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When do you need to notify police if you are driving on the road?

If a machine or implement is more than 2.9m wide, heavier than 44,000kg, has an axle loading of more than 10,000kg for a single non-driving axle or 11,500kg for a single driving axle, or a longer than 18.65m, you must notify the police before you drive. Not doing so is a road traffic offence, and if you are involved in a crash, the penalties will be much higher.

There are two methods of notification:

1: Notify your local Abnormal Loads Office using ESDAL at least 2 business days before you’ll be on the road.

2: Write a letter to the Chief Constable requesting a dispensation for multiple movements.

You must notify each police force that the vehicle passes through.

If the width exceeds 5m, you must also contact Highways England using form VR1, and if it exceeds 6.1m wide or 30m long, give 5 working days’ notice to each affected police force, plus get a Highways England Special Order, which you can do using ESDAL abnormal load notification. Note that you need to register with ESDAL first and that takes 2-3 working days for your application to be processed.

There’s no statutory limit governing the overall height of a load but, if possible, when applying for a Special Order or VR1 it should not exceed 4.95m so that the motorway and trunk road network can be used as much as possible.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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