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Submariner

legal travel problems/solution 48 foot Coach???

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I am semi committed to purchasing a 1985 conversion coach that is 48 feet long and 13'6" height.  It took quite some time to

come to an agreement with the current owners and I researched height issues but not length until recently.  Every state seems to

have different legal rules concerning 40'+ motorhomes/ coaches.  Anyone with 40' plus coach find good references/rules/guidance and advice

I'd Love to hear your words.  Thanks Much!

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33 minutes ago, Chalkie said:

A quick glance through this reference makes it look like 48' would be over length pretty much everywhere. 

Thanks Chalkie.  I saw similar info by state in a different location but wondering how all these 42-45 footers are making it all around...  Wondering if there are exceptions or?  The 48 footer also has two steering axles for better mobility.  The sellers I know took it 10k miles plus through the south and SE.  I just haven't got an answer for reference yet...

 

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15 hours ago, Submariner said:

I am semi committed to purchasing a 1985 conversion coach that is 48 feet long and 13'6" height.  It took quite some time to

come to an agreement with the current owners and I researched height issues but not length until recently.  Every state seems to

have different legal rules concerning 40'+ motorhomes/ coaches.  Anyone with 40' plus coach find good references/rules/guidance and advice

I'd Love to hear your words.  Thanks Much!

Had 45 ft Newell, but never got stopped. Newell did make a couple of 47 ft coaches that they said were street legal. Of course some states like California have different limits for different roads. 

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I can only speak for California.  The maximum length of a single vehicle allowed in California is 45’.  At 45’, you will also be restricted to certain roads.  You cannot drive a 48’ coach anywhere in California.  Willy Nelson had a tour bus that was over 45’ (I don’t remember now exactly how long it was).  He was stopped by CHP and told to remove it from the state (this was quite a few years ago now, but it did happen).  Being a California resident, a 48’ coach/bus conversion would be a no go for me (no matter how good the price was).

On edit:  If you want the actual California vehicle code section that gives the length restrictions, I can provide it for you.

Edited by Chad Heiser

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Here is a reference published by the RV industry assoc listing max motorhome length by state, almost all are 45 ft. But that's the overall limit, each state & locality can further limit the length on local roads. 

A 48 ft single coach would seem to be a violation in most states. Whether you would ever get pulled over & cited is a different question. If you're not commercial, enforcing equipment regulations is not a priority unless they already have you stopped for other reasons.

RVIA Max Length

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22 minutes ago, JRP said:

Here is a reference published by the RV industry assoc listing max motorhome length by state, almost all are 45 ft. But that's the overall limit, each state & locality can further limit the length on local roads. 

A 48 ft single coach would seem to be a violation in most states. Whether you would ever get pulled over & cited is a different question. If you're not commercial, enforcing equipment regulations is not a priority unless they already have you stopped for other reasons.

RVIA Max Length

Thank You guys for providing feedback!  It seems to be beg forgiveness instead of ask for permission in this case... I am still seeking some legal advice locally before I commit to buying it and bringing it back cross country.  But if anyone else has any suggestions or ideas or thoughts of waivers accepted Id Love to read them!  Safe travels wished for you ALL!  Scott

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I have never been able to find the actual code, but my understanding is that by federal law, if the vehicle is legal in the state it's registered in, all states that have received federal funding for roadway construction, or maintenance, are required to allow your vehicle(s) on those roadways that those funds are used on.

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1 hour ago, AquaDawg said:

I have never been able to find the actual code, but my understanding is that by federal law, if the vehicle is legal in the state it's registered in, all states that have received federal funding for roadway construction, or maintenance, are required to allow your vehicle(s) on those roadways that those funds are used on.

This is incorrect, which is why you can’t find a code.  Length laws are set state by state for non-commercial traffic/vehicles.  What may be legal in one state may not be legal in another state.

 

Also to the OP, you mentioned two front steering axles.  That is a dead giveaway that it is long.  I am in law enforcement and that would draw my attention to the coach (not necessarily specifically for length, but because it isn’t something you see very often or ever).  Once you have the attention of a LEO, he/she may become more interested and actually take some action.

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Your the LE SME, but this falls under the same code as if your home state does not require an RV endorsement on your drivers license and you travel to a state that does require one. The foreign state has to recognize your driving privileged from your home state, and can't not let you drive your vehicle there because you dont have an RV endorsement.

 

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What you are being told is what you already know. The 48' single vehicle is illegal everywhere. It is up to you if you want to take the risk, but as Chad said, the dual fronts will definitely draw attention.

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2 minutes ago, AquaDawg said:

Your the LE SME, but this falls under the same code as if your home state does not require an RV endorsement on your drivers license and you travel to a state that does require one. The foreign state has to recognize your driving privileged from your home state, and can't not let you drive your vehicle there because you dont have an RV endorsement.

 

Reciprocity extends to registration and drivers license only. On those two items, if you are legal in your home state, you are legal everywhere. A state does not have the ability to "restrict" on those items. Everything else, a state has the right to restrict, and there is no reciprocity unless negotiated between neighboring states (typically).

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6 minutes ago, AquaDawg said:

Your the LE SME, but this falls under the same code as if your home state does not require an RV endorsement on your drivers license and you travel to a state that does require one. The foreign state has to recognize your driving privileged from your home state, and can't not let you drive your vehicle there because you dont have an RV endorsement.

 

Registration and driver’s license are reciprocal from state to state.  These are the only two things that are reciprocal.  If you are properly licensed and registered in your home state you are legal in all 50 states.  There is no equivalent reciprocity for length or towing doubles or other locally (state by state) regulated items for non-commercial vehicles.

 

on edit: Jack typed faster than me, but gave the same information.

Edited by Chad Heiser

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I would submit that vehicle length is no different than having your windows tinted. For example Washington state allows a darker tint than California. When I was driving my pickup in heavy traffic in California I was pulled over by a SP for my windows being too dark. I told him they are legal in Washington state (where my vehicle was registered at the time). After checking my drivers license and registration he told me to have a nice day and sent me on my way.

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2 minutes ago, AquaDawg said:

I would submit that vehicle length is no different than having your windows tinted. For example Washington state allows a darker tint than California. When I was driving my pickup in heavy traffic in California I was pulled over by a SP for my windows being too dark. I told him they are legal in Washington state (where my vehicle was registered at the time). After checking my drivers license and registration he told me to have a nice day and sent me on my way.

He simply used discretion and chose not to issue you an equipment violation citation.  If he had wanted to, he could have issued you a citation for the violation in California even though you were legal in your home state.

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11 minutes ago, AquaDawg said:

I would submit that vehicle length is no different than having your windows tinted. 

 

That is simply not true. Wish it was, though.  :)

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Well, I have to say this is the best "forum" of assistance I think I have ever gotten from any site!  Thank You all very much!

I've asked also in other places and are reading their feedback as well but I think the consensus is have every other duck in a row (which worries me travelling from Florida to Washington with a 30 day temp from Oregon...)  and follow every other law and hope for the best.  Or the smallest tickets they give... Lol

I do especially appreciate the input from the law enforcement...

Oh, and bypass Cali and take the cold snow route through SE Oregon...

 

 

Edited by Submariner
add

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11 hours ago, Chad Heiser said:

He simply used discretion and chose not to issue you an equipment violation citation.  If he had wanted to, he could have issued you a citation for the violation in California even though you were legal in your home state.

Having been a Calif Traffic Judge I’m sorry but you are wrong. Window tinting on a out of state vehicle is not subject to Calif law and if you as a LEO issued a violation for window tinting I would have dismissed the violation. Just like the law regarding the height of a motorcycle handlebar. Vehicle length is not an equipment violation and is subject to local state laws just like the motorcycle helmet law in CA. Calif has a 65 foot max length and 45 foot single vehicle length which meets Fed law as to max allowed on a Fed Interstate. There are also roads in CA where the legal length for that highway is shorter due to the physical conditions of that particular road. 

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Hi Submariner - where was this coach being operated since 1985 and before that it hasn’t been impounded and confiscated by now :) ?

A coach with four front wheels should be a conversation starter annyways.

In the world of Big Trucks we call them “twin steers”. 

 

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You buying in Australia? Long Highway busses were fairly common, but then, how did it get into the country.

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On 10/7/2018 at 12:12 AM, Twotoes said:

Having been a Calif Traffic Judge I’m sorry but you are wrong. Window tinting on a out of state vehicle is not subject to Calif law and if you as a LEO issued a violation for window tinting I would have dismissed the violation.

Uh, hey Judge. Show me that in the law. Show me anything that says window tint is reciprocal amongst states. Are you an attorney? What qualifications do you need to be a "traffic Judge"? Where did you study law? You might want to double check your facts. Chad is right. I'd would (and have) written out of state vehicles (from Louisiana and other states) tickets for tint that is too dark by Texas law. There is no reciprocity for equipment. 

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On 10/6/2018 at 12:13 PM, AquaDawg said:

I would submit that vehicle length is no different than having your windows tinted. For example Washington state allows a darker tint than California. When I was driving my pickup in heavy traffic in California I was pulled over by a SP for my windows being too dark. I told him they are legal in Washington state (where my vehicle was registered at the time). After checking my drivers license and registration he told me to have a nice day and sent me on my way.

 

On 10/6/2018 at 12:18 PM, Chad Heiser said:

He simply used discretion and chose not to issue you an equipment violation citation.  If he had wanted to, he could have issued you a citation for the violation in California even though you were legal in your home state.

YES he could have.... North Dakota will in a HEARTBEAT.....

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On 10/7/2018 at 12:12 AM, Twotoes said:

Having been a Calif Traffic Judge I’m sorry but you are wrong. Window tinting on a out of state vehicle is not subject to Calif law and if you as a LEO issued a violation for window tinting I would have dismissed the violation. Just like the law regarding the height of a motorcycle handlebar. Vehicle length is not an equipment violation and is subject to local state laws just like the motorcycle helmet law in CA. Calif has a 65 foot max length and 45 foot single vehicle length which meets Fed law as to max allowed on a Fed Interstate. There are also roads in CA where the legal length for that highway is shorter due to the physical conditions of that particular road. 

In my particular case in North Dakota, even though I was legal in my home state, it was cheaper to pay the tint fine than to drive 800 miles to show up and have it dismissed.

Now to humor Big 5'er (Phil), the ND patrolman got his AttaBoy and his quota for the day....  

Edited by Alie&Jim's Carrilite

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13 hours ago, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

Now to humor Big 5'er (Phil), the ND patrolman got his AttaBoy and his quota for the day....  

Once had a  guy that told me I was just trying to make my quota. I told him "Yup, two more today and I get a microwave oven". The captain was laughing his ass off the whole time the sergeant was chewing on mine, but WTF, it was worth it. 

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On 10/15/2018 at 7:03 PM, Big5er said:

Uh, hey Judge. Show me that in the law. Show me anything that says window tint is reciprocal amongst states. Are you an attorney? What qualifications do you need to be a "traffic Judge"? Where did you study law? You might want to double check your facts. Chad is right. I'd would (and have) written out of state vehicles (from Louisiana and other states) tickets for tint that is too dark by Texas law. There is no reciprocity for equipment. 

Yes I am a Attorney. I went to Law School at the Univ of San Diego School of Law. I practiced 20 years and was a traffic court Judge for 5 years. The lawin CA (not sure about other states) is as long as you are legal in your state for equipment you can not be cited. . For example, if you ride a motorcycle the law in CA is that thehandlebar can not be more than 6 in above your shoulder. No such law in AZ I believe. But also no helmet law in AZ but you can be cited for not wearing a helmet in CA. It is inconvenient and expensive to remove window tint while just passing through the state but it is not inconvenient or expensive to require one to wear a helmet. I would dismiss your citation for window tint violation on an out of state vehicle. 

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