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Author Topic: Updated - Weigh Stations, help please....  (Read 6516 times)
John316
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« Reply #30 on: October 06, 2010, 09:58:57 AM »

BoxCar,

We actually only double checked some or our answers by calling the troopers. Our real source of info was a gent that worked for the DOT. He is a GREAT guy to work with. He wasn't one of those that said you had to do everything, just because he didn't care. He very patiently showed us the statutes and everything. He is not your typical DOT gent. We only called several troopers on one question (tagged weight for the axle v. tire weight). Everybody's answers lined up, and the regs that we can find all agree. So the troopers were only to double check that. Otherwise it was Mr. DOT (again he was great, I wonder why all gov employees can't be like him?).

Also we are no longer a "bus" or an "RV." We are titled the same as a semi truck. We have the same tags that a Semi does. In the govs eyes we are just like a truck now.

As far as why we looked into it further? Well, pleading the ignorance in court often doesn't go to far. For example, if you caused a wreck, and you weren't commercial when you should have been, you are in deep water. We aren't talking about a simple, "We are going to take your bus." We are talking about jail time. We always try to do our best to obey the laws. It is better to follow them, then to ignore them. Especially when something happens to warn us (thanks RickB).

Eddie, I don't understand all of the laws either. I just know the ones that we have to follow right now (at least I hope I know most of them, I don't think you can ever know them all).

Stolaas, I think that legally you would be fine to wrap your bus, IF you never sell them out of your bus, and IF you never take your bus to tradeshows or conventions. I read a statute that said something to the effect of "a sign or wrap alone, does not make a vehicle commercial." However, I would suggest you check into it yourself. I am not a CMV lawyer though Wink.

However, I do think that most all states require anybody who is driving a vehicle over 26K to get a non-commercial class B. That isn't a big deal at all. It is the same test that you took to get your regular DL. Same driving test and everything, for us anyways.

Oh, yes, you asked how a pickup wouldn't have to be commercial. If the GCVWR (that is combined rating) of the vehicle (including the trailer) is under 10K you are fine. Most trucks fit into this category. However, over that and they would like you to get a CDL. The thing is, most people don't know about it, and they haven't cracked down on it. That is the way it is out state anyways. 

And believe me folks, we have looked at this just about every way we can. It is a major headache, that we would rather not do. But we do what we can to do what is right.

God bless,

John
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MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.
belfert
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« Reply #31 on: October 06, 2010, 10:05:16 AM »

Almost every newer pickup on the road would need a CDL if it was based simply on the GCVWR.  I think every 1/2 ton pickup made today has a GCVWR of at least 10,000lbs.  3/4 and 1 ton pickups most certainly are over this limit.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
MikeH
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« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2010, 10:27:03 AM »

Almost every newer pickup on the road would need a CDL if it was based simply on the GCVWR.  I think every 1/2 ton pickup made today has a GCVWR of at least 10,000lbs.  3/4 and 1 ton pickups most certainly are over this limit.

Sorry if I missed something, but where did the 10,000 lbs. come from? I just picked up the MN CDL book, and it says that a Class A CDL is required if "towing a unit of more than 10,000 pounds GVWR with a gross combination weight rating (truck plus trailer) over 26,000 pounds." A Class B is required for a "single-unit vehicle that is over 26,000 pounds GVWR." So I think if you are driving a pickup with a trailer under 10,000 pounds and your total weight (truck and trailer) is under 26,000 pounds, you should be okay (my opinion).

Also, reading this book, it says any single vehicle with a GVW exceeding 26,000 pounds would be considered a CMV. It doesn't list any exceptions, like for an RV. It also doesn't say anything that defines "commerce" - at least not that I can see. So if you use your vehicle as John does and transport items for sale, where is that defined as "commerce" or "business". I know this book is intended only to be a summary of the law, so the actual wording of the law would be the final word on the subject.

I think there is plenty of gray in between the black and white here, but being forewarned is to be forearmed. I applaud John for taking this step, it could save them a lot of grief. Maybe one way to look at is that you can pay the $$$ for the extra insurance, tags, inspections, etc., now, or you can pay a lawyer to defend you later. (John, do you want to comment on how much this is costing you so we can learn from it?) I think keeping a log book of your driving hours and pre- and post-trip inspections is a good idea even if you are licensed as an RV.

All this is just my opinion. My mind is open to learning more and changing it.  Wink

Mike
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RickB
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« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2010, 10:52:29 AM »

I think there is a misunderstanding here.

If you are towing a restored vehicle that weighs 4000 lbs with a 6500 lb truck and a 2000 lb trailer you are over 10k but unless you are towing the vehicle to have it make money for you in some way you are fine.

But if you are towing the same vehicle to a house to sell it or if you're being paid to have it used in a movie or a race car that could receive prize money you are considered commercial.

Taking the restored car to the junkyard is totally legal but taking it to the scrapyard for salvage and being paid for it is against the law in the state of Minnesota if your GVCWR is over 10,000 lbs.

It is my understanding that it is the same thing with a class A license you do not need a Class A if you're vehicle is over the 26k lb threshold unless you are using it for commercial purposes. One of the earlier posts had a godd description of how they define a commercial vehicle.
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Highway Yacht
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« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2010, 10:55:44 AM »

I think the problem is that most of these government officials who work for the DMV and Highway Patrol don't always know the law. When I bought my tag for my bus, the lady at the DMV told me I didn't need any special licence to operate it as long as I didn't carry over 9 passengers or carry any freight as it was titled as a private bus not for hire. The tag cost me I think $31.00. I called and talked to another DMV officer at the licence office and he told me it was a grey area and could not give me a direct answer other than to say it depended on who stopped me as to whether I was legal which is non-sense. Either a person IS legal or they are NOT legal. After searching the NCDMV laws, I did find it in black and white that I do need a non-commercial class B to operate ANYTHING over 26,000 lbs no matter what it is titled as. I also found out while doing my searches that many other states also require a special licence on anything over the 26K or over 40ft in length so it is best to search your own state laws yourself instead of relying on someone at the DMV that could steer you wrong. I learned a long time ago that ignorance of the law is not a good defense and will usually not stand up in court.
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RickB
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« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2010, 10:56:46 AM »

There is another post that just came up about full timing. I believe the officer also pointed out to me that Minnesota does not allow full timing. They designate a clear difference between an RV and a mobile home and if you were take it to the letter of the law as it stands in MN is you don't qualify for RV plates if you are full timing in your bus you are considered a mobile home at that point.

The plot thickens Grin
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« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2010, 11:30:07 AM »

I would think if you are selling a service or product from the bus and have a Federal Id number or a sales tax numbers and take the tax write off for a business like mileage and up keep on your bus and when it comes push to shove in most states they are going to call you commercial. 
I never took the chance myself I never wrote off anything on my bus fuel or nothing sooner or later the tax man prevails and will have the records to prove it plus I didn't need those guys in my life.
Watch what goes on the tax forms it will come back to bite you big time 

carry on
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John316
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« Reply #37 on: October 06, 2010, 05:03:40 PM »

Yup, Rick is correct. I can tell he has spent some time looking into it. He did a great job explaining it. It is confusing where the 26k comes into play, and the 10K.

Highway yacht is so right. That is the problem with the DMV folks. They often don't know. I was told by our local ones some of the same mis-info. That is why we were SO grateful for the gent that helped us. When we called the troopers (we talked with a VERY helpful sergeant) and he said that this guy was THE expert in the state. It was great.

God bless,

John

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MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.
DMoedave
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« Reply #38 on: October 06, 2010, 05:44:25 PM »

John, do you have DOT #'s now or just the semi plate? Its all about revenue in my opinion. Class A license and probably a B are alot more expensive, you  may need a DOT physical every couple of years to keep it etc, etc. Fines are going up, every town has its own court and more police cars than stray cats. My new favorite is the no jake brake laws! Less goverment.
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« Reply #39 on: October 06, 2010, 06:05:49 PM »

Ok i got it now, just read the sad story of Rick B's accident. Minn. is getting alot of bad press lately for harrassing truckers with out of service orders for BS reasons. court decision is now pending.
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niles500
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« Reply #40 on: October 06, 2010, 11:15:54 PM »

As I was reviewing MN statutes ..... you got some pretty screwy laws up there - not representative of most states - What's with the NO MOTOR VEHICLE SALES ON SUNDAY deal?
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« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2010, 05:18:33 AM »

As I was reviewing MN statutes ..... you got some pretty screwy laws up there - not representative of most states - What's with the NO MOTOR VEHICLE SALES ON SUNDAY deal?

Laws against retail sales are called Blue laws.  Blue laws were much more common in the previous century and many of them have been repealed.  The laws are a state mandate to observe Sunday as a day of rest and also encourage folks to attend church services.  North Dakota still doesn't allow retailers to operate from Midnight to Noon on Sundays.  A special exception was made during the 2009 flooding so Walmart and others could sell flood supplies 24 hours a day.

Various attempts have been made to get rid of the State of MN Sunday auto sales prohibition.  Car dealers want to keep the ban as they claim their expenses would go up while still selling the same number of cars.  It isn't too likely that someone decides they need a car on Sunday and decide come Monday they don't really need one.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2010, 06:04:45 AM »

I have to admit my wife and I have had numerous discussions about the above mentioned no jake brake laws. It's pretty funny when we pass the no jake brake sign and we are passed by a dozen or so harleys that absolutely deafen us. I guess council members are more likely to own a hog than an 18 wheeler
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Len Silva
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« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2010, 07:48:45 AM »

At least some of those Jake laws stem from intentional abuse by truckers.  Where I used to live in North Florida (max elevation 345 feet), it was the local gravel trucks who loved to come rolling through town playing with the Jakes.

The signs originally said "No Jake Brakes"  but they had to change it to "Engine Brakes".  Jacobs watches that pretty close and threatened a lawsuit if they didn't change the signs.
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« Reply #44 on: October 07, 2010, 08:11:20 AM »

Quote from: belfert
North Dakota still doesn't allow retailers to operate from Midnight to Noon on Sundays.  A special exception was made during the 2009 flooding so Walmart and others could sell flood supplies 24 hours a day.

Wow I guess many fine folks in ND don't even know this as I used to live in Fargo (2 yrs and then I got my butt back down south where I belong and intend to stay!) and the Super Walmart was open 24/7 and never refused to sell me anything!
Also every corner bar (almost everyone anyway) also has a package store attached to it and sells up until closing time 7 days a week. (3 AM if I remember right)
If course Fargo is the only town I know of or have ever been to where the city closes down due to a blizzard and the roads being impassable, but if you want to get somewhere (anywhere really) you just follow the back route of any bar heading to the nearest bar to where you want to go and the plow drivers have the route nice and clear. (from bar to bar and only on the secondary routes, not the main roads!)
Hmmm. (just always has been one of those things that made me say Hmmm!)
Grin  BK  Grin
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