Avoiding the Pilot Car Patchwork

In 2013, Illinois was the last State in the Union to pass a law to allow concealed carry of firearms. While the debate runs hot as to the rights and wrongs of gun control, it exposed a regulatory issue not uncommon in truck world: a lack of reciprocity. Commercial vehicle regulations across the nation are mostly unified in things like fuel tax and registration fees. In recent years, there has been a new movement gaining steam in specialized transportation circles – pilot car certifications. The article this week will discuss this movement, how it’s applied across the states and high quality training being offered right here in Illinois!

Big Jim is a responsible person and gun owner (kind of a big fella too with long hair). He believes in broad rights to carry firearms concealed nationwide. He’s not a criminal and means nobody any harm. He only wants to protect his family and double-wide trailer in Kentucky when he finally moves there.

Jim has spent the time and money to obtain concealed carry licenses in several states from those which provide reciprocity in other states. For instance, he purchased a Florida concealed carry license which is honored in many other southeastern states.

By obtaining a few licenses, he can carry in forty-nine states, except Illinois. Go figure. In concealed carry world, Illinois is the donut-hole. The only state which does not honor other state’s concealed carry. No reciprocity.

What reciprocity means is this: even though each state may have its own concealed carry regulations which may not be 100% identical to other states, they understand the interstate difficulties of gun-toting Americans. Each state’s program might not hit all the same marks, but they are close enough to say, “hey, if you are good in FLA, you are good in our state too.” That’s reciprocity. Again, not Illinois.

So what does this have to do with pilot cars? Pilot cars are critically important as they escort the biggest and heaviest loads along the highways of the United States. Like all professions, there are those who are good at what they do, and then there are those who are scabs.

The problem is that any goof can throw some signs and a yellow light on their vehicle and voilà – they are a pilot car! Is this lawful? In many states, yes. Is this a good idea? No.

There’s more to being a pilot car operator than driving forward or aft of a permit load. The best pilot car services have high quality vehicles. They carry a high level of liability insurance. They provide higher education to their operators.

See the important word? That’s right. “high”. The best are not fly-by-night operations. They are professional services which dedicate their craft to providing safe passage of monster loads sharing the roads with unsuspecting and ignorant drivers. They raise the bar.

What’s raising the bar is pilot car certification. This is a training program designed to teach and train operators on best practices to perform their trade safely.

Because of the success of this movement, several states have adopted regulations requiring pilot car operators to be certified. The standard for training is Washington State. Their training program has been offered reciprocity in more than a dozen states, with even more states considering this model.

Specialized transportation already struggles with a disproportional number of harmonization issues when crossing state lines. Pilot cat certification is too important an issue to risk states creating isolated regulations which impedes commerce. What Illinois is to concealed carry, the State of New York is to pilot car certification. It’s damaging to the industry.

Adopting a pilot car certification is certainly an encouraged and welcome method to improve highway safety. The key for state’s is too honor quality programs like the Washington State model and provide reciprocity.

Guess what? The Washington State pilot car training is coming to Illinois in October 2017! Whether you are a pilot car service, or a carrier who has their own operators, the best training is being hosted locally.

Pit Row Pilot Car Services from Lincoln, Alabama is a nationally recognized pilot car service and member of the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association. Here are the dates/locations when Pit Row is offering their training in Illinois:

October 23rd  – Willowbrook, IL
October 25th – Springfield, IL
October 27th – Troy, IL

Reserve your seat now by calling (844) 474-8769. Be part of the solution.

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