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Office of Maintenance / Motor Carrier Size and Weight / MCSAW Questions and Answers

MCSAW Questions and Answers

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Questions and Answers concerning Motor Carriers

MCSAW Questions?

The following are common questions from the motoring public about Florida's Motor Carrier operations along with associated answers to these questions.

  • 1. Are rental trucks required to enter weigh stations (i.e. moving trucks)? What if I'm pulling a rental trailer with my personal vehicle?

    All Trucks Enter Weigh Station Sign ImageA. Yes, all trucks traveling along state maintained highways are expected to stop at every Weigh Station and Agricultural Inspection Station along the way to their destination. If you're pulling a rental trailer with your personal vehicle, the combined weight of your personal vehicle and the commercial rental trailer can not exceed 10,000lbs, if so, you would be expected to enter the scale facilities in Florida.

    This is the only way we can ensure our roads are not being damaged. Nine times out of ten, travelers won't even have to stop once they enter the facility and if they do it typically last less than a few minutes.

  • 2. Where can I find employment information about working at a weigh station?

    A. Vacancies with the Department, such as a Weigh Station Inspector, can be found through the State of Florida’s People First employment system. You can search by location/occupation and the salary is disclosed in most cases: https://peoplefirst.myflorida.com/

  • 3. I am a state employee, I will be traveling around the state in a state owned international truck, with a state tag picking up records from offices that are closing, Am I required to stop at every Weigh Station?

    A. Yes.

  • 4. Are Weigh Stations open on the weekend?

    A. Yes, they’re open 24/7.

  • 5. I am a common carrier of household goods and other items. I sometimes travel over state lines. Between my vehicle and my trailer (fully loaded) I never exceed 10,000lbs. Do I still require a Motor Carrier Number?

    A. The Florida Highway Patrol issues and enforces Motor Carrier numbers in Florida. Here is the link to their website: http://www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/CVE/. They can also be reached via phone at: (850) 617-2284 or via email: fhp@flhsmv.gov.

  • 6. Regarding tandem recreational towing; I have a crew cab pick-up truck and a 21.5 ft travel trailer. I would like to tow my golf cart behind the travel trailer on a small utility trailer. I would like to know the maximum vehicle length also.

    A. Florida State Statute 316.515 (3) covers the number of trailers and length of trailers allowed in Florida. This section allows commercial vehicles to have two trailing units but non-commercial units can have only one trailing unit. Your pickup truck pulling your travel trailer AND golf cart trailer would be illegal:

    (3) LENGTH LIMITATION.-Except as otherwise provided in this section, length limitations apply solely to a semitrailer or trailer, and not to a truck tractor or to the overall length of a combination of vehicles. No combination of commercial motor vehicles coupled together and operating on the public roads may consist of more than one truck tractor and two trailing units. Unless otherwise specifically provided for in this section, a combination of vehicles not qualifying as commercial motor vehicles may consist of no more than two units coupled together; such non-qualifying combination of vehicles may not exceed a total length of 65 feet, inclusive of the load carried thereon, but exclusive of safety and energy conservation devices approved by the department for use on vehicles using public roads.

  • 7. Are there pay phones at the comfort/inspection barns or in the weigh stations?

    A. We have pay phones at some locations and others we do not. With the popularity of cell phones, payphones are being phased out. The local phone company provides the phones, required maintenance and receive all the profits generated. The phone companies will not support any pay phone that does not have a monthly average intake of at least $35.00 unless the phone is mandated by law, State Fire Marshall or building code.

  • 8. Where can I obtain an oversize permit? What are the rules for overweight and overdimensional permits?

    A. The Permit Office in Tallahassee, with the assistance of the Office of Maintenance, is responsible for overweight and over-dimensional permits. Please contact: Florida Permit Office – (850) 410-5777 or visit their website: http://www.fdotmaint.com/permit/

  • 9. Where can I find information about transporting hazardous materials?

    A. You may contact the Florida Highway Patrol: http://www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/CVE/. They can also be reached via phone at: (850) 617-2284 or via email: fhp@flhsmv.gov. You can also contact the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA): http://phmsa.dot.gov/home for information on transporting hazardous material.

  • 10. How do I pay a citation that I received at the weigh station? May a weight citation be protested before making payment?

    A. Visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website: https://www.fhpcvepayments.com/login.asp and enter your Citation Number and/or USDOT Number. You can also call their auto-pay hotline: (800) 688-5479 or you can call the actual penalty collections unit: (850) 617-3010. No, except for compliance reviews, all citations must be paid before the Commercial Motor Vehicle Review Board will hear a protest.

  • 11. Where can I find information on Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDL) requirements?

    A. Visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website: http://www.flhsmv.gov/.

  • 12. What is the legal height in Florida?

    A. Please refer to Florida State Statute 316.515: http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/316.515 for the height requirements.

  • 13. Where can I find information on escort training in Florida? Does an escort driver with a class E license that had a defensive driving class years ago have to attend another defensive driving class? What is the penalty for an escort vehicle not having a valid registration?

    A. Escort Training information can be found at the following website: Florida Transportation Technology Transfer Center. No, the National Safety Council defensive driving course is only required to be taken one time. Along with the class E license and the defensive driving class, escort drivers must attend an eight hour pilot/escort flagging course and be re-qualified every four years by completing a four hour refresher course. The penalty issued to the carrier would be $100.00, not $250.00 for a disqualified or missing escort. The escort would have to be registered or another escort would be needed before the vehicle could continue.

  • 14. How do I obtain an IRP/Fuel Trip Permit? Can IRP and IFTA permits be purchased at the state-line weigh stations?

    A. To obtain an IRP/Fuel Trip Permit please call: 1-800-749-6058. No, IRP and IFTA permits must be purchased before entering the state, Florida is not a port-of-entry state.

  • 15. How many trailers may a straight truck tow?

    A. According to Florida State Statute 316.515(3) (a), unless it is for agriculture, “a straight truck may tow no more than one trailer.”

  • 16. To be allowed a 53-57 foot trailer, how is the king pin measurement measured on a trailer with a split rear axle?

    A. Florida State Statute 316.515(3) (b) 2a states “the distance between the kingpin or other peg that locks into the fifth wheel of a truck tractor and the center of the rear axle or rear group of axles does not exceed 41 feet.” Since there is not a definition of “rear group of axles” the definition of “tandem axle” in Florida State Statute 316.003(81) is used, which states “any two axles whose centers are more than 40 inches but not more than 96 inches apart and are individually attached to or articulated from, or both, a common attachment to the vehicle, including a connecting mechanism designed to equalize the load between axles.” If the split axles are more than 96 inches apart and there is no connecting mechanism, then this is not a rear group but two single axles, therefore the measurement would be taken from the kingpin to the center of the rear axle.

  • 17. What is a 10% permit? Can a tire sized vehicle use a divisible load permit (10% permit)? Is the over-width portion of a 10% permit valid on the interstate if the vehicle is not overweight?

    A. Divisible load permits, (10% permit) are allowed for commercial vehicles that do not exceed the statutory weight limits plus 10%. These permits are only valid off the interstate highway system and on designed routes. No, Florida State Statute 316.550(4) authorizes the permit for vehicle not exceeding the limits of Florida State Statute 316.535(5), tire size vehicles are described in Florida State Statute 316.535(6). No, according to the DOT Permits Office, 10% permits are not valid on the interstate.

  • 18. Is a single unit flatbed truck hauling sand with a bed that dumps considered a tire size vehicle? What about a single unit truck transporting sludge in a tank, is this a tire size vehicle? Is a single unit flatbed transporting disable vehicles (roll-off) considered a tire size vehicle?

    A. Yes, a good rule of thumb is, if raising the bed is the means of offloading the load being carried, then it would be considered a dump truck (tire size vehicle). Yes, if the commodity being transported is considered waste, then it would fall under Florida State Statute 316.535(6). No, this vehicle would be a table 1 or a table 2 which ever allows the most weight. The raising of the bed allows for the vehicles to be winched on and off not to be dumped.

  • 19. Does the utility length exception apply to a utility company straight truck-trailer combination transporting a pole?

    A. Yes, Florida State Statute 316.515(7) does not limit the type of vehicle used.

  • 20. What is the width limit of an agriculture trailer hauling agriculture products?

    A. There is no width limit for these vehicles as long as they are moving during daytime hours, not on the interstate and not over 50 miles from property owned or leased by the equipment owner. There are some safety requirements such as lights and signs.

  • 21. Can a trailer that is 57 feet long and not meeting the 41 feet or less king pin setting be issued a permit?

    A. Yes, the permit office may issue a 57 foot 6 inch permit for semitrailers without overhang.

  • 22. Is a non-stinger steered truck tractor semi-trailer automobile carrier without a load carrying structure on the tractor limited to a 50 foot trailer?

    A. No, like a truck tractor semi-trailer combinations the trailer may be 57 feet inclusive of the load if the king pin setting is 41 feet or less AND has rear under-ride protection. If the combination is transporting vehicles it would also fall under the exception and the 50 foot limitation may also apply.

  • 23. How much overhang may a 40 foot straight truck have transporting a non-divisible load?

    A. According to Florida State Statute 316.515(7) (e) “when operating in the daytime, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, when the load does not extend past the rearmost part of the vehicle more than one-half the length of the permanent bed or cargo-carrying structure, when the load complies with subsection (4) (which gives 3 feet overhang on the front) and when proper flags are displayed…” If the cargo-carrying structure is the total length of the truck the non-divisible load may extend 20 feet past the rear and 3 feet over the front past the bumper for a total length of 63 feet.

  • 24. If the axle spacing required on a permit is not met, is the permit voided?

    A. Yes, even though the null and void criteria of 14-26 does not specifically cite this, it is considered the same as not having the required number of axles and therefore the permit would be voided for weight only.

  • 25. What is the maximum length of a trailer in a truck-trailer combination?

    A. There is no maximum length for the trailer, the combination cannot exceed 68 feet. Therefore, if the truck is 18 feet, the trailer could be 50 feet.

  • 26. Would the distance of the king pin from the rear axles apply to question #25 since the trailer is over 48 feet?

    A. No, the king pin measurement only applies to semi-trailers in a truck tractor semi-trailer combination.

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Code of Federal Regulations
Title 23: Highways, Part 658 Truck Size and Weight; Route Designations.

Florida Administrative Code
FAC 14-26 Safety Regulations and Permit Fees for Overweight and Overdimensional Vehicles

Florida Statutes
316.515 Maximum Width, Height, Length
316.516 Width, Height and Length; Inspection Penalties
316.535 Maximum Weights
316.545 Unlawful Weight
316.550 Special Permits
316.565 Emergency Transportation
320.01 General Definitions
320.08 License Taxes
320.06 Certificate of Registration


Apportioned Motor Vehicle - Means any motor vehicle which is required to be registered, or with respect to which an election has been made to register it, under the International Registration Plan. Florida Statute 320.01(23)

Commercial Motor Vehicle - Any self-propelled or towed vehicle used on the public highways in commerce to transport passengers or cargo, if such vehicle:
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs or more;
  • Is designed to transport more than 15 passengers or more;
  • Is used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous.
          Florida Statute 316.003(66)

For-Hire Vehicle - Any motor vehicle used to transport persons or goods for compensation; let or rented to another for compensation. Florida Statute 320.01(15)(a) .
  • Not included as for-hire vehicles: Transporting school children, Hearse or ambulance, mail truck under 1 1/2 tons or Motor vehicles used in the transportation of agricultural or horticultural products, or supplies direct to growers: vehicle used by a farmer to haul products from farm or grove to a packinghouse or a point of shipment.
          Florida Statute 320.01(15)(b)

Gross Weight - Means the net weight of a motor vehicle in pounds plus the weight of the load carried by it. Florida Statute 320.01(7)

Heavy Truck - Any motor vehicle with a net vehicle weight of more than 5,000 lbs, which is registered on the basis of gross vehicle weight in accordance with 320.08, and which designed or used for the carriage of goods or equipped with a connecting devise for the purpose of drawing a trailer and includes a motor vehicle with a box, platform, rack or other equipment for the purpose of carrying goods other than personal effects of the passengers. Florida Statute 320.01(10)

Implement of Husbandry - Vehicle designed and adapted exclusively for agricultural, horticultural, or livestock-raising operations or for lifting or carrying an implement of husbandry, not subject to registration if used on the highway. Florida Statute 316.003(16)

International Registration Plan (IRP)
- Means a registration reciprocity agreement among states of the United States and the provinces of Canada providing for payment of license fees on the basis of fleet miles operated in various jurisdictions. Florida Statute 320.01(24)

Interstate Commerce
- means vehicle movement through two or more states, i.e. travel from North Florida to South Georgia. Florida Statute 320.01(29)(30)

Intrastate Commerce
- means vehicle movement from one point within a state to another point within the same state, i.e. travel from North Florida to South Florida. Florida Statute 320.01(29)(30)

Maxi-Cube Vehicle - A specialized combination vehicle consisting of a truck carrying a separable cargo-carrying unit combined with a semitrailer designed so that the separable cargo-carrying unit is to be loaded and unloaded through the semitrailer. The entire combination my not exceed 65 feet in length, and a single component of that combination may not exceed 34 feet in length. Florida Statute 316.003(36)

Special Mobile Equipment - Any vehicle not designed or used primarily for the transportation of persons or property and only incidentally operated or moved over the highway. Florida Statute 316.003(48)

Motor Carrier
- Any person owning, controlling, operating, or managing any motor vehicle use to transport persons or property over any public highway. Florida Statute 320.01(33)

Motor Vehicle
- An automobile, truck, trailer, semitrailer, truck tractor and semitrailer combination, used to transport persons or property. Florida Statute 320.01(1)(a)

Pole Trailer
- Vehicle without motive power designed to be drawn by another vehicle and attached to the towing vehicle by means of a reach or pole, or by being boomed or otherwise secured to the towing vehicle, and ordinarily used for transporting long or irregularly shaped loads such as poles, pipes or structural members capable, generally, of sustaining themselves as beams between the supporting connections. Florida Statute 316.003(31)

Saddle Mount, Full Mount
- An arrangement whereby the front wheels of one vehicle rest in a secured position upon another vehicle. All the wheels of the towing vehicle are upon the ground, and only the rear wheels of the towed vehicle rest upon the ground. Such combinations may include one full mount, whereby a smaller transport vehicle is placed completely on the last towed vehicle. Florida Statute 316.003(43)

- means any vehicle without motive power to be coupled to or drawn by a motor vehicle and constructed so that some part of its weight and that of its load rest upon or is carried by another vehicle. Florida Statute 320.01(5)

Straight Truck
- Any truck on which the cargo unit and the motive power unit are located on the same frame so as to form a single, rigid unit. Florida Statute 316.003(70)

Tandem Axle
- Any two axles whose centers are more than 40 inches apart but not more than 96 inches apart and are individually attached to or articulated from, or both, a common attachment to the vehicle, including a connecting mechanism designed to equalize the load between the axles. Florida Statute 316.003(80)

Tandem Trailer Truck
- Any combination of a truck tractor, semitrailer, and trailer coupled together so as to operate as a complete unit. Florida Statute 316.003(71)

- any vehicle without motive power designed to be coupled to or drawn by a motor vehicle and constructed so that no part of its weight or that of its load rests upon the towing vehicle. Florida Statute 320.01(4)

- Any motor vehicle with a net vehicle weight of 5,000 lbs. or less which is designed or used principally for the carriage of goods and includes a motor vehicle which a box, platform, rack or other equipment for the purpose of carrying goods other than personal effects of the passengers. Florida Statute 320.01(9)

Truck Tractor
- Any motor vehicle which has four or more wheels and is designed and equipped with a fifth wheel for the primarily purpose of drawing a semitrailer that is attached or coupled thereto by the means of such fifth wheel and which has no provision for carrying loads independently. Florida Statute 320.01(11)

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