California OSOW Permits

Updated: Sep 2

Permits valid for five days. The permit fees vary for California.


Continuous travel normally allowed if the load does not require escorts, detours off of state routes, and does not exceed a 2-vehicle configuration. The load must be lighted for night travel.


Restricted times (no travel) for loads over 10' wide, Monday through Friday: Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego areas: 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. & 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Los Angeles area: 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. & 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. *San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge: 6:30 – 9:00 a.m. & 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. *Over 11' wide or overheight require highway patrol escort. Over 12' wide restricted to 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. Call 707-648-4180. Holiday travel restrictions usually apply only for larger loads – check with the Sammons Permits Office.


Width: 8'6"

Height: 14' (overheight not permitted on flat-bed, see next section)

Length: 75' (65' on non-designated highways), 48' semitrailer. Note: 53' semi-trailers are not legal unless the kingpin to the center of the rear axle does not exceed 40'. Longer trailers can be permitted only if they are stretched for a specific load, or it can otherwise be justified by the load.

Overhang: 10', as long as length including overhang does not exceed 75' overall.

Weight: 80,000 Gross Steer – 12,500 Single – 20,000 Tandem – 34,000 Tridem – depends on axle spread Spread Axle Tandem (10' – 10'2" spread) is legal at 40,000 (20,000 – 20,000)


Width: 15'

Height: Depends on route. Over legal height not permitted on a flat-bed trailer unless the load length justifies the use of flatbed.

Length: Generally up to 135'

Overhang: When rear overhang puts the tractor/trailer over 75' total length, California may deny a permit and require the load to be on a stretch trailer. Weight: Steer – 12,500 Single – 20,000 Tandem – 46,000* Tridem – 58,061 to 60,000* *These vary depending on axle spacings and routes (ex: Tridem with 9' of spacings can get 59,168 pounds). Spread axle tandems (8' – 10'2 spread) can only have 40,000 pounds maximum. Tridems with over 10' spacing (5' – 5') can only be permitted for 40,000 pounds maximum. Over 15' wide, 17' high or 135' long are considered super loads.


Width: Over 12' – 1 escort (Some local routes may need escort under 12'). Over 13' on 2-lane – 2 escorts on some routes Over 14'11" on Interstate and 4-lane – 2 escorts. Over 16' (over 15' on 2-lane) also needs CHP escorts (3 CHPs).

Height: Over 17' – 1 escort, utility clearance, and route survey. CHP escorts may also be required. If an escort is desired for a lower height, it must be stated on the permit, or you will be subject to a fine.

Length: Over 100' on some routes – 1 escort; over 120' – 1 escort.

Overhang: Over 25' front or rear – 1 or more escorts.


No rear overhang is allowed for loaded shipping containers, 5' rear allowed for empties. Overheight not permitted for shipping containers. Buckets, blades, counterweights do not need to be removed. The blade can be detached and hauled on the same trailer with an overweight dozer, but a permit must state it (“blade detached and reloaded”). Permits are not issued for tow-aways without an inspection report on the tow-away unit, or CalTrans permission and inspection appointment. If the tow-away unit is not registered, it also needs a temporary CA registration, which will be ordered when the permit is ordered. Four-axle tractors must have a CA inspection report or permission and inspection appointment. Single axle jeeps and boosters must have a Caltrans inspection before they can be permitted in California.


Signs and flags are required on vehicles over 8'6" wide, over 80' long, or with over 10' overhang. Signs are also required when overweight only. For night running, amber marker lights are required at the front corners of the load and one on left outside extreme edge, visible from front and sides, and red at rear corners visible from rear and sides. Los Angeles County also requires the amber lights at all protrusions and at 5-foot intervals completely around the load (and red in the rear), not over 5 feet above ground level. When a rear overhang is 4' or greater, it requires at least two lights or a rear light bar at night. Rear light bar not needed on long load in daylight unless turn Gary Bergman March 2012 signals and brake lights are hidden by the load.

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