Abnormal loads

This chapter covers the requirements for vehicles that exceed the weight and/or dimension limits within the Road Vehicles Construction and Use Regulations.

Updates for 2024:

  • Full implementation of Longer Semi-Trailers (LSTs).

  • Updated information regarding DVSA Load Security Guidance.

For further information please refer to the briefing note below.

Download the abnormal loads chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law


  • Individual Vehicle Special Orders (formerly known as section 44 permits).
  • Abnormal indivisible load.
  • Notification of abnormal loads – ESDAL2 project.
  • Vehicle categories and weights.
  • Offences and penalties.
  • Width.
  • Length.
  • Projection marking and attendant requirements.
  • Automatic level crossings.
  • Breakdown on bridges.
  • More than one abnormal load.
  • Application of construction and use regulations.
  • Identification sign.
  • Speed limits.
  • Notice to police.
  • Escorts.
  • Self escorting code of practice.
  • Notice to Secretary of State.
  • Notice to National Highways.
  • Notice to road and bridge authorities.
  • Form of notice.
  • Testing and plating.
  • Vehicle excise duty.
  • Longer Semi-Trailers.
  • Operating an LST in Northern Ireland.

Download the abnormal loads chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law

More Information


Abnormal, or indivisible, loads may be carried on vehicles on the public roads provided the carriage is undertaken in line with a section 44 permit (section 44 of the Road Traffic Act 1988).

These rules allow the carriage of ‘abnormal indivisible loads’ which exceed the weight and/or dimension limits contained in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, the Road Vehicles (Authorised Weight) Regulations 1998 and also a variety of unusual vehicles, such as items of engineering plant or military vehicles, whose design and function prevents compliance with construction and use regulations, to be used on public roads in certain circumstances.