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Legal Width for Motorhomes


Thebackpacker

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I am shopping for a new motorhome. Many motor homes are 101 inches wide. In addition, they will frequently have a few more inches on each side for slide toppers or awnings. Total width is over the 102-inch maximum, excluding safety devices such as mirrors, allowable in most states. Are all of these motor homes in violation of state law?

 

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The width allowable on the National Network roads is 102". This includes the Interstates, almost all Federal Highways and many major state roads.

 

As a state law, most states are set at 96"

 

If you are over 96", you have the "right of access" which means you use National Network roads to get as close to you destination as you can. You then use state roads to get to your destination.

 

Safety equipment: mirrors, steps, lug nut covers are not included in the overall width. Awnings are not included in the overall width as they are above where width matters, between construction barriers.

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This thread reminded me of a memory from 1987. I was driving an 18 wheeler in Massachusetts through a small town. The local cop pulled me over, tape measured the trailer, and gave me a ticket for being off the National Network and 102 wide. Honestly at that time, I didn't even know what the National Network was, perhaps some TV station. The company I drove for paid the fine.

 

Fast forward to today ..... I fulltime in a MH that is almost 102 wide and don't even give it one thought what "network" I am traveling on. Get the wide body and enjoy the extra space it provides.

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The loophole that allows you practically anywhere is "to and from terminal facilities". A terminal is defined as anywhere the vehicle needs to be loaded or unloaded, service, and or fuel or rest facilities. That is why you see 53' -102" trailers in lots of places where they are clearly illegal, like on Broadway at 57th St in Midtown Manhattan, usually picking up or delivering a Broadway show for example.

You can still get the ticket, depends on the LEO and how the local jurisdiction decides to enforce the National Network interpretation. Been dealing with the vague interpretation since 1982.

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My thanks to everyone who responded. There appears to be an understanding that 8 1/2 feet (102 inches) is the legal width, but not a good understand as to how slide covers and awnings are allowed to exceed that limit. Further research for my home state found this provision extracted from among the Oregon statutes,

Chapter 818 — Vehicle Limits

 

2013 EDITION

 

VEHICLE LIMITS

 

OREGON VEHICLE CODE

 

818.080 Maximum size limits. This section establishes maximum size limits for purposes of ORS 818.090. Except where an exemption under ORS 818.100 specifically provides otherwise, any vehicle or load thereon that exceeds a maximum allowable size as determined by any of the following tables exceeds the maximum size limits for purposes of ORS 818.090:

(1) A vehicle or combination of vehicles, as appropriate, exceeds the maximum allowable size if a dimension of the vehicle, combination of vehicles or load thereon is beyond an applicable maximum size allowable on the following table:

______________________________________________________________________________

 

TABLE I

Dimension Limit applicable to: Maximum

limited: allowable

size, in

feet, for

dimension

limited:

 

(1) Total

outside

width................................ Any vehicle................................. 8 ½

 

818.100 Exemptions from size limitations. This section establishes exemptions from the maximum size limitations under ORS 818.080 and 818.090. The exemptions under this section are in addition to any exemptions under ORS 801.026. Operation in accordance with one of the exemptions described is not subject to ORS 818.090. Exemptions are partial or complete as described in the following:

 

(15) A recreational vehicle may exceed the maximum width established under ORS 818.080 if the excess width is attributable to an appurtenance that does not extend beyond the body of the vehicle by more than four inches, or if a passenger-side awning, by more than six inches. As used in this subsection, “appurtenance” means an appendage that is installed by a factory or a vehicle dealer and is intended as an integral part of the recreational vehicle. “Appurtenance” does not include an item temporarily affixed or attached to the exterior of a vehicle for the purpose of transporting the item from one location to another. “Appurtenance” does not include an item that obstructs the driver’s rearward vision.

 

The entire vehicle code can be found at

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/lawsstatutes/2013ors818.html

 

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