OAR 734-075-0035
Pilot Vehicles


Pilot vehicle(s) may be needed to insure the safety of the traveling public when vehicle and load movements involve excessive width, height, length, or projections to the front or rear of vehicles or combinations of vehicles. The configuration of such pilot vehicles(s) must be a passenger car, pick-up, truck, or truck-tractor of legal size and weight. A pilot vehicle may not tow another vehicle.


Pilot vehicles escorting oversize loads or vehicles are required to have the following:


Warning signs mounted above the roofline of the vehicle. This sign must bear the legend “OVERSIZE LOAD.” The sign must be at least five feet wide by ten inches high; have black letters eight inches high with one-inch brush stroke in accordance with Federal Highway Administration series B, on highway yellow background. The sign must be displayed only during the course of the oversize movement, and must be removed or retracted at all other times. The sign must be clean, legible, and mounted adequately to afford full view at all times, when in use, to the front or rear depending upon location of pilot vehicle or relative to the oversize unit;


Warning lights are required in addition to those lights that may otherwise be required by law. The warning lights must be displayed only during the course of the oversize movement, and at all other times the requirements found in ORS 816.350 (Prohibitions on number and kind of lights for certain vehicles)(7) will apply. Strobe lights are allowed. These lights must be mounted above the roof of the cab, be clearly visible from 500 feet, have a minimum of 30 flashes per minute and be either:


Two flashing amber lights as widely spaced laterally as is practical;


Revolving type amber light(s); or


Amber type strobe light(s) with 360 degree visibility.


Two-way radio communications between the oversize vehicle and the pilot vehicle(s) must be maintained at all times;


Two 18-inch-square red or fluorescent orange flags mounted on three-foot length staffs must be carried by each pilot vehicle. The pilot vehicle operator will use the flags to warn oncoming or overtaking traffic when the oversize unit is stopped and obstructing traffic;


Eight safety flares or reflectors. Safety flares may not be used when the movement involves hazardous materials; and


For a load exceeding 14 feet 6 inches high, an over-height pole adequate to determine load clearance is required if the permittee has not provided the department with a signed official ODOT form assuming all liability for any damage that may occur during an over-height movement. Instructions for over-height pole use are found on Permit Attachment 75-A.


The number of pilot vehicles required for certain movements is shown on Permit Attachment 75-A, which is issued with permits requiring pilot vehicles. The Chief Engineer is authorized to alter the number of pilot vehicles from those specified in Permit Attachment 75-A depending upon local conditions, seasonal traffic, construction projects, or other considerations. The permit will reflect altered requirements. Further, units with an overall width not exceeding 12 feet that meet the warning lights requirements described in 734-075-0040 (Warning Lights for Power Units Transporting Oversize Units)(2) and (3) are exempt from rear pilot car requirements on Group 1 Highways unless specifically required by the permit or Chief Engineer.


Permit Attachment 75-A is available from the Commerce and Compliance Division, Over-Dimension Permit Unit.


The highway classification groups referred to in Permit Attachment 75-A are established by and maintained by the Chief Engineer.


Positioning of pilot vehicles — Unless specified otherwise, the pilot vehicle(s) must be positioned ahead of (when one is required) or to the front and rear of (when two or more are required) the oversize unit at a distance of 300 feet to 500 feet from the unit. In areas where increased traffic congestion is encountered, where traffic is controlled by signals, or where other conditions may so require, the spacing will be reduced as may be required to properly safeguard the traveling public.


When for any cause the oversize unit is stopped and occupies or encroaches onto the highway’s travel lane, the pilot vehicle(s) must be positioned to warn and safeguard other traffic approaching from any direction from which visibility or sight distance may be limited.


Duties of pilot vehicle operations:


Warn approaching or overtaking traffic of the unit’s presence on the highway to provide a maximum of protection and safety for the traveling public; and


When encountering bridges, structures, tunnels, or other locations where clearances may be limited to the extent that normal two-way traffic cannot be maintained, the pilot vehicle operator must signal by hand or radio to the towing vehicle driver when the oversize unit can proceed without conflict to approaching traffic. As the oversize unit then proceeds through such areas of impaired clearance, the pilot vehicle operator must warn approaching traffic.


Pilot vehicle(s) are considered to be under the direct control and supervision of the oversize vehicle operator.


Specific identified locations may require additional precautions. Permits will specify locations that require certified flagging to be conducted. The flagging must be conducted in accordance with the standards in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices as adopted in OAR 734-020-0005 (Traffic Control Devices).
[Publications: Publications referenced are available from the agency.]
Last Updated

Jun. 8, 2021

Rule 734-075-0035’s source at or​.us