Patriot Freight Group

Comparison of Divisible and Non-Divisible Loads

Moving freight can be a dangerous business. That’s why there are a number of regulations in place to protect workers, transport companies and the general public. The regulations that are put into place are heavily dependent on the load that’s being transported and the truck that’s needed to carry the freight. 

In general, the more risk there is during transit, the more regulations there will be for how freight is measured, loaded and secured to ensure safety. One regulation that commonly comes into play is the regulation regarding divisible and non-divisible loads. Whether a load is considered divisible or not can determine if transport is legal.

Make sure you know how to stay compliant with the divisible and non-divisible load laws! Check out the quick overview below that’s based on nearly a decade of our experience in the modern trucking industry.

Non-Divisible Loads: What You Need to Know

Non-divisible loads are larger than permitted for transport, but they aren’t deemed divisible. Meaning the oversized load can’t be divided to stay within the maximum measurements to meet regulations. Non-divisible loads are impacted by local municipal, county, state and federal regulations during transport. 

The Federal Highway Administration has outlined three criteria for non-divisible loads. A load is considered non-divisible if it exceeds length, width, height and/or weight limits and separating it into smaller loads would:

  • Render the vehicle unable to function properly or compromise the load.
  • Potentially harm the value of the load or make it unusable.
  • Require 8+ hours to dismantle.

If you aren’t sure whether your load qualifies as non-divisible give Patriot Freight a call. Our freight experts are well-versed in non-divisible load regulations and can help you figure it out.  

Divisible Loads: What You Need to Know

When a load is already broken down into multiple pieces but those pieces together exceed legal limits for transport, it’s considered a divisible load. The load will need to be divided into two loads to correct issues with height, length, width or weight. 

Divisible Load Dimensions

Height – If pieces of freight are stacked higher than 14.5’ pieces will need to be removed to bring it within the legal height for transport. How high freight can be depends on the state. Most states set their max height somewhere between 13’6” and 14’6”. 

Length – If freight pieces are loaded end-to-end and hang over the back of the vehicle by more than four feet there’s a very good chance it violates the legal length limit. But you may be going through a state that doesn’t allow for any overhang at all. 

Width – Typically, freight needs to be within 8’6” in width. If two pieces of freight side-by-side are wider than this limit then it needs to be divided. 

Weight – The maximum weight is based on the legal gross weight for the transport vehicle or the axle weight group. The weight limits vary based on location. 

Divisible Load Permits

In some states there are workarounds for divisible load issues so that you don’t always have to break freight up into two loads. When exceptions to the rule are allowed it may be based on the season and how freight is being moved through the state, not just the dimensions or weight. These exceptions are known as divisible load permits. 

Divisible load permits, which are sometimes referred to as oversized permits, must be obtained in the jurisdiction where the freight will be moved and exceeds the legal limits. The permit will only be good for a certain period of time and will be for a specified weight/dimensions. They are also separate from permits for transporting hazardous materials.

Just keep in mind that divisible load permits are only applied within a particular state. It doesn’t apply once you cross state lines. You’ll need to secure permits in every jurisdiction that you pass through. 

Not sure how to obtain oversized or divisible load permits? Permits are part of the package when you work with Patriot Freight Group. We’ll make sure that all the proper permits are acquired so that we stay legally compliant and safe from start to finish.

Give us a call to get a better idea of whether your load will require a permit.