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Florida HDT Registration


bockofma

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Good day.

 

For those who successfully registered there HDT in Florida as a motorhome or other non-commercial vehicle, may I trouble you for which county or location you accomplished the task?

 

I have Florida Statute 320.01 with which to fight the good battle, but if you can suggest anything else I would be most appreciative.

 

Thank you.

 

Regards,

 

Michael

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We recently went through this battle in April, 2015 with the State of Florida (as I've briefly mentioned in another thread) in Marion County where we permanently reside. I am afraid having a copy of Florida Statute 320.01 will do nothing as far as being able to aid in your fight the good battle as you stated. We know from experience, plus the fact that my wife is a retired Florida LEO.

 

We were required to register our Volvo as a "Tractor" even though it will be used solely for private use, and DMV was made aware of that fact from the start. It had legally been registered as a "motorhome" in Montana and was classified as such on the title we received in the purchase of it. These out of state classifications mean nothing to Florida's DMV. Also, the state of Florida uses the "Gross Combined Vehicle Weight" (meaning combination of the tractor and the [heaviest] trailer you will be towing with it. They do NOT go by the weight of only the tractor as states like Montana allowed. In our case, the tractor weighs slightly less than 17K full of fuel (based on actual Cat Scale ticket) and our Redwood's GVWR is just under 17K. So we registered the Volvo's GCVWR as 34,999 lbs. In doing so, we still run under a "standard" Florida plate and not a commercial or apportioned one. Now, we were actually told by DMV that we were not required to bring in a scale ticket for either unit, and that they would register the Volvo at what ever GCVWR we chose to give them. But in the next breath, we were also warned that if when stopped by an LEO or state officer and our weight (if scaled) exceeded the amount on the registration, we would be fined and could possibly be shut down. Even though we would not be operating commercially.

 

Let me note that any tractor registered within Florida (even though it will not be used commercially) that weighs more than 16K and is registered as such is going to require a "Certificate of Insurance" which shows the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles Neil Kirkman Building 2900 Apalachee Parkway Tallahassee Florida 32399-0500 as the policy holder in the lower left hand corner of the certificate. Plus the actual dollar amount for the PIP coverage required by the State of Florida, which is a minimum of $10,000.00, and must also be shown on the certificate you will be required to hand them (and not the separate policy) to legally title the truck and register it in your name and the planned use of the vehicle. Trust me, we know all to well as they turned us away three times before accepting the proof of insurance from from our insurer Allied Insurance.

 

First because Florida was not listed on the certificate as the policy holder. Next because the PIP amount was not shown. Finally after Allied had corrected the PIP and had listed it as "full coverage" the certificate was still not acceptable! Only after the $10,000.00 amount was shown on the certificate, were we able to move forward and finalize the process. Let me note here that from the beginning, the supervisor at both DMV locations we were dealing with we involved and each collaborated what the other was requiring. So we were working on an even plain here.

 

As Jack stated, Florida will NOT allow you to register your tractor as a motorhome. Our Kenworth was a fully equipped (kitchen/ bathroom w/shower/ full sized bed, etc) tractor with 170" of living quarters exactly like a small Class C type motorhome inside. But as long as the fifth wheel (or a gooseneck) hitch was attached to the tractor and the intent was to pull a fifth wheel RV or gooseneck type of trailer, it could not be legally registered within Florida. Not to say that a person could not temporarily remove the hitch, register the tractor as a "motorhome" and then replace the hitch afterwards and then run illegally with it. For us, the risk were to great! I will scan and post the Florida documents pertaining to this given to us by DMV and which clearly define this restriction.

 

So, we currently run under a Florida registration which classifies our Volvo as a type "RMR" vehicle, and because we registered the GCVWR at less than 55K are not required to pay the Heavy Highway Use Tax which runs about $550.00/ year. Our annual plate (sticker) renewal will run slightly more than $300/year. If you find a better deal to legally register your tractor/toter, please share it as we too would be interested.

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Here those documents:

tm2G3Ic.jpg

rFQRNg0.jpg

njSy15Y.jpg

 

Note: We did question the part where it says "rest upon" because regardless of a trailer being a fiver, gooseneck, or tag along, once hitched to the tow vehicle part of the trailer's weight does in fact "rest upon" the tow vehicle. Even though the State of Florida will allow you to register your tractor as a motorhome (if properly equipped inside) and pull a bumper hitched trailer [who's weight in part is now resting upon the "motorhome", such is not the case with the Fiver. As with many things in life this become a matter of interpretation of which obviously they win. That's fine as once we learned the proper and legal requirements to title and register our Volvo in Florida, it was really quite easy. Plus even though its registered as a tractor, in the eyes of our insurer its considered a private vehicle used to tow our fiver for recreational use and the policy amount reflects accordingly.

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Hey...watch it!! I like Grey.....or is that "Silver".

 

At 11 years young, let's call it grey. It'll be "silver" when it gets a little older.

 

I'm fairly certain it's mine--windows in all the right places, right size slide-out (which was unique at the time for Showhauler), etc. I'm still laughing about only being able to tow a trailer, not a semi-trailer, since the photo clearly shows it hooked up to a semi-trailer!

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What I'm seeming in the photo of the Showhauler like unit is a bumper hitch type trailer rather than a semi-trailer which would require a fifth wheel hitch. Although, as big as the box for the living quarters is on that thing, its about the same size as the pup trailers (28-32 feet) that FedEx and UPS haul with their semis! With all that room, who needs to pull a fiver behind it. LOL

 

Even though they clearly pointed to that photo and explained that since the trailer was hitched to the bumper rather than a fifth wheel, therefore qualifying in the state's eyes as an RV, I argued the point that a portion of the weight of that trailer is "resting upon" the tow vehicle which is the same reaction as a fifth wheel RV. Of course I lost that battle. Nothing but a play on words.

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By definition, that bumper pull trailer is a "semi-trailer". Just not a trailer one would typically equate with a "semi".

In no way trying to argue your definition but rather respectfully asking for the source to educate myself further.

 

My interpretation of "semi-trailer" was based on three sources.

 

USDOT regulations which governed our trucking business and their definition of the types of commercial trailers.

 

Merriam-Webster Dictionary which defines a semi-trailer as one that attaches to a tractor by the fifth wheel device of the truck tractor.

 

Wikipedia whom also describes the connection type as being the same (fifth wheel).

 

If a bumper hitch (or tag along) type trailer such as the one shown in the Florida document above is by definition also a "semi-trailer" I was not aware of that, as it is not defined as such in any documents I've read. Really interested in reading your sources definition and adding a copy into my legal file regarding motoring regulations.

 

Thanks :)

 

Note: Upon reading your profile I see you are from AB Canada. Is it that the definitions are different between the two countries? I am only up on the US rules and regulations in this area.

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Somebody help me out here. It was almost 6 months ago, in a tangential conversation, that this was first brought up. It basically boiled down to a "trailer" being closer to what you or I would consider a wagon, and thus, any vehicle being supported by the prime mover was a "semi-trailer". There was considerable discussion, with footnotes for support.

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I've always heard trailers and semi-trailers defined just as Darryl described -- that a trailer is self supporting, even while being towed, while a semi-trailer must be supported in some manner by the towing vehicle (or another device, like a converter gear) in order to be towed. I'm not Canadian, so it's not a regional difference.

 

The Wikipedia and Merriam-Webster definitions come up short in that they ignore one class of semi-trailer entirely -- those that utilize a gooseneck attachment method. By the Wikipedia and Merriam-Webster definitions, they aren't semi-trailers because they don't connect via a fifth wheel, but they have every one of the deficiencies of a fifth wheel trailer as compared to a self supporting trailer. If you define a "full" and "semi" trailer as Darryl and I have described, then gooseneck trailers are properly defined as yet another type of semi-trailer.

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This Alberta gov website defines commercial truck and trailer configurations which are standard registration type vehicles. It does not cover heavy haul trucks and combinations that operate under permits, such as double 53ft trailers, or jeep and booster trailers etc :

 

https://www.transportation.alberta.ca/4777.htm

 

A semi trailer attaches to the tractor or trailer ahead of it by a fifth wheel

A "bumper tow" or pintle hitch trailer without a turn-table front axle group is a pony trailer

A "full trailer" is a wagon, plural such as 2 or 3 is a "set of joints"

A semi trailer can rest on a "converter" to make it a full trailer (wagon).

 

So you see why us commercial truck industry people have a :huh::blink: look when we bumble into the RV world where "fifth wheels" are semi-trailers, fifth wheels are "hitches", hitches are also hitches, fivers are semi-trailers not currency to buy you and a buddy a couple coffees on a road trip, :D:D:D:(

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My interpretation of "semi-trailer" was based on three sources.

 

USDOT regulations which governed our trucking business and their definition of the types of commercial trailers.

I do not know what section of the FMCSR you read but section 390.5 clearly defines Full, pole and semi trailers. Darryl, Phil D and noteven are all correct. A "full" trailer is basically a wagon (think hay ride) and a "semi" trailer needs a tow vehicle to hold it up. Think of "semi" in the scope of this definition:

a combining form borrowed from Latin, meaning “half,” freely prefixed to English words of any origin, now sometimes with the senses “partially,” or “incomplete”. A "semi" truck is only a partial truck or half a truck, since it can not haul it's own load. A "semi" trailer is only a partial trailer. Without a "semi" truck to hold it up, it will fall down where a "full trailer would not. That is one reason our trucks can be registered as private "trucks". Since they are capable of carrying a load after we install a bed they no longer qualify as "semi trucks".

 

I posted these before but here they are again.

This is an example of a FULL trailer:

full_zps896ada9d.jpg

 

And this is a SEMI trailer

semi_zps5877e82d.jpg

 

as is this one

01-S.jpg

 

Although Florida's definition of a trailer and a semi trailer are technically incorrect they fix that issue by plainly stating that you can NOT have a fifth wheel connection. You can debate the definition of a trailer all day long, but you can't get past that "Is there a fifth wheel connecting device on the conversion". The definition of trailer doesn't change that hitch type at all.

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Gary Hage I also live in Marion county Fl, but we keep our truck registered out of the state of Montana for this same reason. Where you at around her? It will be nice to have another HDTer here in town to talk to

Grand Lake RV and Golf Resort over looking the cattle pasture. Can't miss us because we're the only HDT in the resort! :)

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I do not know what section of the FMCSR you read but section 390.5 clearly defines Full, pole and semi trailers. Darryl, Phil D and noteven are all correct. A "full" trailer is basically a wagon (think hay ride) and a "semi" trailer needs a tow vehicle to hold it up. Think of "semi" in the scope of this definition:

 

A "semi" truck is only a partial truck or half a truck, since it can not haul it's own load. A "semi" trailer is only a partial trailer. Without a "semi" truck to hold it up, it will fall down where a "full trailer would not. That is one reason our trucks can be registered as private "trucks". Since they are capable of carrying a load after we install a bed they no longer qualify as "semi trucks".

 

Although Florida's definition of a trailer and a semi trailer are technically incorrect they fix that issue by plainly stating that you can NOT have a fifth wheel connection. You can debate the definition of a trailer all day long...

 

I have been reading from FMCSR 390 Subpart - A General Applicability and Definitions Section 390.5 page 352 paragraphs A , B, and C.

 

I can see where the confusion comes into play, but in residing in Florida and registering both my commercial and private vehicles (motorized and trailers) I would of course be taught to follow and comply with FL. DOTs definition(s). At this point I cannot say that I stand corrected but will find it interesting in researching this further on my own through local and state LEO agencies to see how they define the differences between types of trailers on Florida's highways. Definitely been an interesting topic!

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