Legal Truck Overweight Permits for Essential Goods

For the past few months, under a temporary COVID-19 program, Caltrans issued blanket permits that increased the maximum allowable gross vehicle weight from 80,000 to 88,000 pounds for motor carriers transporting essential goods. This program expired on Saturday, July 11, 2020, and those permits are no longer valid.

Caltrans will be issuing special transportation permits for legal truck combinations to travel on the state highway system for transporting “essential goods” in support of COVID-19 relief. With this permit, the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) and California legal tractor trailer combinations will be allowed to exceed the current legal weight chart limits as per the Commercial Vehicle Code 35551 on the state highways identified on the permit. The combined gross vehicle weight shall not exceed 88,000 pounds. These special transportation permits will be valid through July 11, 2020, or the duration of the Presidentially-declared emergency, whichever is earlier. Please note that these special transportation permits are for state owned and operated routes only and not for local roads. Overweight trucks transporting essential goods will have to get permits from local jurisdictions to travel on local roads.

For the purpose of permitting the qualifying loads, “Essential Goods” are defined as:

  1. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  2. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
  3. Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores
  4. immediate precursor raw materials -- such as paper, plastic or alcohol -- that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items in categories (1), (2) or (3)
  5. Fuel
  6. Liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems
  7. Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19
  8. Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes
  9. Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response

Delivery of essential goods outlined above does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency response.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please visit the FMCSA COVID-19 webpage for the Expanded Emergency Declaration or contact the Permit Office at (916) 322-1297.