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Pilot Car Certifications and Training Required by State

Pilot Car Certifications and Training Required by State


Depending on the state you live in, there may be specific training requirements and certifications needed before you drive a pilot car. This isn’t the case for every state, but 14 of them have specific guidelines for pilot car drivers. Knowing what is required ensures you meet regulatory requirements when you carry out your job in various locations.


Many states also honor and accept certifications for other states. Below, we’ll talk about the requirements by state and which states they reciprocate with. This will ensure you have met all requirements before heading out to help with a load as a pilot car driver. If you live in any of the 14 states below, make sure you know the requirements and are following them.




As of now, there are no state certificates specifically honored or accepted in Alabama except for their own.

Drivers need to be at least 18 years of age and have a valid driver’s license. In addition, it’s required to have completed an escort flagging or pilot driving course that meets or exceeds the required course within 12 months of a course being made available.




Arizona accepts pilot car certifications from Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.

Pilot car certification is required in Arizona. However, certification can come from another state listed above. After taking training classes, applicants need to pass a written test on traffic control and best practices with a score of 80% or above. Once that is complete, a certification card will be issued and the driver’s name will be listed in a statewide database.



The certifications from Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington are accepted in Colorado.

Colorado requires pilot car certification for drivers. Certifications from the states listed above can also be used in place of a Colorado version. Several documents are needed to be a pilot driver on highways in the state. These include a valid certification, CDOT rules and regulations, a pilot escort and oversize map, vertical clearances map, bridge weight limit map, hazardous and nuclear material route restrictions map, and proof of insurance in the amount of at least $1,000,000 combined single limit or commercial liability insurance. You must have a driving record free of alcohol or drug-related offenses and no moving violation penalties assessed at six or more points.



Florida honors pilot car certifications from Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Pilot drivers in Florida must be at least 18. In addition, it’s required to complete an eight-hour defensive driving course provided by the National Safety Council or have a Class A, B, or C commercial driver’s license. You must be Florida qualified or qualified by a state with equal or stricter guidelines. All of these documents should be available upon request as a pilot car driver.



Georgie accepts Arizona, Colorado, and Utah certifications but the same doesn’t apply backward. However, reciprocity from both ends applies to Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington.

Georgia pilot car drivers must be instructed in effective and safe escort skills through an examination that documents a comprehensive course. Escort drivers must be certified by Georgia or another state or be a member of law enforcement. Drivers must be 18 years of age with a Class A commercial license or 21 or older. A valid driver’s license is required without restrictions other than for corrective lenses and no convictions of driving recklessly or impaired in the last year. You must have documentation of a defensive driving course and complete an eight-hour course with an exam score of 80% or better.



Minnesota offers reciprocity to pilot car certifications from Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington,

A certified pilot escort is required under Minnesota statutes. Certifications from the states listed above are also accepted. A driver training course must be completed and an exam passed. Drivers must be 18 or older and have a valid driver’s license for the type of vehicle being driven. The initial course costs $180 and an additional four-year certification is available for $90.


North Carolina

In North Carolina, full reciprocity is available with Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Washington. However, certifications are accepted from Colorado, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

North Carolina requires pilot drivers to be certified after taking an eight-hour course. The initial certification lasts for four years after the issue date. To apply, complete the course and submit an Escort Vehicle Operator Application to the Oversize/Overweight Permit Unit’s office within six months of completion. A certified driving record must also be submitted. New requirements involve submitting documentation of a defensive driving course approved by the National Safety Council.


New York

New York does not accept certifications from any other state in the country.

In order to qualify as a pilot car driver, you must be 21 years of age or older. You will need a valid New York driver’s license or a license from the state you are a resident of. The final step is to pass the Escort Driver’s Certification Test. Visit a DMV office that offers the test to complete your application and take the written test. If you pass, you will be certified to offer pilot car services.



Oklahoma offers reciprocity with Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, North Caroline, Utah, and Washington.

 You will need to be certified by the DPS to be a pilot car driver in the state. You also need at least $1,000,000 in insurance coverage for property damage or bodily injury caused while operating a pilot vehicle. To get certified, you will need a copy of your driving record and certification of insurance. Classes are typically eight hours long and provide all the information you need to pass a test to become an escort driver in Oklahoma.



Pennsylvania accepts certifications from Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Colorado and Utah are also accepted as part of the RSA Network.

Pennsylvania requires pilot car operators to be licensed and certified. Those who wish to be certified must be at least 21, have experience escorting loads, and have a valid driver’s license. The course is eight hours and requires a driver to pass a written exam. Other documentation needed includes the completion of a defensive driving course and a flagger training course.



Pilot car driver reciprocity is provided to Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington by Utah.

Being licensed and certified is required for pilot car drivers in the state of Utah. The course covers rules on oversize load movements, escort operations, flagging maneuvers, planning and communication, vehicle positioning, rail grade crossing safety, routing techniques, and insurance coverage requirements. After the course is completed, a 40-question test is provided with fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, and true and false questions. Students must get at least 80% to be certified.



In Virginia, the following states have reciprocity: Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington.

As of 2014, Virginia enacted a law requiring a driver training course for those who wish to act as pilot car drivers. Successfully completing the course is required before you may take a knowledge test at a Virginia DMV center. Other requirements include being 18 years old and having a valid driver’s license.



Right now, Wisconsin does not list specific states that have reciprocity or certification acceptance available.

All pilot drivers in Wisconsin must be at least 18 years of age and have an operator’s license valid in the state. It is required to complete a course and pass a test to be certified as a driver. A defensive driving course must also be completed. It is illegal to act as a pilot car driver without these prerequisites. All documentation must be available to show to authorities if needed.



States with reciprocity in Washington include Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Virginia.

Washington legislature requires a certification for pilot car operations who accompany extra-legal loads. The driver must have a Washington state driver’s license and a pilot vehicle certificate. Other states listed above can act as a Washington certification. All laws and requirements must be followed while driving. Drivers must complete an eight-hour course and get at least 80% on a written test to qualify.

The 14 states above have certifications and training specifically for pilot car drivers. This is a way to ensure the safety of those carrying loads, those acting as pilot car drivers, and anyone else on the road. Many of the requirements are similar but it’s important to know what is required in your location.

While the other 36 states do not have required certifications, this is likely to change in the future. As more people look for safety measures, certification is a solid option. If driving a pilot car is something you plan to do in the future, make sure you understand the requirements in any states you operate!