Understanding Trip Permits

Josh Lovan, Industry Business Advisor

March 5, 2024

Understanding Trip Permits

In the world of transportation, motor carriers play a crucial role in moving goods efficiently across state lines. However, navigating the complex web of regulations can be daunting, especially when it comes to trip permits. So, when does a motor carrier need a trip permit?

Motor carriers are required to have the proper authorization permits before operating in a jurisdiction. Usually, carriers obtain “permanent” permits annually for operating authority, vehicle registration (IRP) and fuel use (IFTA). If travel is required in a jurisdiction for which the carrier does not have permanent permits, a trip, or temporary, permit must be obtained.

Who Needs A Trip Permit?

The following examples represent the most common trip permits:

  1. Intrastate qualified commercial motor vehicles that do not have credentials under the International Registration Plan (IRP) but need to travel on an interstate trip. A “qualified” or “apportionable vehicle” under the IRP is a power unit having two axles and a GVW or RGVW in excess of 26,000 pounds; or a power unit having three or more axles, regardless of weight; or a power unit used in combination, when the weight of such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds.
  2. Interstate trucks and tractors, and combinations of vehicles having a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less. Such vehicles are not required to apportion under the IRP; however, they may be proportionally registered at the option of the registrant. When a vehicle is not apportioned, it is subject to individual jurisdiction registration laws and automatic reciprocity is not granted. Depending upon the jurisdictions of travel, a trip permit may be required for interstate travel and/or intrastate travel.
  3. Vehicles operating interstate on restricted plates. Restricted plates have some restriction on their use, such as commodity, mileage, geographic area, or time (under one year). Transporter plates, dealer plates, and farm plates are examples of restricted plates. These plates are valid for travel in the state of issue under the terms and conditions accompanying the plate. However, they do not receive automatic reciprocity for travel outside the state of issue. Before traveling interstate with a restricted plate, contact the jurisdictions of travel to determine whether reciprocity is granted or a trip permit is needed.
  4. Oversize & Overweight. A trip permit for motor carriers that are oversize and overweight is typically required when traveling through jurisdictions where the vehicle's dimensions or weight exceed legal limits. These permits grant temporary authorization for specific routes or time periods, ensuring compliance with regulations and safety standards. Carriers must obtain permits in advance to avoid penalties or delays during transport.

In essence, trip permits are essential for motor carriers to ensure legal compliance and smooth operations when venturing beyond their registered jurisdictions. Understanding when and why trip permits are necessary is crucial for avoiding costly fines and delays in transportation logistics.

Need Permits? J. J. Keller can help!

We make ordering your temporary permits easier so your trucks can get on the road faster. Our state-direct agreements speed up the process and keep turnaround times fast.In fact, during standard business hours, you can get your fuel or trip permit in as little as an hour and oversize/overweight permit in about three hours.

Our trip permit advisers are available 24/7 to assist you. Make one call to J. J. Keller to keep your trucks and trips in compliance!

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