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 > Actual federal weight law rules, some questions and answers

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djgodden

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Posted: 05/01/17 01:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wadcutter wrote:

Once more, this forum is about towing trailers, 5ers, etc. FMCS regs don't apply. ...


What is it about people that they simply can't get it through their heads that FMCSA doesn't apply to RVers????? I know nothing of this topic and I freely admit it. But for God sake read and understand the name vice spewing the FMCSA acronym. They are the "Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration". Then read their "Who We Are" page. Unless you're a MOTOR CARRIER they don't apply to you and endless quotes of their regs are pointless.

As I learned during my time as a teacher/instructor some students have steep learning curve (meaning they learn quickly) and some have flat learning curves (meaning they don't ever learn). I think we found the flat liners.


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MarineOne

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Posted: 07/13/17 10:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What I would recommend ....

Call the DOT of the state(s) you're going to be driving in and ask. The laws for RV's in each state are varied and across the board.

For Idaho (where I am) you're exempt from weight when pulling an RV, and can pull an RV with regular car plates. The kicker is you can pull doubles (RV plus a boat and trailer, or ATV/UTV and trailer. However, if you pull only a trailer they enforce the GCWR, which in my mind is dangerous and stupid.

I have what we call "T" plates, which are the Idaho plate/tag with a "T" as the last character. I'm registered for 14 thousand pounds, which I believe is the minimum.



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mike-s

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Posted: 09/19/17 06:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The citation in the OP, "para f of FMCSA" is completely worthless, it tells you nothing about where to find the referenced text. The quoted text is found at 23 CFR 658.17(f). It's not part of the FMCSA, but the Federal Highway Administration act.

I find nothing which limits the quoted part to only commercial vehicles. Some sections, like the definitions and length sections, specifically reference "commercial motor vehicles," but not the quoted section, which references simply "vehicles."

But, it really doesn't matter, because the OP's interpretation is wrong. The section prevents states from imposing unreasonable roadway axle weight limits (I think most have seen axle weight limit signs, common on bridges) on Interstate highways in general. It's not there to force states to allow you to tow an RV with 20000 lbs on an axle/tire combo rated for 3500.

Referring to the enabling legislation makes that clear - it penalizes any "State [which] does not permit the use of [Interstate Highways] within its boundaries by vehicles with a weight of twenty thousand pounds carried on any one axle...". It's there to insure consistency within the Interstate system.

You can disagree. Come back after you successfully fight an overweight ticket in federal court.

Copperhead

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Posted: 02/08/19 05:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That 20,000 lb maximum is for any individual axle. I am a commercial driver for 4 decades. The limit gets reduced to 17,000 per axle when 2 or more axles are in a close group. A single axle can go to 20,000 lb, but it has to be rated for it. Thus the manufacturers rating applies. Also, the type of tires on the axle applies. One can have a 20,000 lb rated axle, but if they are running tires only rated to 17,000 lb, then the tires set the maximum axle weight.

One can always buy permits that allow for going over the maximum axle limits, but they have to be made to support whatever you are permitting for. FMCSA has little to do with any of this. The limits are established by the NTSA thru Title 23 USC 127 and ISTEA froze those limits from further changes.

Not really complicated.

twodownzero

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Posted: 02/08/19 07:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have always wondered why registration and motor vehicle enforcement laws seem to be the only things people are worried about. If you are involved in an accident where there are serious injuries or death, you could be charged with a felony virtually anywhere and go to prison!

Just as I would charge someone with a felony for driving double the speed limit on the wrong side of the road, I would seriously consider charging someone with a crime if they were overloaded, especially knowingly overloaded, and their operation of the vehicle caused serious bodily injury or killed another human being.

I think we all know that being 20 pounds overloaded isn't going to result in these circumstances, and driving safely is about more than weight. But what do you think the community is going to think if they know your vehicle is rated for 8,800 pounds and you were loaded to 11,000, and you weren't able to stop in time and killed a minivan full of children? And if you even had one beer before you got behind the wheel of that combination, God help you.

My state also does not allow me to register any vehicle, including my trailer, above its GVWR. Every vehicle I've registered to date, the motor vehicle division has inspected the sticker and registered it for its GVWR. That was not the case in Illinois and Indiana when I was there. If I recall correctly, my vehicle was registered for 12k pounds in Illinois and 9k pounds in Indiana. But since you all seem concerned about getting a citation for being overweight, that is possible as well. Although for me, a fine assessment is the least of my worries compared to going to the pokey if something horrible happened.

Most all crashes are preventable, but all aren't. I leave the capacity judgments to the engineers. I buy insurance against the remote possibility I might have to pay a large money judgment. But none of that will help you if you're in prison for your recklessness--and knowing you're grossly overloaded and operating that vehicle anyway is reckless.

Every state has their own criminal law and defines these terms differently. I see some posts above asking what careless or reckless means. Well that depends on the state. Reckless within the criminal law means, very generally, you're aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk and you take it anyway. Reckless could simply mean "conscious wrongdoing." Reckless could mean wanton and total disregard for the health and safety of other people.

None of this is legal advice and how the rule might apply to YOUR situation could be very different, depending on the circumstances. But the sources of law and rules are many, and probably unknowable for even the most educated of people. Operating any vehicle in excess of its design limits, especially grossly in excess, is a dangerous gamble. The chance of getting caught is probably low. But for the one person who causes serious injuries to someone else and gets caught, the consequences could end up being life changing for both sides of that crash. That's not a risk I would ever take.

Ralph Cramden

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Posted: 02/08/19 07:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Oh Brother.

mountainkowboy

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Posted: 02/08/19 01:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SJW.......


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Acdii

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Posted: 04/22/19 10:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Interesting videos from an Indiana State Trooper.

YouTube1

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