Accurate estimates of characteristic traffic load effects are essential in order to optimize bridge safety assessment. Permit trucks dominate the extreme upper tail of the truck loading distribution and as a result need careful examination. This paper proposes rules for filtering these trucks from Weigh-In-Motion data for both the US and Europe. The importance of these trucks in critical bridge loading events is then examined for both regions. A Monte Carlo traffic simulation model is developed which focuses on the accurate simulation of permit trucks.