Back in the day, your math teacher would tell you that you won’t always have a calculator so you better be able to find the solution in your head. Fast forward to 2015 and in your pocket is a smartphone that has the ability to do any math problem as well as instantly talk to anyone around the globe, play games and even write a blog post. Your smartphone also does one more thing – display your oversize/overweight permit to whomever needs to see it. So how did electronic permits keep up in 2015? Read on to find out…
The Illinois Department of Transportation has been using its Illinois Transportation Automated Permits (ITAP) system to permit loads up to 249,999 pounds as well as practical maximums for size. This means that of the 230,197 permits issued in 2015, 179,771, or 78 percent, were issued electronically with no human intervention. The time saved by the trucking industry is enormous, with permits being issued immediately versus within a day or two.
To add to the simplicity of the electronic permit system, many local, township and county agencies have begun using online methods to issue their permits. One company, Oxcart Permit Systems, has gone from two agencies to twenty-five providing their permits online, simplifying the process for the trucking industry. Oxcart processed more than two thousand permits in 2015 and is working to make online permitting a one-stop-shop for the trucking community.
There is no question that when a trucking company has to apply for multiple permits for one movement, this can be time consuming and costly. Some communities require in-person applications, some by fax and some communities do not require permits. Many companies have at least one person dedicated to applying for permits. When the information is easily found and applied for online, this saves time and money as well as improves efficiency.
Communities who use online permits can work together with businesses when routing these large movements. For instance, a bridge restriction from IDOT routing a load onto a local road means another permit for the company they weren’t expecting. With the online system they can easily find and apply for a permit without having to sit on the phone all day or fill out various forms and wait for a response. And the police agency that patrols those roads can instantly see the permits and know that that truck belongs on that road.
An ITEA certified truck officer can access the ITAP system to check permits before even stopping an oversize load. They can verify the validity of the permit and ensure everyone is following the rules. This keeps these loads moving with less interruption, saving money.
When a company doesn’t follow the rules, the officer can provide that information to the Illinois Department of Transportation so they know which companies are violating their rules. The officer can also save the information as evidence to bring into court.
The future is now and online permits are simplifying the process for both police and truckers. Both sides win when the information is easily available and simple to get through. Speak to those who handle permits and encourage them to go online to save time and money, and help the police better enforce permit movements with less interference. Please join the ITEA at their conference March 17, 2016 to hear more about what IDOT is doing with the permit process.