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Heap of Trouble


Jim Corey

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The driver of a truck double towing a fifth wheel and VW bug is in big trouble for causing the start of the 2500 acre Cuesta fire near San Luis Obispo, CA. Double towing is not allowed in California. Apparently, some sort of mechanical problem caused the fire. A photo, very clear, of the rig was released. Driver could potentially be liable for fire fighting costs, now in the $13.6 million range. He probably doesn't have that kind of coverage.

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Double towing is not illegal in CA. There are restrictions you have to meet in order to do it, but it is not illegal.

As a native Californian I was always told double towing (non commercial) was not allowed. Thanks for the correction. BTW the photo of the rig looked to be too much for the truck. But I'm sure details will emerge.
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Could you explain please? People run stop signs and cause accidents every day and insurance still covers. How is this different? I'm not too insurance savvy.

 

Running a stop sign is theoretically an "accident." Knowingly running an illegal setup is entirely different. Still a court fight though.

 

Dennis is on the right track . A couple grand for a car crash is everyday stuff . 13.6 Million ... I'd think they might just find some fine print to aid in not paying .

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As a native Californian I was always told double towing (non commercial) was not allowed. Thanks for the correction. BTW the photo of the rig looked to be too much for the truck. But I'm sure details will emerge.

 

Someone gave you incorrect information in re double towing.

Correct DL & at least a 1T pickup and you're good to go....ahhh "tow".

 

Also, as a native Californian, you would/should also know ALL "trucks" (including all pickup trucks) from the smallest import to the newest style -like a Chevy Avalanche- are required to have commercial plates - simply stated, anything with a bed.

 

You might be *using* your pickup for non-commercial activities, towing an RV, "only" carrying your golf clubs, or groceries - but it *will* have commercial plates (with annual registration fee added - commensurate to it's load carrying capacity).

 

Been that way "forever".

 

 

~

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no the truth is,you do not have to have comm. plates if you have a camper shell,cab over camper or a cover.but you better not get caught with anything in the bed.I have done this for the last 30 years with non comm plates,I have never heard of anyone being checked.

 

 

Chalk off "the truth" to ......it used to be that way, LOL!

 

True. You *could* register your pickup without commercial plates if it had a permanently mounted camper or camper shell.

The permantely mounted camper (intended for human habitation) made your pickup a housecar.

Although a bit of a gray area, so did the camper shell.

You were issued passenger car plates, rather than commercial plates.

:

However, it was not just the issue of hauling something inside your camper shell that could be construed as a commercial use resulting in a citation..........

 

*If* you removed the camper shell, and an observant commercial enforcement LEO saw your pickup without the shell, without commercial plates - you could also be cited.

 

Just because you were never stopped or cited - didn't make it legal - then or now.

Knock on wood - you got away with it for 30 years, you may be overdue?.. :wacko:

 

 

Anyway, that was "then" - - here's the current truth *now*..........

 

http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/vehindustry/vin_memos/vin2011/11vin29.pdf

 

Note the "Clarification of Camper Shell".

 

BTW - lots of MC folks (self included) went to vans instead of pickups "way back when" for security of the MCs, and also because you could register the van as a housecar (with a few easy mods - sometimes with none, depending on the DMV office), and avoid the necessity for commercial plates.

 

*MANY* of those "housecars" had (kept) zero facilities for "human habitation"!

Never knew of anyone being stopped and/or checked - maybe things have changed (now).

(I kept minimal items - 'cause I used 'em for sleeping prior to desert races).

 

Oh yeah - here's another "then and now" - for ya....

 

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/trucks/weigh-stations/stopping.htm

 

Scroll down to - "Do these vehicles have to stop at scales"

 

Will you be chased down towing your RV? - Probably not.

However, if you have a utility bed or a stake bed - it's a firm maybe!

 

Note: All of the above applies to CA licensed vehicles.

If you are legal in *your* home state, they do *not* apply to you in CA.

(Exception might be if you look like a "hotshot" driver delivering a new trailer)

 

 

.

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What do you think from the photo: over loaded or not? I'm not a truck-fifth wheel guy.

 

Not knowing the year and make of the truck it is hard to say for sure, but it looks like a newer GM dually. If so, the towing capacity is ~23K. The trailer looks old. It also looks nose high.

 

With that pic, it shouldn't be long before someone turns in the driver or he contacts police himself.

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The CA DMV RV license handbook says you need a commercial Class A with a double trailer endorsement and a valid medical card to tow a second trailer - noncommercial Class A, B or C licenses are limited to a single trailer behind the tow vehicle.

 

Wanna bet whether or not that guy has the proper license?

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The CA DMV RV license handbook says you need a commercial Class A with a double trailer endorsement and a valid medical card to tow a second trailer - noncommercial Class A, B or C licenses are limited to a single trailer behind the tow vehicle.

 

Wanna bet whether or not that guy has the proper license?

 

Is it known that the vehicle is registered in CA?

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According to the link provided in post #11, the driver is just a "person of interest who may have information". Sounds like you guys already have him convicted.

 

It's noteworthy that CalFire is currently running TV spots for wildland fire prevention - showing a bumper pull trailer (travel trailer) dragging it's safety chains.

 

(IMO) the idea that the double tow "suspect" was an idea planted in the folk's minds who have seen the ad -

who don't know any better - -

and then saw the double tow....which couldn't possibly be legal.... :wacko:

 

Ah-ha - bound to be the culprit !!

 

Also - NOT a double tow, but many years ago, I towed a VW baja bug behind a MH.

There was no practical way to run safety chains with the tow bar without the possibility of "entanglement"..

Maybe folks currently towing a "toad" can chime in on requirement/s for chains.

 

.

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