Bus Conversions dot Com Bulletin Board
July 29, 2014, 09:50:28 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: 500 Members as of May 5th, 2006.  Smiley  3,499 Members as of October 21, 2012 Cheesy

   Home   Help Forum Rules Search Calendar Login Register BCM Home Page Contact BCM  
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Updated - Weigh Stations, help please....  (Read 6486 times)
RickB
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1047


81 MCI 9 smooth side 8V71 Allison 754




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2010, 05:54:18 PM »

John,

Here are some of the things I have found out over the last week. First off, if you have RV plates the law has to prove that you are using the bus for "commercial" purposes and some of the ways that they will attempt to prove that you are commercial is an RV has to have a shower and food storage, preparation and cooking appliances.

If you are setup like a 12 bunk entertainer coach out of Nashville which rarely have a shower and have limited food storage and preparation appliances they are probably gonna start digging around looking for evidence of an office (an office is a no-no because you use an office to make money hence the term commercial) or they may check your bays for instruments or a large amount of products that suggest you are traveling somewhere to either drop off products which makes you a commercial carrier or a vendor which means you intend to sell a product for profit using your bus to get to your sales destination. That is their exact definition of a vehicle being used for commerce with incorrect plates. It is then that weight per axle really becomes a concern. that's also why I asked all of you to take any manufacturers stickers or plaques (even if they're hidden like mine was behind a upholstered cover) that suggest how many passengers you can carry. That is the kind of proof an officer needs to make the fines stick.

I hate to say it but until the economy turns around and states find themselves less financially strapped I believe they are going to start being quite interested in what we are using our buses for. I will drive my car to any future gigs I may have and I will admit that this setback for us has Lea and I seriously looking at the viability of keeping our bus.

To give everyone a clear picture of the changing landscape of bus ownership and a clearer view of what we are really talking about here and how many of us are quite possibly already over the line into commercial operation, while we were waiting for the DOT guy a motorhome went by towing a race car to the local dirt track and the trooper looked and said "See that's a perfect example of what we are talking about, that guys is going to race for prize money and he has RV plates if I wasn't here with you right now I'd pull him over". There was no question in that troopers eyes that he would have made that citation stick.

There are a number of guys who race cars on this blog, there are or were guys like Dallas who work on motors, Belfert travels to rocket shows... Is there a prize for best rocket?

There are a number of folks, myself included, on this blog who need to be aware that with the tight economy states and cities are going to try and raise revenue any way they can and we are one of the demographics they are looking at. If you use your bus to go to campgrounds exclusively you're fine if you're driving to Phoenix to speak at a convention and they find out about it, you could face really stiff fines for breaking the commercial vehicle law, not to mention possible tax evasion not to mention different insurance and DOT regulations

For what it's worth, the lowest commercial vehicle insurance I could find is more a month than my bus
payment is.

Don't get scared or angry about this just use due diligence and if you are going to use your bus in ways that could be deemed commercial don't wear it on your sleeve i.e., buswrap advertising you next speaking engagement, widgets for sale signs in plain sight or a sound system that takes up your whole front bay (been there, done that) and if you do get caught don't lie and whatever you do try not to turn a misdemeanor into a felony by resisting an officer in ways that a court would find illegal. It's perfectly legal to srgue your case to an officer but I have yet to see it work. It seems that the court was invented for arguments.

Sorry for the long winded post but I am concerned for all of you and I'm really concerned that a scenario like this might come on a particularly bad day for one of us and we might just lose it and may spend some time in jail as a result.

One thing I intend to do in the future is, unless there is an obvious reason for doing so,  I will be reluctant to obey an officer if he says "hey why don't we go talk about this alone for a second just you and I" I did that last week and my attorney informed me after the fact that without a witness to corroborate your side of the conversation it is hearsay and it is not permitted in court.

John I hope this post and all the other posts you have received have given you some clarity.

Thanks all
Rick



Logged

I will drive my Detroit hard... I will drive my Detroit hard.
Brassman
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 257




Ignore
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2010, 06:17:20 PM »

....that a scenario like this might come on a particularly bad day for one of us and we might just lose it and may spend some time in jail as a result.

Do you mean that I may grab my wasp spray and give the trooper a blast?

Seriously, a good post.



Logged
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12095




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2010, 06:41:30 PM »

I did it a little different than you guys about the commercial plates ,I had commercial plates and insurance in OK but OK did not require CDL's for the bus as it was a private RV vehicle. 
OK allows you to have commercial plates on a car or pickup commercial plates were cheaper than private plates only difference was with the commercial plates the insurance limits were higher but the insurance premium wasn't much different in price for the 100,300,100 which was the minimum required for commercial plates.I carried more than the minimum
 For awhile I would stop at the weigh stations and was always given the green light so I stopped pulling into to them


good luck
Logged

Live each day like it was your last,one day it will be
John316
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3212

MCI 1995 DL3, DD S60, Allison B500.




Ignore
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2010, 06:58:50 PM »

Thanks for the replies folks

Okay, to clarify some things. Ruthi, when we travel we sell books at different places, among other things.

Our conversion is a full bonified RV. We rarely stay at RV parks, because we Wally dock all of the time. We are setup for two weeks with only needing to get fresh water every four of five days. We have a kitchen, shower, full sized fridge/freezer, etc.

However, when Rick's fiasco came up, we started looking at the regs closer. We had always been told, RV you are fine. Don't worry about it. We started checking and found out that at the very least, we needed non-commercial class B's (check your state regs, folks, I think most states require this). There is nothing more to that test then taking a regular drivers written test, and going on a regular skills test. No biggie.

However, if you sell things (Jim, I am wondering about you, for example), like we do, you are a commercial carrier. That involves getting a Class B CDL, DOT#, inspections, weigh stations, log book, fuel tax (what a headache), IFTA....just ask any trucker.

BTW, Rick. Our insurance just went up like 800 dollars, and I am not sure if that is a year, of six months. It didn't seem too bad.

However, we were pleased that we should be fine as far as axle weights go. We can run 18.2K on the steer axle legally. They don't care about what the sticker says. They just care about what the tire is rated for. That means that right now our bus can carry 62.4k lbs. However we registered it right under 54k, because that saves on tax (and we won't load it up that much either). I don't remember what we weigh empty, but I think it is 42K (actually that is with a full tank of fuel and water, but no grey or black water, and the bays completely empty).

Again, we have researched this incredibly. We have looked at just about every angle we can. The law is the law, and it says we have to be commercial. There just really isn't any way around it.

Ya'll make your own decisions. I am grateful for your help. And I would like to thank RickB for bringing this to our attention. You mentioned how you might give up the bus (which would be very sad), but you helped us keep our bus. Thank you sir!

Thanks again.

God bless,

John
Logged

MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12095




Ignore
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2010, 07:07:35 PM »

John, you will sleep better knowing you are legal it was never a problem for me only thing in my bus was someone telling me which way to go and she is good at that lol

good luck
Logged

Live each day like it was your last,one day it will be
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5395




Ignore
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2010, 07:08:48 PM »

Rick, we have never made a dime shooting rockets.  There are no prizes.  There have been some TV shows on rocketry with cheesey contests, but no actual prizes and no payment for being on TV.  The last rocketry TV show we participated in was well before I even had the bus.

One of the guys wants to letter our trailer with our rocket club name and I don't really want him to do that.  I don't want to invite any possible scrutiny as a commercial venture.  I would prefer to leave the trailer nameless.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Highway Yacht
*****Jimmy*****
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 504


Locust, North Carolina


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2010, 07:21:02 PM »


However, when Rick's fiasco came up, we started looking at the regs closer. We had always been told, RV you are fine. Don't worry about it. We started checking and found out that at the very least, we needed non-commercial class B's (check your state regs, folks, I think most states require this). There is nothing more to that test then taking a regular drivers written test, and going on a regular skills test. No biggie.


I know that North Carolina requires a non-commercial class B for RV's with a Gross weight over 26,001 pounds.


Logged

1979 MC-9  8V71-Turbo / HT740             * www.MciBusTalk.com *
Locust, North Carolina                           A Site Dedicated To MCI's
rv_safetyman
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2199


Jim Shepherd


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2010, 07:53:58 PM »

John, I have been wanting to post on this (and other similar threads), since we do attend RV trade shows with the bus and service vehicle.

There are two issues in this thread.  First is driver's license requirement.  I have a Class A CDL, so that is not an issue.

The second issue is setting the combined rig us as an interstate business vehicle.  My service truck is clearly labeled that we have a business.  I love the wrap, but am thinking about having the wrap changed to clear white so as not to flag the enforcement folks too much. 

Most of the vendors at the shows have magnetic signs that they put on the toad when they get to the show. 

Even if I have the wrap changed, it is still a truck with a service bed and that might be enough to flag the folks.  All they would have to do is subpoena my tax records and they would see that we declare part of our trips as a business expense.  Heck all they would have to do is to read this post (considered not posting for that reason).  Can you say paranoid?   

It is sad that these folks put up a roadblock to a small business person who pays taxes and tries to contribute to the economy.  The economy has driven our business to the brink and we may have to pull the plug on trade shows and maybe the business in total.

Jim

Logged

Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
RickB
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1047


81 MCI 9 smooth side 8V71 Allison 754




Ignore
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2010, 08:04:36 PM »

Brian,

I didn't mean that comment literally, I was trying to point out how far the DOT may try to go to prove someone is commercial and I think not putting names, logo's or images of what you may be carrying or racing or whatever on the outside of our coaches or our trailers is probably pretty smart.

John,
Are you a 45 footer because my bus is right around 32k? I am surprised that your bus is that heavy.

I'm not normally super sensitive to rights and freedom's but it does strike me as odd that my home state that took such poor care in building and maintaining a bridge in Mpls that it fell and killed and injured a number of folks is all of a sudden so interested in collecting tax. I hope they put the extra tax dollars that they collect to good use like actually fixing and maintaining our highways and bridges. One can hope right?

I have to admit that having gotten to know all of you people that visit this forum weighs heavily on my decisions regarding the future with our bus. As imperfect as we are and as much as we fight over silly stuff sometimes I have learned so much and I have formed a good number of what I hope to be lifetime friendships through this crazy  internet family. I think we represent the modern day cowboy. We like to ride where ever and when ever we want, if it's broke we'll at least try and fix it ourselves and we don't suffer fools very well either. We are fiercely loyal and supportive to one another when stuff happens... and stuff happens alot with bus folks now doesn't it? Must be something in the coach water... Grin Cheesy

May you all have a good night and an even better tomorrow.

Happy trails,
Rick

Logged

I will drive my Detroit hard... I will drive my Detroit hard.
John316
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3212

MCI 1995 DL3, DD S60, Allison B500.




Ignore
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2010, 04:35:21 AM »

Jim, That really is good that you have a CDL. That certainly does take care of one of the issues. Otherwise, it is obviously up to you about whether you are commercial or not. I can tell you it is a ROYAL PAIN going commercial. I think the biggest thing, like Rick said, is they want to get you for tax evasion. However, the thing of it is, we could probably travel for many more years without an issue. The problem is the one time that it is an issue. But I 100% agree with you, Jim. The gov seems to want to push small businesses out. They want you to do all sorts of crazy stuff. Our country would have way more economy if the gov just backed off. But that isn't going to happen Cry

Rick, our conversion also weighs more then the standard conversion. We have about 1k lbs of batteries, 1K of generator, the outside walls are covered in 1/2" plywood, and the floor is built up 1" with 1/2" plywood on top. That is the kind of stuff that adds up quickly. We also framed the inside of the bus out with 2x2" solid oak. Okay, now that I said that, I looked back over the list. That really probably isn't too far out from a standard conversion. And yes we are 45' long.

How much fuel do you all carry? We carry right at 215. I wonder if that could add more then is normal?

Clifford summed it up very well for us. We will sleep better at night, knowing that we are legal. We always thought we were, but with new info, hence the change.

Thanks again for the help.

God bless,

John
« Last Edit: October 06, 2010, 04:58:53 AM by John316 » Logged

MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.
boxcarOkie
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1452





Ignore
« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2010, 05:38:54 AM »

John I don't understand why you are running commercial tags if you are not hauling people?

As for troopers as a source of information?  

You can ask three troopers the SAME QUESTION and in turn receive THREE OPPOSING VIEWS so that is that.  

The only place we were ever hassled was the P.O.E. in Needles California and that was because we did not have "papers" on a 30 year old parrot (Go figure?).  Now we just exit at MP-01 and drive six miles upstream to a bridge and circumvent their dumb a**.

Lastly, why would you want to stop and ask for problems, hammer it down and just keep on truckin.  If they want you they will chase you down and explain it to you later.

BCO
Logged

eddiepotts
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 446





Ignore
« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2010, 07:19:14 AM »

I would like to know if someone parks their bus at your house and when they  toss a $50 on your counter as a gesture of thanks, do you all the sudden become a camp ground and owe a butt load in taxes and get threaten with tax fraud for not reporting it? I think your trip with good will tips should be the same thing. I would not think you become a commercial vehicle. The other thing is if you have a house you can rent it for 14 days with not having to pay taxes. So is your bus not considered one of your homes? Don't let them push you real hard.
Logged
Stolaas
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 40



WWW

Ignore
« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2010, 07:47:10 AM »

I am glad I am reading this post.  I own a watch company and was planning on putting the watch brand and an advertisment wrap on the back end but now may consider not doing so.  I wouldn't be selling anything from the coach, just an advertisement which is free because I didn't charge myself anything for it Smiley and just shows a picture of the watches.

What gets me is why would a bus be commercial if you wrap it or carry something and your pickup truck isn't?

I'm in Alabama and there isn't any commercial tags for autos but there are of course for semi's. 

As for that RV pulling that race car, that is the reason people don't like the way the government is headed or most troopers either.  There shouldn't be a difference whether you pull your race car with your tuck or bus!!!  Angry
Logged

RickB
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1047


81 MCI 9 smooth side 8V71 Allison 754




Ignore
« Reply #28 on: October 06, 2010, 08:23:20 AM »

stolaas,

The problem is the weight. If you tow a race car to the track with your pickup and the combined weight is not over 10k lbs. you are not considered commercial, but if you tow that car in an enclosed trailer behind a freightliner and win money on the weekend they consider you commercial. At least here in MN it's just that simple

I think the government being too involved in our lives is a serious issue but I think voter turnouts of less than 20% of the population is even more troubling. If we want changes in government policy we can't just stay at home come election day and gripe about it, we need to get off our couches, drive to city hall and vote. Things don't change just because we don't like them they change because we replace folks in office with people who align with our values. I really encourage everyone on this blog to get educated about what politician best reflects your views and vote.

Alright, alright I'll take my meds now and put away the soapbox Grin Grin

Rick
Logged

I will drive my Detroit hard... I will drive my Detroit hard.
MikeH
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 109




Ignore
« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2010, 08:40:07 AM »

At least here in MN it's just that simple

I wonder if you have your truck/trailer/bus/rig licensed in another state and then cross the border into MN, do the rules for the state of where you are licensed apply or the rules for MN? Or, maybe it doesn't matter - if all the states base their rules on something that comes out of Washington, DC, then they will all be about the same?

Mike
Logged

"It just ain't fair! How come the good guys always win?" -Bad Jack Cutter
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!