Starting July 1, motor carriers can begin hauling heavier loads of certain goods, but they must first apply for permits and adhere to restrictions designed to minimize the damage to Indiana's highways and interstates. Deviating from the approved route or substituting a different vehicle other than what is listed on the permit will be a violation subject to civil penalties. The amount carriers can incur in civil penalties has increased for some violations, including up to $10,000 per violation for transporting loads too large or heavy to qualify for an OSW permit.
OSW General Information
Indiana law states that drivers must obtain an oversize and/or overweight vehicle permit before traveling on Indiana roads if their vehicle exceeds:
- 13 feet 6 inches in height;
- 8 feet 6 inches in width;
- 60 feet (two-vehicle combination) or 53 feet (semi-tractor-semi-trailer combination) in length; or
- 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (subject to axle weights).
Most Indiana OSW permits are issued by the Indiana Department of Revenue's Motor Carrier Services (MCS) department, under the guidance and rules set by INDOT and in accordance with Indiana law. The Oversize/Overweight (OSW) unit at DOR Motor Carrier Services (MCS) helps drivers make these loads non-divisible and properly marked to ensure the safety of all motorists. Also, MCS issues and collects civil penalties for OSW violations issued by Indiana State Police.
In addition to obtaining a permit, drivers must follow signage, escort and other requirements. In some cases, loads are required to have an Indiana State Police escort. Requirements are listed on M-204, General Provisions of an Oversize/Overweight Vehicle Permit and M-204S, Special Provisions for Vehicle Permitting. A paper or electronic copy of the M-204 and, if applicable, the M-204S must be kept with the OSW permit.
Farm vehicles that meet the listed above and travel on any Indiana interstate road system need an OSW permit. Farm vehicles running only on a secondary road system are exempt from OSW permits. See below for other exemptions.
Indiana Oversize Overweight Permitting System Overview
Motor carrier customers can apply for OSW permits using our comprehensive system that features multiple ways to input destinations and the option to choose a pre-approved route or one of the system’s alternate routes to receive your permit immediately.
You can access our OSW permitting system through motorcarrier.dor.in.gov. If you had an account for the previous system, you do not need to create a new account or login.
Gear up before applying for your next permit by:
- Viewing a demonstration;
- Reading our quick start guide and the comprehensive online user guide;
- Knowing how to import vehicles into the new system; and
- Watching these short video tutorials:
You may want to have the quick start guide and user guide available when applying for your first few permits.
For more information on the transition to the Indiana Oversize/Overweight Permitting System, read “Navigating the Change” and watch this informative video from Operations Manager Jay Erickson:
- Crated Loads
- Bulk Milk Transports
- Sealed Ocean Container Permit
- Special Weight
- Annual Toll Road Gate Permit
- Recreational Vehicle/Travel Trailers
- Commodity Permits
- A vehicle engaged in the construction of highways, when the movement of the vehicle is confined to highways, roads, or sections that are under construction and not yet open to the public. The only exception to this would be if the authority having jurisdiction over the construction of a public highway gives notice that a permit is needed.
- Machinery or equipment used in highway construction or maintenance by the Indiana Department of Transportation, or by Indiana counties or municipalities.
- Implements of agriculture when used during farming operations or when so constructed that the implements can be moved without material damage to highways.
- The width or height of a farm vehicle loaded with a farm product. This includes a truck hauling unprocessed tobacco leaf.
- Fire-fighting apparatus owned or operated by a political subdivision or volunteer fire company.
- The movement of a disabled vehicle or combination of vehicles for a distance that does not exceed 50 highway miles by a registered recovery vehicle or by a vehicle described in IC 9-18-13-5 is exempt from the dimension and weight limits as stated.
If a load needs to be crated for protection, email IndianaOSW@dor.in.gov with the following information:
- The crate’s contents. (Must specify exactly what is in the crate.)
- The reason it needs to be crated.
- The dimensions of the load itself. (This should include the height, length, width, and weight.)
- The dimensions of the load after it is crated. (This should include the height, length, width, and weight of the piece including the crate to determine how much dimension is being added by the crate.)
- The type of crate being used.
In June 2020, INDOT waived holiday travel restrictions for permitted overweight bulk milk transports weighing up to 154,000 lbs. GVW only. This includes vehicles permitted with single-trip overweight permits and those with annual bulk milk permits. For more information, call Motor Carrier Services at 317-615-7200 or email IndianaOSW@dor.in.gov.
A permit that is issued for a sealed ocean container is valid for one year. Once the driver has paid $800 for the permit, he or she must follow the below provisions:
- The container is sealed at the place of origin and has not been opened except by an agent of the federal government that may inspect the contents; and
- Being transported to and from a distribution facility.
- Ocean containers cannot exceed 53 feet (trailer and load length) in length with a tractor-trailer hook-up, 60 feet overall in length with a truck-trailer hook up, 8 feet 6 inches wide and 13 feet 6 inches overall height and 95,000 pounds.
Carriers can apply for Sealed Ocean Container permits online. Separate permits must be ordered for each truck.
Log into your OSW online service account and click on “Special Weight Vehicle Registration.” Select the year you are registering for and add your vehicle information, including the full Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). After you have added all your vehicles, you must pay the $25 registration fee before any Special Weight Permits can be ordered. Once you have entered and registered all your vehicles, you need to renew your Special Weight Registration annually. You can also add, edit or delete trucks at any time at no additional cost. To order a Special Weight Permit, your vehicle must be registered.
Please review the special weight route information before applying for your special weight vehicle registration.
Log into your OSW online service account and click “Apply for Permit.” Select “Annual permit” for type of permit to be ordered. Then select “Toll Road Gate-Annual” from the list. You will complete the vehicle information section and select the gate numbers you need. You can then pay for and print your Toll Road Gate Permits. You will need to obtain only one permit for each truck (each permit can have multiple gates listed).
RVs (all classes including travel trailers and 5th wheels) may not exceed 45 feet in length; 8 feet, 6 inches in width; or 13 feet, 6 inches in height. The width must not exceed beyond manufacturer-installed rearview mirrors on the motorhome or tow vehicle. This may be less than 8 ft, 6 inches.
Maximum motor home length is 45 feet.
Total length including the vehicle, trailer or other towable may not exceed 60 feet (excluding boat transporters.)
If your recreational vehicle exceeds any of the dimensions listed above, please contact Motor Carrier Services at IndianaOSW@dor.in.gov or 317-615-7200 for guidance.
Indiana HEA 1190, which takes effect July 1, contained several changes to Indiana’s oversize/overweight (OSW) motor carrier laws, including expanding Indiana’s Overweight Commodity Permit to include materials other than metal and agricultural products.
Under the new law, carriers can apply for a single-trip Overweight Commodity permits for divisible loads exceeding 2.4 ESALs and weighing 80,000-120,000 lbs. Although the law allows only 8500 of these permits annually, there are no limits on the number of annual permits issued for divisible loads less than 2.4 ESALs.
Carriers who obtained an OSW Commodity Permit prior to Jan. 1, 2021 are grandfathered into the new law in certain circumstances. Their single-trip permits will not count towards the annual limit if they haul only the commodity requested on the prior permit and do not exceed the previous weight thresholds of:
- Up to 120,000 lbs. for metal and
- Up to 97,000 lbs. for agricultural carriers and those who haul logs, wood chips, tree bark or sawdust under an OSW Agricultural Commodity permit.
Under HEA 1190 and HEA 1150, what constitutes a civil penalty and how much carriers will pay for violating OSW rules will change. More information is in the Oversize/Overweight (OSW) Civil Penalties section of this webpage (scroll down).
Among other OSW-related measures, HEA 1190 also:
- Instructs INDOT to change permit fees no later than Oct. 1;
- Allows INDOT to temporarily increase the number of OSW permits for divisible loads issued in response to an emergency or changes in market conditions; and
- Allows INDOT to suspend overweight divisible load permitting if they observe increases in infrastructure damage on a permitted route or the number of accidents associated with these loads.
Applying for an Oversize/Overweight Permit
Customers can apply for, pay fees and print OSW permit(s) and general provisions online, 24/7. The majority of requests are typically approved on the next business day; however, other factors may extend wait times. Permits will be approved automatically if the applicant selects a predetermined route that fits their load's dimensions.
To reduce the chances of a permit being delayed or rejected, applicants are encouraged to plan or check their route on the INDOT Truckers' Info website before applying for a permit. Taking the extra time to ensure all permit data is entered correctly in the permit application portal also avoids rejects and manual reviews.
Depending on the type of permit and route, you may need to provide additional information when applying for a permit. The following resources may assist in providing accurate route information to MCS for faster processing:
- Current Indiana Road Detours and Restrictions
- Indiana Maps Provided by INDOT
- Indiana Toll Road Map
- I-465 and I-469 Direction of Travel
- Federal Bridge Calculator
Some customers prefer to use a third-party service to obtain OSW permits. DOR does not endorse or regulate these services. A list of permitting service companies is available for your convenience.
Applying for a permit for the first time? Read more about setting up an account.
For the Indiana Oversize/Overweight Permitting System to work properly, users should have only one tab open at one time. Other tabs may open during the permitting process to show reference information. You will need to close these tabs when you are finished reviewing the information and return to the original tab. More information on how to apply for OSW permits is available in the comprehensive user guide.
Oversize/Overweight (OSW) Civil Penalties
Information below reflects changes in Indiana law as of July 1, 2021.
Under Indiana Code (IC) 9-20-18-14.5(b), a carrier transporting vehicles or loads under a permit and violates Indiana Code 9-20 (including violation of permit guidelines) is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 for the first violation and not more than $1,500 for each subsequent violation.
Under IC 9-20-18-14.5(c), a carrier that transports vehicles or loads under Indiana Code 9-20 and fails to obtain the required permit(s) is subject to a civil penalty not more than $5,000 for each violation described in an Indiana state police examination report.
Under IC 9-20-18-14.5(d), a carrier that transports vehicles or loads subject to Indiana Code 9-20 and in excess of its legal weight or dimensional limits and for which no permit is available is subject to a civil penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each issued Indiana state police examination report.
Civil penalties are:
- Imposed on the carrier transporting the vehicle or load; and
- In addition to any fines and/or penalties that may have been separately assessed under Indiana law by law enforcement or a court.
Customers who receive a proposed assessment letter for OSW violations from DOR Motor Carrier Services (MCS) have 60 days from the date of the proposed assessment letter to pay in full, protest the assessment or agree to a settlement amount. Details on how to pay or submit a protest are contained in the proposed assessment letter.
Settlement agreements may be available by contacting the DOR’s Legal Division at OSWsettlement@dor.in.gov. Initiating settlement negotiations with DOR does not remove a customer’s right to protest within 60 days of the date of the proposed assessment letter.
For more information about OSW, refer to the OSW handbook, MCS Frequently Asked Questions or call 317-615-7200, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST.
- DOR MCS Forms and Application
- MCS Contact Information
- OSW Fee Chart
- Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division
- Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)
- BMV Commercial Driver License Info
- Indiana Toll Road
- Indiana Oversize/Overweight Permitting System User Guide
- Indiana Oversize/Overweight Permitting System Quick Start Guide
- Indiana Oversize/Overweight Permitting System online webinar (early 2020)
- Importing Vehicles into the OSW Permitting System (INOSOWPS) (.PDF)
- Video tutorials:
Maps and Road Conditions