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Best Practices in Permitting of Oversize and Overweight Vehicles: Final Report


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The Pilot Car Training and Certification Best Practices Criteria were developed using the results of the National Pilot Car Association interviews and the reviews of the 2016 Pilot/Escort Vehicle Operator (P/EVO) Best Practices Guidelines, the P/EVO Law Enforcement Best Practices, and the P/EVO Model Certification Framework Whitepaper and are presented in Table 6.

Table 6. Proposed pilot car training and certification best practices criteria.
Best Practice

Safety Benefit

Efficiency Benefit

FHWA Pilot Car/Law Enforcement Best Practice Resources

  • Best Practices Guidelines.
  • Best Practices Guidelines for Law Enforcement Escorts.
  • Training Manual.
  • Student Study Guide.
  • Certification Course.
  • Safer Roads.
  • Preservation of Infrastructure.
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Program Management

  • State had designated lead agency responsible for program management and oversight.
  • State-established certification and recertification criteria.
  • State-approved training and certification program.
  • Training satisfies State certification requirements.


  • Training is consistent with and meets State requirements.


Reciprocity with Other States

  • Pilot/Escort Vehicle Operator (P/EVO) crossing State lines have received training in core competencies and safe operations.
  • P/EVOs able to operate in multiple States with approved training certificate.


  • Law enforcement are trained in P/EVO operations.
  • Enforcement inspections of OS/OW loads includes check of P/EVO certification.
  • Law enforcement are trained in P/EVO operations.

Training and Certification

  • Addresses core competencies.
    • Pre-trip planning, including route surveys.
    • Pre-trip safety meeting.
    • Load movement and communications.
    • Traffic control.
    • Railroad crossings.
    • Tall loads and overhead obstructions.
    • Tillerman operations.
    • Emergency procedures.
    • Post-trip review.
  • Issuance of certificate contingent on passing final course exam.
  • P/EVOs are at a minimum provided with training on all aspects of pilot escort operations.
  • P/EVOs must demonstrate at a minimum understanding of core competencies.
  • Training can be delivered by any State-approved provider as long as training is consistent with State requirements.


Table 7 lists 14 States currently with some form of pilot training/certification programs. Column two lists States that accept/honor certifications from other States. Column three lists the websites for reference.

Table 7. State pilot car certifications.
State Reciprocity States



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AZ, CO, FL, NC, OK, OR, UT, VA, & WA. We accept AZ, CO, UT but they do not reciprocate with us. We reciprocate (it goes both ways) with NC, FL, OK, VA, and WA.




Reciprocity: FL, GA, OK, WA. Accept certifications: CO, MN, NY, NC, UT, VA


No other certifications accepted.



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Accept certifications in GA, CO/UT (RSA Network), NC, VA

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AZ, CO, FL, MN, NC, OK, VA, WA,V:393,26372




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NPCA and its representatives have played a significant role in recent developments involving State pilot training/certification, including participation in drafting the recently published FHWA Pilot Car Training and Certification Best Practices.

As part of this report, NPCA President Mike Morgan of Pit Row Services, Inc. was interviewed and provided the following response:

"After the Skagit River bridge collapse in 2013, it was apparent that we as a nation needed to revisit the idea of a National Certification Program for the nation's P/EVOs. The 2004 Best Practices material no longer met the needs of an expanding industry. As the loads continue to grow ever larger, we must seek ways to protect the public, infrastructure, and the loads themselves. The newly released 2017 Best Practices is much more in depth as to the responsibilities of all parties that are required to move the oversize loads across this nation. The current dilemma we face now is getting all States on the same page and having them require PEVOs to be adequately trained. There are currently only 12 States that have some type of certification to ensure the safety of their motoring public. This needs to change as quickly as possible.

The questions that face us now is how do we get the remaining States to buy in and use the Best Practices to their advantage. Many new questions must be answered, as to the amount of insurance and type of insurance. Currently, States and trucking firms require General Liability and Auto Liability, which does not provide enough coverage to instill a professional atmosphere. The current PEVO bears no responsibility when accidents happen because their vehicle must be involved in the accident. The PEVO industry realizes this and with no responsibility comes a non-professional PEVO. The answer to this is to demand that every PEVO carry Errors and Omissions Insurance, which simply means that if due to deficient performance on the part of the PEVO they are tied to the accident without being involved in the actual crash or the damage to the State's infrastructure.

Another question that has surfaced is how do we measure the knowledge of a newly certified PEVO? Many programs currently allow for open book tests, and it is my belief that this allows for sub-standard PEVO to make their way into our industry. Not everyone is able to become a PEVO and a closed book test would ensure that future PEVO would commit the knowledge to memory, which would better serve the industry. We addressed the principal part of training, and the industry for the most part has totally ignored the practical side of training. The PEVO driver is not unlike the truck driver, they must understand how the load, trailer, terrain, and many other areas affect the movement of the OS/OW load. This can only be accomplished by some degree of actual hands-on training. The evolution of the current truck schools, which has allowed for better truck drivers, is a good example of where and how the PEVO education process should be approached. I feel that the practical side of training will be an outgrowth of the certification process as more and more States realize the dangers in moving OS/OW loads.

The PEVO industry is deficient in several areas and two that are contributing to accidents are the lack of training for High Pole loads and Route Surveys. The conversation currently is leaning toward a tiered training program that would allow separate training on each of these and for possible endorsements on State licenses, not unlike a commercial driver's license (CDL), which would help trucking firms hire qualified individuals. The industry is experiencing entirely too much infrastructure damage due to surveys being done on Google maps and PEVOs not having the proper training on how to move high loads.

We at the NPCA strive to keep the 2017 Best Practices at the forefront of our industry, and this in part and with the continued effort from the Best Practices Advisory Council has led to a natural outgrowth of another newly formed group known as NAPVSA – North American Pilot Vehicle Safety Alliance – a group of stakeholders from all segments of the industry. This group of industry representatives is striving to create an atmosphere of cooperation between States, national government, trucking, PEVO, manufactures, and others to create a professional atmosphere for the benefit of the motoring public. They are currently diligently working on an agreement that will benefit all concerned. This agreement is clearly defining the responsibilities of all parties and what each should expect from each other."

Mr. Morgan is confident that the 2017 Best Practices is a good blueprint for advancing safety in an industry that is ready to embrace a better way of doing things. As States move forward with Best Practices and begin to realize that an effective way to improve safety, reduce infrastructure damage, and bring about harmonization is through the combined effort of certification. Another benefit is the PEVO industry will indeed begin to earn the respect it so desires.


North American Pilot Vehicle Safety Alliance (NAPVSA) was formed in 2016 as an outgrowth of the Advisory Council of the FHWA Pilot Best Practices project. Organizers report the organization is expected to eventually contain a diverse group of stakeholders from industries of pilots, specialized transportation carriers, insurance, legal, law enforcement, and government. Among NAPVSA's goals and objectives include:

  • To aid, support, and promote the safe movement of over-dimensional loads by providing leadership to the Pilot/Escort Industry, Transportation Industry, Law Enforcement, Governmental Agencies, and other affected Industries.
  • To be recognized as the international entity relating to the safe movement of over dimensional loads.

Leadership: To inspire, influence, and support all entities involved with the movement of over-dimensional loads.

Integrity: Providing aid, support, and assistance to those involved with the movement of over-dimensional loads.

Teamwork: Working together to achieve common goals and create partnerships to enhance our effectiveness.

Organization & Goals:

  • Identify individuals within the various industries and agencies that can aid and assist with the development of processes and procedures relating to the movement of over-dimensional loads
  • Develop a plan that would create a standardized format that will improve information dissemination between this entity, the Pilot/Escort Industry, the Transportation Industry and the effected Governmental Agencies.
  • Identify and utilize opportunities to convey the organizational message with the Pilot/Escort and Transportation Industry, elected officials, regulatory leaders, media, and the public as a whole.
  • Identify variations and or shortcomings in education and training requirements of all involved with the movement of an over-dimensional load and develop and promote standardization for North America.
  • Utilizing expertise, identify areas where information must be obtained so as to aid and assist in the decision-making processes.
  • Identify a format and or path to assist in the collection and use of accurate real-time data to drive insurance and risk issues.
  • Promote standardization of Laws, Rules, and Regulations relating to the movement of over-dimensional loads.
  • Promote standardized enforcement of size and weight Laws, Rules, and Regulations and education of Law Enforcement in compliance-related issues.
  • Promote the collaboration with national and international organizations with similar goals and values.
  • Influence positive public and private entity direction in all aspects of the movement of over-dimensional load throughout North America.

Charter members of NAPVSA include:

  • Ed Bernard, General Manager, Precision Specialized Division Inc.
  • Louis Juneau, President, NOVA Permits & Pilot Cars
  • Maureen Mandich, President, New York Truck Escort & Permits
  • Mike Morgan, President, Pit Row Services and National Pilot Car Association
  • Rick Radcliffe, High Transit LLC
  • Rob Simon, Vice President Heavy Haul, Bennett Motor Express
  • Randy Sorenson, President, RSA Network Inc.
  • Steven Todd, Vice President, Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association
  • Dan Wells, Manager, Colorado Department of Transportation

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