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Pilot/escort vehicle driver certification class offered

Minnesota State Community & Technical College Custom Training Services has announced that it will offer pilot/escort driver certification.

MSTCT’s CTS department is collaborating with the Hennepin Technical College, who has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and AdvancEd Minnesota to offer a training program designated to certify over dimensional load pilot/escort vehicle operators to the standards set by the new law passed by the State of Minnesota in 2010 and adopted in late 2012.

“Our goal is to communicate the new industry rules and regulations and to present current pilot/escort driver nest practices and guidelines relating to safety,” said Erik Gohl, industrial coordinator for HTC’s customized training services.

He noted that Minnesota lawmakers deemed this a necessary law for public safety reasons.

“Oversize loads are getting bigger and becoming more frequent on Minnesota highways. The qualification bar for pilot/escort drivers, including law enforcement personnel, has now been raised.”

Essentially, if pilot/escort drivers want to continue to do business in the state of Minnesota,   they now have until Jan. 2 to become trained and certified by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. It’s the law. Their vehicle, in addition, will need to meet certain requirements.

Peace officers performing pilot/escort duties will also be required to undergo specific pilot/escort training before they can engage in those duties.

Justin Brevik, equipment services manager for Perkins Specialized Transportation Contracting in Northfield, Minn., noted, “As a trucking company that specializes in oversize load movements, we truly believe that if people are properly trained and certified to operate a pilot/escort vehicle, our roadways would be much safer. Moving large shipments is dangerous; the people that help move these loads must understand the required equipment, safety measures and best practices.”

Colonel Kevin P. Daly, chief, Minnesota State Patrol, concurs with the importance of obtaining the new certification. Addressing future students of the certification course, he stated, “Your job as a pilot/escort professional is essential to the safe transport of over dimensional loads on Minnesota’s highways. The importance of your role in this activity cannot be overemphasized.”

The law specifically directs the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) system, working in conjunction with the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP), to develop and conduct this training. MSP tasked two colleges in the system, Hennepin Technical College (HTC) and Advanced Ed Minnesota (formerly known as Mesabi Range Community & Technical College) to develop and teach the curriculum.

 The new certification training for civilian pilot/escort drivers will be offered at the MSCTC-Moorhead campus on Dec. 5 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

State law mandates the cost of civilian pilot/escort driver certification classes to be $180 per participant. Advanced registration for the classes is required. Drivers will need to provide a current Minnesota driver record (no older than 30 days) with their registration.

For registration information, contact Melissa Olheiser at or call 218-299-6566.

For information on scheduling a customized class at your facility, contact Mary Drewes at 218-770-2304.

For other training dates in your area, go to Chose browse classes, the sessions are listed under transportation.