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Author Topic: Driving on the interstates what is my max permitted bus and trailer length  (Read 1343 times)
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« on: March 13, 2010, 01:08:14 PM »

Yes, I have read that 65' is the maximum length.   However, is that titled/registered length?

I have run with 45' Marathons with there dual stacker car haulers..   

Can I pull my registered 20' Featherlite trailer behind my 45' Prevost??    It might be wise to stay out of California..   But that is where I see the 70' Marathon's running.

I measured my Prevost from the front bumper to hitch/receiver ball (factory installed)is 46' 8" > my trailer length from tailgate to ball is 23' 11"

Again titled factory lengths are 45' and 20'  actual shows that I'm screwed..

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John316
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2010, 01:52:13 PM »

Zero,

This a really tough one. We have wrestled with this one a lot. We haven't bought a trailer yet, and we will see when we do. We are looking at a custom made tandem axle 12' stacker. I know, will it look stupid? Probably Grin. But from what I saw (I don't have the chart that shows the different states length restrictions), we want to shoot for pretty close to 60' total. Let me tell you, that doesn't allow much trailer at all! From what we saw, 60' was just about the shortest that was allowed.

Yes I agree with you. We see people that have rigs way longer then this. However, they might get away with it, but the problem lies in the fact that if anything happens, the police will probably get a tape measure out. If you are in a wreck (that is not your fault at all), and they measure you, and you are over the length restriction, methinks you might get a citation too. You can run along just fine, until something happens. Wouldn't a lawyer love to get ahold of that info. Being over-length, and then having a wreck. He might say that is why you couldn't stop in time (which wouldn't be accurate...).

Just food for thought.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2010, 02:06:51 PM »

I just posted a link to the CA gov website.   http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/trucks/bus-mh/45-motorhomes.htm

(Note: A vehicle combination, e.g. a motorhome towing a vehicle or trailer, may be up to 65 feet length. If the single-unit motorhome is 40 feet or less in length, the combination is not subject to the over-length motorhome restrictions.)

Interesting that if you read about the bike racks mounted on the front of the bus..   Most stackers that I have seen are 20' and greater.   

Does anyone have a link or forum thread that shows state by state maximum lengths.    New York recently passed the larger 45' coach RV length.
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2010, 03:39:28 PM »

I don't believe the bumpers count, but that may be wishful thinking on my part.  the 20' Featherlite is probably a 20' box, add the tongue and it will be 25' over all length.  Interstates are controlled federally, and I believe 65' on a combined vehicle is legal.  I am 65' 6" or so, and my plan is to not attract attention...  titled length is irrelevant, tape measure length is all that counts.

Brian
« Last Edit: March 13, 2010, 03:42:14 PM by bevans6 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2010, 03:48:41 PM »

Brian I have the aero nosed Featherlite..    I wrote up above  > my trailer length from tailgate to ball is 23' 11"
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Sean
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2010, 04:08:00 PM »

We seem to go around and around on this periodically.

The bottom line is that there is no single, unified standard when it comes to privately owned vehicles.  Everything goes on a state-by-state basis, and to really be certain in any given state, you really need to consult the codes of that state.  That being said, several places try to consolidate the information in tabular form; one of the best I have found is here:

http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm

Now before anyone rolls out to correct me about federal highways, yada yada, let me point out that vehicles used in "interstate commerce" are subject to a federal override of state regulations.  This is a matter dictated by the constitution, and you can read it there in black and white.  Courts have generally held that the provision for interstate commerce apply ONLY to vehicles that (1) are declared commercial vehicles with commercial plates and (2) have been registered as carriers of interstate commerce, which nowadays is handled by the US DOT (the "ICC" that so many fondly recite was dismantled eons ago).

So, even if you stick to the Interstate highways and other roads considered part of the "STAA" network (a reference to the Surface Transportation Act, which, again, applies only to registered interstate commercial carriers), if you are a privately registered vehicle with non-commercial plates, you do not get to enjoy any of the commercial interstate exemptions to state laws.

For example, many states limit private trailers or semitrailers to lengths of 40', 45', or sometimes 48', whereas the STAA guarantees certain commercial vehicles access through those states to trailers up to 53'.  Unless you are a registered interstate carrier, you must comply with the lower limit imposed by the state.

Contrary to popular misconception, there is also no magic "reciprocity" between states concerning vehicle length, weight, or other provisions.  There is reciprocity for driver licensing, so, for example, I need no special license to drive my 48,000-lb coach in my "home" state of Washington, so I can also drive it in Texas, where, had I been a resident, I would need a Class-B over 26,000 lbs.  Likewise, my Washinton license allows me to drive a 45' coach (even though I don't have one), so I could drive a 45' coach in California, too, even though residents of that state require a Class-B above 40' in length.  None of this applies, though, to overall vehicle legality:  in Washington, I can drive a vehicle combination up to 75' oin length, but such a (non-commercial) vehicle is simply not legal in California, no matter who is driving.

If you truly have a need for a rig that is legal in all 49 continental states, you need to take the "lowest common denominator" of the individual state laws.  When we were shopping for our bus, we worked that out.  Your coach can be at most 40' long, 96" wide, 13' tall, and weigh no more than 18,000 lbs per axle.  If you had such a maximum-size coach, you could add a trailer no larger than 13' long (total including hitch), 96" wide, and 13' high.

"Mandatory Safety Equipment" is exempted from the calculations.  So if you have, say, a 96" wide bus from sheet-metal to sheet-metal, the marker lights, reflectors, side mirrors, etc. can protrude beyond that (but not such items as awnings, patio lights, step rails, etc.).  Normal safety bumpers can extend beyond the 40' length limit, however specially modified bumpers to carry additional load or equipment such as winches, etc. can not.

Note that, in practice, if your vehicle looks "kinda commercial," you will likely not be stopped in, say, New Jersey for having a 102" wide bus, or a 20' trailer behind it.  But you could, and you could not only be cited, but also sidelined and forced to be towed, or have whatever is excess (such as the trailer) moved separately.

I suggest you comb through the table linked above, and figure out what states you need to drop from travel plans to keep your combination rig compliant.  New Jersey and the District of Columbia are two that are very restrictive, but easy to just go around.

HTH,

-Sean
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2010, 04:13:04 PM »

...  Interstates are controlled federally, and I believe 65' on a combined vehicle is legal. ...


Brian, Interstates are not "controlled federally."  Law enforcement is provided by the states, and all state laws are enforced.  The only exemptions, as I wrote above, are for licensed and registered carriers of interstate commerce.

There are Interstates running through New Jersey and DC where the maximum combined length for privately-owned vehicles is 53' and 55', respectively.  I've never heard of anyone being stopped for, say, a 65' combination, but that doesn't make it legal.

FWIW.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2010, 04:32:36 PM »

Thanks Sean for the link.   

Are you making plans to make it up to the Seattle area?
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2010, 04:59:14 PM »

We're heading to California for some visits in April.  Not sure where we go from there; if we need work done, Sumner might be in the cards, but it is not on the plan at the moment.

-Sean
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2010, 06:34:07 PM »

Hey Sean, Do a seminar and stay for free at our resort. Ramona Canyon RV resort, WHR, San Diego. PM me if you wish. M&C Grin
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