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  1. #1
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    Kioti DK45

    Default Pickups and Legal Trailer Weight Limits

    There seems to be a lot of confusion as to legal weight limits for pickup-trailer combinations that may be driven without a CDL. Each state sets its own rules and most state DOT provide confusing descriptions of the limits. I’m curious what the limits for non-commercial drivers are across the country.

    In Virginia rigs under 26,001 pounds GVWR, provided the tow vehicle’s GVWR is less then 16,001 pounds are legal (VA rules). Since production ¾ and full ton pickup have GVWR between 9 and 12 thousand pounds, the effective legal trailer GVWR limit ranges from 7 to 8.5 tons. VA seems to use the federal definition of a commercial vehicle.

    A few times a year I pull trailers through New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland so I’ve checked into their rules. NY has recently changed the limits (NY limits) on the normal driver license to match the federal limits and eliminated a non-CDL license class that was formerly required from trailers over 5 tons. Prior to that, and maybe still is, out of state drivers were limited to combined GVWR limits set by the state issuing their license. MD limits its residents to 5-ton trailers, but like NY lets out of state drivers haul up to their home state’s limit (MD rules first bullet on page 6). PA rules are the same limits as VA (PA reference)

    What are the rules for other states? Please post links to official state web sites with the information if possible to forestall debate. An interesting side note; the way the GVWR limit is written encourages drivers to use lighter tow vehicles to haul the heavier trailer. For example in VA its legal for most ½ pickups to pull 10 ton trailers, while most one ton pickups would be limited to 7 ton trailers. Insurance companies could deny a claim if a driver doing this caused an accident, but a cop couldn’t order the driver off the road to prevent the accident in the first place.

  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    Jan 2004
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    Central Lower Michigan
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    Kubota L3430

    Default Re: Pickups and Legal Trailer Weight Limits

    Michigan has changed its trailer CDL requirements to match the federal standard.

    http://www.michigan.gov/sos

    It is the same as the states you mention.

    Combination Vehicles - Towing a trailer or other vehicles with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more when the gross combination weight rating (GCWR)** is 26,001 pounds or more.

    ksmmoto


  3. #3
    Banned
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    Falling Waters, WV
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    Kubota BX23

    Default Re: Pickups and Legal Trailer Weight Limits

    Of course, someone had to do it. Youre an instigator arent you? [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]
    Most states now follow federal CDL guidelines from the FMCSA or the National Commercial Driver License Program so you wont find much variation from state to state. Even if there are variations from state to state, The basic CDL requirements will remain the same.
    Your link to PennDot is pretty clear, as are many other state links. I wish I could post a scanned copy of my West Virginia CDL manual. Its got a flow chart that is real easy to follow.

    Here's what WV has to say about class A and B CDL requirements.

    "Class A: Any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.

    Class B: Any single vehicle with the gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds."

    the holder of a valid commercial driver license may drive all vehicles in the class for which that license is issued, all lesser classes of vehicles, and vehicles which require an endorsement, if the proper endorsement appears on the license.


    The first requirement of either a class "A" or class "B" is "Any single or combination vehicle with the gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more". If you dont meet that first requirement, you dont need a CDL A or B irregardless of the weight of the trailer.

    If you interpret the laws above to mean that you needs a CDL to pull a 10000lbs+ trailer then you would need the same license to drive a 3/4 pickup pulling a heavy duty car trailer or dump trailer as you would to drive a tractor/trailer.

    Along those same lines, its also true that if you have a CDL A, you can drive lesser class vehicles (CDL B). If you follow the same reasoning from above, the same person driving the 3/4 ton pickup pulling a heavy dump trailer may also drive a tri axle dump truck. That just doesnt make sense.

    I challenge anyone to find documentation that states that the only requirement for a CDL A is a trailer with a GVWR of 10000lbs+.


  4. #4
    Banned
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    Default Re: Pickups and Legal Trailer Weight Limits

    In reference to Maryland. About needing a CDL for 10000+. If you are refering to this statement.
    "Effective October 1, 2003, if you are a Maryland non-commercial driver operating a commercial motor vehicle in intrastate commerce (within the state of Maryland) and the vehicle weighs between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds, you are now required to hold a valid Federal Motor Carrier (DOT) physical card in your possession. If you are licensed prior to October 1, 2003, have a preexisting medical condition, and the onset was prior to 10/01/03, you will be exempt from this requirement for a 20-year period, provided your preexisting condition does not worsen. You are still required to maintain a DOT physical.
    This concerns a DOT physical. States will vary on there requirements for a DOT physical and DOT numbers displayed on vehicles but thats a totally seperate issue from CDLs.

  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    Kioti DK45

    Default Re: Pickups and Legal Trailer Weight Limits

    RayH,

    I'm not interested in starting anything, only in finding out the facts. I'm trying to focus on the rules for non-CDL drivers like me. Basically guys with a large pickups and large (for a pickup truck) trailer.

    On Maryland I stand corrected. After searching their web site the 10,000 pound restriction does not apply to non commerical vehicles. I don't know if the rule changed from when I checked several years ago, or if I've been wrong all along.

    Your comments on WV makes me think a CDL isn't needed for combinations under 26,001 GVWR. I wish it were spelled out more clearly though.

  6. #6
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    Kubota BX23

    Default Re: Pickups and Legal Trailer Weight Limits

    Im just messing with you about starting the thread.
    Anyways.
    While the laws regarding CDLs are pretty consistant between states, the laws regarding operation of commercial vehicles that dont require CDL arent as consistant. In the obove reference from Maryland (I use that as an example because its here).
    A commercial vehicle is defined as a vehicle or combination over 10000 GVWR that is used for intrastate commerce. If the vehicle is used for interstate commerce, the USDOT laws become in affect. Your pickup pulling a landscaping trailer would fall into one of these catigories (is if doesnt exceed 26000lbs) and if you use it for business purposes. To operate this vehicle, you would need a DOT physical and register the vehicle with either the MDDOT and/or USDOT. This is where the states seem to vary. Some have odpted the USDOT rules and some still maintain there own rules and some are in transition.
    When I had my tractor service I had a 1 ton F350 dumptruck that I pulled my 10000lbs eguipment trailer with. The combined weight was 24400lbs (under CDL) but well above the 10000lbs limit to be a commercial vehicle. By the strick interpretation of West Virginia law, I should have had a USDOT number on the truck and maintained a DOT physical. I got around this by leaving the truck titled, registered, and insured to me personally and not advertising on the truck or trailer. this eliminated any proof that it was operated commercially. As far as the DOT or state police were concerned, I used the truck and trailer for my own personal use. For personal use vehicles, there are no CDL or DOT requirements to deal with no matter what the weight of the vehicle. Thats how you see all these $1000000 private motorhome buses going up and down the road. They are all well over 26000lbs but dont require CDLs because they are for private use.

    Clear as mud.

  7. #7
    Gold Member Chuck_Lind's Avatar
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    2000 New Holland TN65 & 1956 John Deere 50

    Default Re: Pickups and Legal Trailer Weight Limits

    Talk about BIG BROTHER...a couple years ago I emailed PennDot and asked what the regulations are for GCWR for a Ford F350 diesel dually and 12,000# trailer.

    Guess what my answer was? It wasn't an answer, but a question: What is the serial number of your vehicle and license plate number???

    What??? Are they looking for stolen vehicles or tracking your existence??

    Kind of made me wary of their motives, or was it the typical DOT employee?

  8. #8
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    Changes often!

    Default Re: Pickups and Legal Trailer Weight Limits

    I have a F350 Dually and a 24,000lb triple axle gooseneck here in California. Due to the trailer being over 10Klb rated, I am required to have a CDL. I'm clear on this, as I was written up for it after having driven it almost 150,000 miles without a CDL. I was not hauling commercially at the time. I was 100 miles from home and was not allowed to drive my rig home or anywhere else. They were in the process of impounding my truck, trailer and CUT TLB when a friend with a Class A volunteered to drive it back home for me. In California, that also puts me into a position where I must post my identify and a CA number on the rig, but that is a different but related subject.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pickups and Legal Trailer Weight Limits

    Dave,
    Im betting you were written up because the combination of the trailer and truck were over 26000lbs, not because the trailer was over 10000lbs and if the truck and trailer were only used for personal use, you shouldnt have been written up at all as long as your truck and trailer were legal.

    I stand corrected on this. As it turns out, California has a "non commercial class "A" that you shouldve had. Your class "C" license (with endorsements) is only good up to a towed weight of 15000lbs or 26000 combined, whichever you exceed first.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member RedDog's Avatar
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    Caterpillar 277

    Default Re: Pickups and Legal Trailer Weight Limits

    In my opinion this whole issue is very hard to understand, and I'm also a so-called Professional Driver. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]

    I would really like to know how many of these (hot shots), duallys with trailers and such, stop at scales???


    RedDog

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