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Driving home a registered non -commercial truck


solaction

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I've bought a non-commercial truck that's a totorhome still needing the inside finished. The truck is a 377 Peterbilt not yet an RV. I've got insurance for it and will be driving it home bobtail. I'm wondering if I'll be okay coming from Oklahoma to Texas with a class C license being its not registered as a commercial truck and does have up to date plates and inspection. Thanks for your help this is all new to me being my first big truck.

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Legally? No, you can not drive it on a Class C operators license. That truck will have a GVWR in excess of 26,001 lbs which means you need a Class B license. Legally you should find a friend to drive it home or borrow a Class B vehicle and go get your drivers license before you go get it.

 

Someone other than I, might tell you that the odds of you being stopped and cited are about 1 in 6,538,341 or possibly 342 depending on which way you round, up or down, the numbers behind the decimal point. But there is always that 1 in a million chance. It's easier to be legal and if your luck is like mine, you will be THE guy that gets stopped.

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When you add that 44ft stacker race trailer, you will be overlength in Texas for an RV. If you are racing you will need a CDL, not a DL, along with a DOT number, a medical certificate and a log book. Since you will need all of that anyway, you might as well leave the truck registered as a tractor, since there is no length limit on a tractor and you can pull a 59 ft trailer in commercial usage.

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Texas Transportation Code 621.205 – Maximum Length of Vehicle Combinations



(a) Except as provided by this section, a combination of not more than three vehicles, including a truck and semitrailer, truck and trailer, truck-tractor and semitrailer and trailer, or a truck-tractor and two trailers, may be coupled together if the combination of vehicles, other than a truck-tractor combination, is not longer than 65 feet.


That covers every vehicle combination allowed...except a "truck-tractor" and semitrailer combination. And in Texas, a "truck-tractor" is either registered as a commercial vehicle or converted to a "truck" (or motorhome). And for the maximum allowable length of a "truck" and trailer combination, see the blue paragraph above.



And just out of curiosity. what is "private racing"? Remember the old adage, "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its probably a duck"? If it looks like a racer, and is hauling a race car, it is probably a racer, signs or no signs. What do you think is hauled in a 44ft stacker car hauler trailer? You don't think those DOT guys know what a car hauler is?

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We have the same question, what is private racing?

As we understand if you are driving a vehicle over a certain weight class that is hauling something that you get an award (money, trophy ribbon, etc) or sponsorship benefits you could be considered commercial.

 

We have stopped taking awards for our show vehicle for that reason and do not get any sponsorship benefits. We now do it for bragging rights and the fun of it.

 

Dave

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And in the grand scheme of things, the amount doesn't matter. The fact is that you are racing for money. THAT is what matters. There are many companies that do not turn a profit, but they are still commercial enterprises.
Texas law says:
(7) Commercial motor vehicle--

(A) Includes:

(i) any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles with a gross weight, registered weight, or gross weight rating in excess of 26,000 pounds, that is designed or used for the transportation of cargo in furtherance of any commercial enterprise;


That doesn't say anything about how much money you make. I don't mean to be argumentative but you are not an RV. You are using your HDT in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise (big, small or otherwise). You ARE a commercial motor vehicle and as such there are very specific guidelines that you are supposed to follow.

 

The abuse of the RV designation by people trying to skirt the commercial regs will eventually wind up affecting all of us that are actual RV'ers. You are what you are.

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Thanks for the info I wasn't await of any of this. I've been doing it for 10 years driving all over the country. Just now I'm getting a big truck and trailer instead of using my 1 ton truck and a trailer that's way to small. I was told once I get the truck done with water, waste tank, bathroom, stove, A/C and heat, and beds I can retitle it as a motorhome. The water and waste tank just have to be a specific minimum size.

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Sure you can title your truck as a motorhome........ but that just makes your motorhome a commercial motor vehicle. And it is subject to the exact same rules as every other commercial motor vehicle. The catch is not what it "IS", what makes you commercial is what it "DOES". Being a "motorhome" does not make it exempt from the commercial regulations. Being used strictly for recreational and personal use is what makes it exempt. No good DOT officer will let you and your 44ft car stacker go by without wondering why you have no markings on your obvioulsy commercial looking vehicle. The odds are it may take you a while to get stopped, but it will happen. I'm sure you either have or will call DPS and ask "Do I need a CDL to drive my motorhome" and you were told "No". Well, call them back and ask the whole question: "Do I need a CDL to drive my motorhome, pulling my racing vehicle to the races for money?'

 

And in Texas, they can (and will) impound your commercial vehicle if you fail to have commercial insurance (in the proper amounts) on file with the DMV. The only way to retrieve your vehicle (and cargo) is to show proof of operating authority (a TXDMV or USDOT number and valid commercial insurance....can't get that number without the insurance). That'll sure screw up the weekend race won't it?

 

My issue, and my opinion, is the difference between real RV'ers and part time racers is that RV'ers are not in the rush that racers are in. The HDT RV crowd is "mostly" comrised of retired, comfortable folks who are simply moving from one place to another at their own pace. Racers on the other hand spent all day Saturday and Sunday at the race, and I mean ALL daty Saturday. Now it is Sunday afternoon and time to pack up the operation and they are in a big rush to get back home. They have other jobs, family, etc all at home and they got to get there. They do not want that log book because they would never have been able to leave the races because they would have used most of their allotted driving time racing, packing, and before you know it, they only have 2 or 3 hours left for driving. Oh hell, that won't get em home, will it? Well that's ok. They call themselves RV's. They don't think they need to follow the hours of service that other commercial vehicles have to follow.

 

But I'm sure your buddies all told you that "hobbyists" are exempt also, right? I can show you a whole list of hobbyists that have learned otherwise. You don't race boats by chance, do you?

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But I'm sure your buddies all told you that "hobbyists" are exempt also, right? I can show you a whole list of hobbyists that have learned otherwise. You don't race boats by chance, do you?

 

There actually is an exemption, though it's an exemption from federal law, and doesn't affect what Texas requires. A number of states have their own exemptions in various forms, and MN even tries to make it easy to understand, and references the federal exemption as well. Florida leaves it clear as mud, only calling out travel to/from motorsports competition facilities, but at the same time said it was clarifying the exemption already in federal law (which says nothing about motorsports) and allows display of logos. If Dave takes the van to an event within MN with the HDT and wins a prize, it would appear he's still perfectly legal without any CMV-related stuff. Crossing state lines would be fine too, as long as the states he goes to or through have similar stuff on the books.

 

But they all vary; some like MN are general and it doesn't matter what type of competition is involved, others are very specific--NC's tweak to overall length limits comes to mind (65' unless in connection with motorsports competition events where it's 90').

 

It gets a lot more grey when you're properly licensed in your home state though. You could conceivably be properly licensed with a non-commercial license in your home state, but still be required to have a logbook when driving through another one.

 

My guess is that a lot of those hobbyists really don't want to pull out a tax return to show they didn't deduct their "hobby's" expenses, or it's simply not worth the effort to fight a citation far from home. When you're getting a share of gate receipts every weekend, it's a tough argument. Likewise when the "hobby" is a sole source of income, and they've traded up to NASCAR-hauler accommodations. A lot of it ultimately boils down to the attempt to profit, whether or not someone actually does.

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The only time I was stopped was in Texas. All the questions were directed to determine if I was commercial. I had my notebook with texas vehicle registrations in my hand as I sat in his vehicle. He never iquired as to my length. This was on I27 between Plainview and Lubbock.

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