DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
[Order 179--Filed July 31, 1998, 3:31 p.m.]
Date of Adoption: July 31, 1998.
Purpose: To enhance public safety by establishing a clear set of requirements and operating guidelines for escort vehicles.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 468-38-110.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 46.44.090.
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 98-13-101 on June 17, 1998.
Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: Several minor clarifications were incorporated such as: Correct referencing to flagperson requirements, including compliance date; expanded options for warning lights; mandatory use of pole changed to fifteen feet high; clarifying appropriate passenger criteria; and responsibility for equipment.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, amended 1, repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, amended 1, repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, amended 1, repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.
Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
July 31, 1998
Gerald E. Smith
Deputy Secretary, Operations
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order 31, Resolution No. 156, filed 8/20/82)
WAC 468-38-110 ((
Type of escort cars.)) Escort vehicle
requirements. (( (1) Escort cars must be furnished by the
permittee. They may be a passenger car or a two-axle truck. (2) Escort cars will be of such design as to afford the
driver clear and unobstructed vision both front and rear. Escort
cars will be in safe operational condition and properly licensed. (3) Escort car operators must be experienced in the
operation of escort vehicles, and no unnecessary passengers shall
be permitted. Pilot escort cars will travel at a distance of approximately
800-1,500 feet in front of and to the rear of the load. This
distance shall be reduced in urban areas, at major intersections,
and at structures less than 28 feet curb-to-curb width. In hazardous conditions, the pilot car driver will act as a
flagperson for traffic control and will signal by hand or by
radio to the towing vehicle driver when he can proceed. (4) The driver of the rear escort car will act as flagperson
when hazardous conditions exist, either in advising the driver of
the tow vehicle as to clearance in turning movements or of
accumulations of overtaking traffic. As required, the rear escort car will travel far enough
behind the load to provide adequate warning for overtaking
vehicles and safe space between the rear escort car and the
trailing unit for passing vehicles. All escort cars shall carry
a minimum of three approved emergency fuses and red flags. Pilot car operators shall be properly licensed to operate
the vehicle. (5) When uniformed off-duty law enforcement officers act as
escorts, using official police cars or motorcycles, the preceding
requirements shall not be applicable.)) (1) When the escort
vehicle is in front of the permitted vehicle, the operator shall:
(a) Warn oncoming traffic of the presence of the permitted vehicle by use of signs and lights as provided in subsections (4) and (8) of this section.
(b) Notify the driver of the permitted vehicle, and driver(s) of any trailing escorts, by two-way radio, of all hazards; overhead clearances; obstructions; traffic congestion; pedestrians; and any other circumstances evident to the operator that could affect either the safe movement of the permitted vehicle, the safety of the traveling public, or the efficient movement of traffic in sufficient time for the driver of the permitted vehicle to take corrective action, as necessary.
(c) To the extent necessary, locate safe places (if available) adjacent to the highway and notify the driver of the permitted vehicle, and driver(s) of trailing escorts, in ample time for the permitted vehicle and the escort vehicle(s) to clear the highway, allowing the traffic following to safely pass, or for any other reasons necessary to provide for the safety of the traveling public.
(d) Be far enough in front of the permitted vehicle to signal oncoming motorists to stop in a timely manner, or as specified by local jurisdiction, before such motorists enter any narrow structures or other restrictions on the highway, to permit the safe passage of the permitted vehicle.
(2) When the escort vehicle is behind the permitted vehicle, the operator shall:
(a) Warn traffic approaching from the rear of the presence of the permitted vehicle ahead, by use of signs and lights as provided in subsections (4) and (8) of this section.
(b) Notify the driver of the permitted vehicle, and driver of any lead escort, by two-way radio of flat tires or other problems with the permitted vehicle; objects coming loose from the permitted vehicle; other traffic approaching or passing the permitted vehicle; and any other circumstances evident to the operator that could affect either the safe movement of the permitted vehicle, the safety of the traveling public, or the efficient movement of traffic, in sufficient time for the driver of the permitted vehicle to take corrective action.
(c) Notify the front escort driver and the driver of the permitted vehicle by two-way radio of traffic build-up and other delays to the normal flow and efficient movement of traffic caused by the movement of the permitted vehicle.
(d) Notify the driver of the permitted vehicle, and driver of any lead escort, by two-way radio of other vehicles attempting to pass the permitted vehicle or load.
(e) Be far enough behind the permitted vehicle to signal motorists following the permitted vehicle to slow or stop in a timely manner, or as specified by local jurisdiction, before narrow structures or other restrictions in the highway, to permit the safe passage of the permitted vehicle.
(3) The escort vehicle operator shall ensure that the escort vehicle is in safe and reliable operating condition.
(4) An escort vehicle shall, in addition to any other equipment required by traffic law, be equipped with a minimum of two flashing or rotating amber lights, positioned above the roof line, visible from a minimum of five hundred feet to traffic approaching from the front or rear of the escort. The light apparatus must not obstruct, or be obstructed by, the required oversize load sign.
(5) The escort vehicle shall:
(a) Be either a single unit passenger car or a two-axle truck;
(b) Not exceed a maximum gross vehicle weight rating of fourteen thousand pounds;
(c) Be at least sixty inches wide; and
(d) Not exceed the legal limits of size and weight, as defined in chapter 46.44 RCW.
(6) The escort vehicle shall not carry any passengers, human or animal (excluding individuals in training status or necessary flag persons), or equipment or load in or on the escort vehicle which:
(a) Exceeds the height, length, or width of the escort vehicle, or overhangs the escort vehicle, or otherwise impairs its immediate recognition as a safety escort vehicle by the motoring public; or
(b) Obstructs the view of the flashing or rotating yellow lights, or the signs used by the escort vehicle; or
(c) Causes safety risks; or
(d) Otherwise impairs the performance by the operator or the escort vehicle of the duties required by these rules.
(7) The escort vehicle operator shall properly load and secure any item(s) or equipment or load carried by the escort vehicle to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section.
(8) An escort vehicle shall display "oversize load" signs, in clear readable condition, which shall be mounted above the roofline of the escort vehicle and be visible to approaching traffic from the front and the rear. All such signs shall be a minimum of five feet wide, ten inches high with one-inch wide brush stroke, black letters a minimum of eight inches high on yellow background, or shall be a maximum of seven feet wide, eighteen inches high, with a 1.41 inch brush stroke, black letters a minimum of ten inches high on yellow background.
(9) The escort vehicle(s) shall have its headlights activated at all times when escorting a permitted vehicle.
(10) The escort vehicle shall be equipped with a two-way radio capable of providing reliable two-way voice communication between the driver of the permitted vehicle and the driver(s) of the escort vehicle(s) when the permitted vehicle is in motion on a public highway.
(11) An escort vehicle shall carry the following items of equipment at all times when escorting a permitted vehicle:
(a) Standard eighteen inch STOP & SLOW paddle sign.
(b) Three bi-directional emergency reflective triangles.
(c) A minimum of one 5 pound B, C, fire extinguisher, or equivalent.
(d) A reflectorized high visibility orange or other color vest, shirt or jacket, as permitted by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and a yellow or other highly visible colored hard hat to be worn by the operator while directing traffic, in accordance with WAC 296-155-305, Signaling.
(e) A height measuring device which is nonconductive and nondestructive to overhead clearances, when required by the terms of the permit or regulations.
(f) First-aid supplies must be readily available as described in WAC 296-24-06145.
(g) A flashlight in working order with red nose cone.
(12) An escort vehicle is prohibited from escorting more than one permitted vehicle at the same time, unless expressly authorized by the department.
(13) A front escort vehicle shall use a height pole at all times when escorting a permitted vehicle exceeding fifteen feet in height, unless otherwise expressly authorized/directed by the department on the permit. The height pole shall not extend less than three inches nor more than six inches above the maximum height of the permitted vehicle being escorted. When the escort vehicle is not escorting a permitted vehicle, but is moving on the highway, the height pole shall be removed, tied down, or shortened to within legal limits, unless involved in the act of prerunning a route to determine height acceptance.
(14) When an escort vehicle is not escorting a permitted vehicle, or prerunning a route, but is moving on a public highway, the signs, described in subsection (8) of this section, shall either be removed, lowered to a position not readily visible, or covered, and the flashing yellow lights, described in subsection (4) of this section, shall not be operated.
(15) In the performance of the duties required by these rules, the operator of the escort vehicle may be required to advise the permitted vehicle to stop, allowing other traffic to proceed safely. The operator of the escort vehicle shall signal the permitted vehicle to stop, and the permitted vehicle shall stop, as far off the roadway as practicable to allow other traffic to pass in the following situations:
(a) When the permitted vehicle becomes disabled; or
(b) When the movement of the permitted vehicle on a particular section of public highway presents a safety risk or unreasonably interferes with the efficient movement of other traffic, based upon such factors as the widths of the permitted vehicle and the roadway, volume of other traffic, visibility and limited sight distance, and mountainous terrain; or
(c) When driving conditions for the permitted vehicle are hazardous for any other reason, including weather.
(16) In the performance of the duties required by these rules, the escort vehicle operator may be required to direct other traffic to stop, slow or proceed in order to allow the permitted vehicle to continue moving safely, or to help the other traffic to navigate around a stopped permitted vehicle. When directing traffic in these situations, the operator of the escort vehicle shall, effective January 1, 1999:
(a) Be certified, having a valid WSDOT certificate/card on person, as an escort vehicle operator;
(b) Comply with procedures described in Section 6 of the MUTCD, as may be amended by the department of transportation, and such other criteria as may be developed under WAC 296-155-305, Signaling.
(17) The operator of the permitted vehicle and the operator(s) of the escort vehicle(s) shall comply with the following procedures:
(a) Before trip:
(i) Discuss aspects of the move, including the permitted vehicle, the route, and specific responsibilities.
(ii) Review permit special conditions.
(iii) Review the permitted route.
(iv) Determine the proper position of the escort vehicle(s).
(v) Establish any necessary procedures.
(vi) Check mandatory equipment, each operator being responsible for their own vehicle.
(vii) Mount signs, adjust mirrors, turn on lights.
(viii) Check each two-way radio to ensure clear communication on a selected channel.
(ix) Assure special motor vehicle permit(s) is in the possession of the appropriate operator(s).
(x) Determine if additional flagpersons will be necessary and, if so, have them available.
(b) During the trip:
(i) Obey all traffic laws.
(ii) Do not follow or precede more closely than is reasonably prudent, considering the speed of the permitted vehicle, other traffic, and highway conditions.
(iii) Do not exceed 1/2 mile distance between permitted vehicle and the escort vehicle to maintain radio contact, except when necessary to safely travel a long narrow section of highway.
(c) Traffic lights:
(i) If the front escort vehicle goes through a traffic light but the permitted vehicle does not, the escort vehicle must pull over to the right side of the highway, where practicable, to wait for the permitted vehicle.
(ii) If the permitted vehicle goes through the traffic light but the escort vehicle does not, then the permitted vehicle must pull over to the right side of the highway, where practicable, to wait for the rear escort vehicle.
(18) When uniformed off-duty law enforcement officers act as escorts, using official police cars or motorcycles, the requirements of this section may be amended as necessary.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.44.090. 82-18-010 (Order 31, Resolution No. 156), § 468-38-110, filed 8/20/82. Formerly WAC 468-38-190. Statutory Authority: 1977 ex.s. c 151. 79-01-033 (DOT Order 10 and Comm. Order 1, Resolution No. 13), § 468-38-110, filed 12/20/78. Formerly WAC 252-24-110.]