms of the permit, these rules and regulations or by false information given on the application.

Related Forms & Information

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Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
120 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05603-0001

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