Jump to content
Av8r3400

Over-length?

Recommended Posts

Over-length question for the group:

I have heard of people being stopped and fined for over length. Not often, but it does happen. Has anyone ever been stopped and pulled out of service until a commercial operation can move the (non-commercial) vehicle out of the jurisdiction?

We are currently under 65' so I have no worries, but we would consider a different trailer someday that may take us over that limit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just me but I would not rig deliberately for overlength except for double tow (or as the rv world calls it “triple tow”) ...

Possibly being fined and then having  to split my prime mover from my home (trailer) and hire someone to tow my home while I bob tail along behind would be a “pain not needed in my life.” I do with less stuff needing less space. 

I have posted about towing a self propelled vehicle behind my trailer... which could result in a park it, fine, get outta here separately situation but many forum members report no bother to date doing this on Big Highways. 

My dumb opinion only as always 😀

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we were pulling our 40' Travel Supreme with our Volvo 770, we also towed a car behind.  Truck and trailer were 64.5' long. 

The one time we were stopped, in 12 years, was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan travailing the truck route and a bored LEO stopped us to check our length.  We came in at 83' and he told us to disconnect.  After doing his wants & warrants, he informed us that double towing was legal in Michigan but the length law, at the time was 70'.  But since we were not Michigan residents, the next time we should not tow.

The issue was that we could drop the toad off and be legal.  I am not sure what someone with a 45' trailer and a full length truck would do.  If the officer was concerned on the rig length limit, then someone with an over 65' rig could be faced with getting a commercial truck and driver to tow the trailer.  A commercial truck and single trailer has virtually no length limit.

So if you want to have an over-sized trailer, in Maryland over 40' is a commercial trailer and requires a commercial tractor,  and want to carry a car on the back of the truck and you want to be absolutely legal, get a CDL, license the truck commercial, get a log book and a FTA sticker.

By the way, a Smart sideways on the truck is over the 102" width limit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.rvtripwizard.com/rv-info/state-road-laws.php 

After reading the first few states on this I wonder how most of us even get registered or bought our trailers in the first place. Check out the trailer length in California. Many states limit with to 8 feet. Alaska and TEXAS limit trailers to 28 feet 6 inches. If I got those numbers wrong from when I read them I am sorry. Perhaps this info is old.

Edited by Lance A Lott
Correction

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a couple of 45' Tetons that had a data plate of 40'.  Same thing with GVWR of only 20,000 lbs, again a number that above would make the trailer commercial.

That is how they get registered.

Virtually all states have a road width of 96", except on the National Network Highways.  The National Network is the Interstates, most US highways, and many state roads typically marked for truck traffic.

That allows you to have a 102" wide trailer because you would normally travel on the National Network and use the "right of access" to get from the National Network to or from your destination, right?

The widths do not cover safety equipment, steps, mirrors, lug nut covers on trucks. but not CB antennas.  Awnings are excluded from trailer widths.

Do you ever get stopped, probably not.  In an accident, that may be a consideration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AV8r, there was a HDT forum member that was cited, here in Texas, for being 3ft over length (68ft overall). I know there have been a couple of others too. The "being placed out of service" is sort of a misnomer. I will not speak for other states, but in Texas there is no legal way to place a non-commercial vehicle "out of service". Oh, the officer can tell you that you must fix the issue before you leave but he can not force you to do so. He can write you another ticket for it if you move...each and every time, but cannot force you to have someone else come get your trailer. The only way to do that is if you are a hazard to other traffic. 

Lance, I do not know where the data on that link comes from but it is NOT accurate. Texas limits commercial trailers to 59ft...the 28 and a half is only for commercial vehicles towing double trailers. We are not commercial so the 65ft total length (in Texas) is what applies to us.

Almost all states limit the length of a trailer (commercial or otherwise). Many do not limit the length of the tractor (allowing those super-condos) so there is no overall length limit for a COMMERCIAL vehicle COMBINATION but there is a limit on the trailer. 

Some examples of commercial trailer lengths:
TX=59'                NV=53'
OK=59'6"            NM=57'6"
NH=48'               SD=53'
TN=50'                NJ=48"
LA=59'6"            OR=53'

You can do a search for something like "Texas vehicle length" (substitute any state) and make sure you choose one that takes you to that States page, not Good Sam, this forum or that list you posted. You can read them for yourself. You will usually find combination lengths, and exemptions for trailer lengths if pulled by a "truck tractor". Just remember, most of our converted HDT's are no longer "truck tractors". We are either trucks or motor homes. Traditionally "truck tractors" are commercially registered. So check that same page for things like "truck/trailer combinations" or non commercial vehicle lengths.

Also, as was mentioned, being over 20,000lbs GVWR does not make you register commercially. My 5er has a GVWR of 24,000 and my HDT has a GVWR of 52,000. Neither are registered commercially.
 

8 hours ago, Mark and Dale Bruss said:

 

Edited by Big5er

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Phil,

This subject comes up often, the gross violations are easy to see.    What or IF are the tolerances on length limits?      A 45' trailer as an example being towed by a truck with an OAL of say 65' 5"?      The letter of the law is 65' where would "most" LEO's write a cite?      Like speed, a mile or two over IS a violation that most won't cite.   

Steve       

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve, I cannot answer that. There is no "rule" or guidance. What you and I might consider "ok" another person may not. As Mark mentioned a smart car, sideways, is 4" over width.  If I get a ticket for hanging over 2" on either side, oh well. I've got bigger issues long before the smart and that 2" overhang hits the guy beside me.
Texas has a written, in the book, tolerance for weight. No citations for less than 1000 lbs over because there are no scales at a job site. So they give the loader some lee-way. There is no such tolerance for speeding or length. The speed limit on the freeways around me is 65mph. I usually won't stop anything less than 78 (20%). I know some that stop people at 70, some at 75 and some that simply hate traffic stops and rarely stop anyone. 

Edited by Big5er

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Big5er said:

S The speed limit on the freeways around me is 65mph. I usually won't stop anything less than 78 (20%). I know some that stop people at 70, some at 75 and some that simply hate traffic stops and rarely stop anyone. 

 

Nice to know! 

:ph34r:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that what I have been told by the Vermont DMV Commercial Unit is that a vehicle registered as a truck is limited to a total of 75' and a width of 8'6" .  Vehicle registered as a motor home is limited to a length of 65' unless it was previously registered as a truck then it is limited to 0'. I have been told a different story every time I talk to them I was told bumper pull only up to the 65' length and then no trailers at all.  If you use a pleasure  vehicle there seems to be no limit except the 75' and the need for brakes on the trailer.

All officers I have spoken to (I was a Deputy so I know most of them) said 75' one of them said 65' for moter home but that he didn't care about that unless it was unsafe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lance, from what I read a motor home ("vehicle without a trailer") is limited to 46ft and a "vehicle with trailer or semi-trailer" is, like you said, limited to 75ft.

Quote

The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 23 : Motor Vehicles

Chapter 013 : Operation Of Vehicles

Subchapter 015 : Weight, Size, Loads

(Cite as: 23 V.S.A. § 1432)

  •  

    § 1432. Length of vehicles

    (a) Operation of vehicles with or without a trailer or semitrailer. No motor vehicle without a trailer or semitrailer attached, which is longer than 46 feet overall, shall be operated upon any highway except under special permission from the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. A motor vehicle with a trailer or semitrailer shall be operated, with regard to the length of the vehicle, pursuant to this section. If there is a trailer or semitrailer, the distance between the kingpin of the semitrailer to the center of the rearmost axle group shall not exceed 41 feet. An "axle group" is defined as two or more axles where the centers of all the axles are spaced at an equal distance apart.

    (1) Vehicles with a trailer or semitrailer not exceeding 75 feet. If the overall length of a vehicle with a trailer or semitrailer does not exceed 75 feet, it may be operated without a permit.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Big5er this is the problem I have been having with VT DMV, I think they make up what they want and tell people who inquire that it's law. They never seem to tell me the same thing twice. I am one of a small handful of people who have asked about this and they say oh your the guy from Morrisville, so I have put a target on my back. Thank you for looking that up for me I have a copy of Title 23 from the 90's some place. 

As a Vermont license holder all I have to do is register as a truck about $850 per year and as a non commercial driver I wont have to wory about the 65' length. 

I understand that each state does not have to give reciprocity to length and width like they do a license and registration?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talking globally now:

Like most DMV departments, there are those assigned with Commercial enforcement and then the rest.  The commercial enforcement guys know their stuff cold, mostly memorized or like Phil, they carry all the rule books in their patrol vehicles.  Their stuff is commercial and they know it cold.

Now the rest of DMV may never have read any of the code/regulation books.  They work on the lore among the other staff.  So what they know is variable.  There is a good chance you know more than the non-commercial people.

I find it interested that we do not want to commercial, pay for commercial plates, have a CDL license, carry a CDL medical card.  a log book, a FTA sticker and the list goes on, and yet so many of our arguments are "well a trucker can".

While we feel we are the most important people in the world, the truth is that the RV world is very small to the regular car users and truckers and quite often the state legislators forget to pass logical rules for RVs and the people in the DMV carry on with the job the do the most dealing with regular drivers and commercial.

And to make things more interesting, state legislators pass codes and they have to be published under Federal law.  But virtually every state enables the director of the DMV (or whatever title it is) to makes regulations to enhance the public safety and those regs do not need to be published.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Mark is saying is true,

The actual number of trucks being used as legitimate RV's is tiny.    The clerk at the DMV office you go to register very likely has never encountered the situation before.     Because these transactions are so rare they are often aware of them only by a studied applicant, armed with the state code.      The same issue is valid for DMV, Cops and, other government workers.    

Big 5er Phil's advice about having a book of statutes and rules to educate the random officials you may encounter is really the most straight forward way to present your case on the road.     I dealing with DMV folks, I have found using the states own DMV and, revenue code were most helpful.      In my case the clerks learned about the entire process from ME.

 

Steve   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Big5er said:

 

Government and Law Enforcement have, to date, generally been uninterested in RVs (which is good for us). My fear is that with SO many "newbies" deciding to try RVing, many will not bother to get the training/information to RV safely (many simply won't know how much they don't know and NOT realize the potential peril they're in and, how much of a hazard they pose to others). If there were to be some SERIOUS accidents (especially in a short period of time), that disinterest among government/LEOs could change (and NOT to the advantage of those RVers who do have a clue). MOST LEOs are NOT familiar with the wide array of conditions the different States impose on RVers. It's been mentioned here before that a wise RVer driving a big RV have, readily available, the documentation showing that they are in full compliance with the state that registered and licensed THEM. Not antagonizing a LEO who stops you (for whatever reason) is also a wise course of action (as one of our members can attest to).

My other fear is that with governments facing economic hardships and being desperate for money, they will see RVs as an untapped source of potential revenue and, start adding fees/taxes/surcharges/etc/etc/etc. I expect many here have noticed that, at more and more weigh stations, a weight  is specified; NOT whether a vehicle is commercial or not. Many (most?) of us would fall under said weight "gotchas" (even though many of us would not be overweight).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

Rv Share

Dish For My RV.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.



×