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Old 03-15-2011, 03:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Do the Commercial Vehicle Regulations Apply To You

Please dont Flame me on this.It is something I put together a couple years ago for race teams........




DO THE COMMERCIAL VEHICLE REGULATIONS APPLY TO YOU?
A BASIC GUIDE FOR RACE TEAMS
By Shawn Hopkins
Nov. 10, 2009


As a Police Officer and race team owner, I sit here today trying to come up with an easy way to tell you this, and I realize, there is no easy way. If you are like I was, you would not normally associate you and your race rig as a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). Most people think of a CMV as a semi tractor – trailer, or a stake truck, garbage truck……you get the idea, anything but Mom and Dad taking the kids racing for the weekend. But, the truth is, you might be wrong. I was.

Over the past few years I have heard several people talk about race car guys taking their drag cars to the drag strip for a weekend of racing and encountering a State Trooper stopping them for not being in compliance with the State laws and / or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Last season, a friend was stopped by the Michigan State Police headed from Michigan to a National Snocross race in Shakopee, Minnesota. The State Patrol told him that he was a CMV. He was driving a Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 - four door short bed pick up with a 28 ft enclosed dual axle trailer. The State Motor Carrier Officer told him that because he is displaying sponsor logo’s and going racing, that makes him commercial, as his vehicle combination met the Federal Guidelines as a CMV.

I have been doing research on this subject and have found the following information. I have been in contact with representatives from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ( www.fmcsa.dot.gov ), the Michigan State Police, Wisconsin State Patrol and the Minnesota State Patrol. All have expressed the same thoughts. The Minnesota State Patrol had an online PDF file pamphlet, ( http://www.dps.state.mn.us/patrol/comveh/pdf/racing_handout.pdf ) that helps you to decide if you are a commercial enterprise, therefore falling into the federal regulations.
This pamphlet relates to Motor Sports – Race cars – Snowmobiles – Motorcycles – Watercraft, as well as Horse Shows – Fishing Tournaments and other Competitive Events.

Do The Commercial Vehicle Regulations Apply To You ?

1. Do you declare prize money as income from a business for tax purposes?

2. Are the costs for the underlying activities deducted as a business expense for tax purposes?

3. Do you accept products and / or money for advertising a sponsor?

4. Is the transport vehicle being used in the furtherance of a commercial operation?

If you answered “YES” to either question 1, 2, 3, or 4, continue to question 5. If you answered “NO” to ALL questions (1-4), STOP HERE, you are not in the furtherance of a commercial operation.

5. Is the ”Gross Vehicle Weight” of the single vehicle or combination (truck and trailer) greater than 10,000 lbs ? (IE: 10,001 lbs or more)

YES – You must follow the appropriate regulations for the location(s) you travel in, IE: Interstate or Intrastate

NO – STOP HERE ! You are not subject to the commercial vehicle regulations.


GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT (GVW) is the greater of the manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or actual weight of the vehicle plus the load. If the transport vehicle consists of a truck and trailer, add the GVWR or actual weight of the Truck to the GVWR or actual weight of the trailer to obtain a GCWR, gross combined weight rating or actual gross combined weight. DO NOT use the registered weight on the vehicle license plate(s) to determine your GVW or GVWR



Upon checking the Federal Regulations under Part §390.5 definitions, it states:
Commercial motor vehicle means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle—
(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
(2) Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
(4) Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Interpretation for Part 390.3

Does the exemption in 390.3 (f)(3) for the “occasional transportation of personal property by individuals not for compensation nor in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise” apply to persons who occasionally use CMV’s to Transport cars, boats, horses, ect., to races, tournaments, shows or similar events, even if prize money is offered at these events?

Guidance:
The exemption would apply to this kind of transportation, provided: (1) The underlying activities are not undertaken for profit, i.e., (a) prize money is declared as ordinary income for tax purposes, and (b) the cost of the underlying activities is not deducted as a business expense for tax purposes; and, where relevant (2) corporate sponsorship is not involved. Drivers must confer with their State of licensure to determine the licensing provisions to which they are subject.


Based on the above listed regulations, most trucks and enclosed trailers will exceed the 10,000 lb limit to become a CMV by weight. From my conversations with the representatives, if you are getting any sponsor dollars or “free stuff”, you are considered a commercial enterprise. Displaying a company logo on your trailer and / or snowmobile, can be considered commercial because you are advertising a sponsor. To go further, I was told if you are part of a factory race program where you get to purchase one of the “Limited Build” race sleds that the average trail rider cannot just walk in to the dealer and purchase, then you are getting Corporate Sponsorship. If you are getting discounts on products to display a company’s logo, then you are getting “Corporate Sponsorship.”

Once you have determined that you are a CMV, then you have to determine if you are going to different states or countries (Interstate) or staying in your home state (Intrastate). The Federal Regulations are adopted as law in most states, but there are some differences.

If your vehicle / trailer combination is over 10,000 lbs but less than 26,000 lbs, you DO NOT need a Commercial Drivers License (CDL), (unless you are hauling Hazardous Materials, but that is a whole other situation.) However if your combination is 26,001 lbs or more, with a trailer over 10,000 lbs, then you are required to have a CDL class “A” drivers license. A truck that weighs 26,001 l bs or more with no trailer or with a trailer under 10,000 lbs, will require a CDL Class “B”. (Toter homes for example)

All CMV drivers are required to pass a medical exam and carry a D.O.T. Medical Card. The trucks and trailers are subject to an Annual Safety Inspection. You are required to carry Fire Extinguishers and Safety Triangles. You must obtain and display a U.S. DOT number. The U.S.DOT number must be displayed with your name or business name and be visible from 50 ft while standing still. It is to be displayed on the power unit (truck) in a contrasting color. You must maintain a Drivers Hours of Service Log Book if you are traveling more than a 100 mile air radius from your base location. AND you must then stop at all weigh stations.



Now the bad stuff, we all know that some people enjoy partaking in an occasional adult (alcoholic) beverage from time to time. When operating a CMV, you cannot have been drinking any alcohol AND you cannot transport ANY alcoholic beverage that is not part of the manifested load, which relates to carrying liquor beer or wine in your cooler is a violation.

Depending on your truck and trailer you may be required to have either an Apportioned License Plate or get Unified Carrier Registration. Check with your local licensing agency. If your rig is diesel powered, you may also be required to obtain an International Fuel Tax Agreement decal as well.

As you can see, there are many new doors that open up when you enter into the CMV world. I suggest that you CAREFULLY examine your individual equipment and situation and contact your State Motor Carrier Enforcement Officer to be sure that you are in compliance. It would defiantly ruin a good race weekend to get stopped, ticketed and possibly have your rig impounded for non-compliance. The information contained here is all available online at the following websites:

www.fmcsa.dot.gov.

www.michigan.gov/msp]MSP - Michigan State Police

www.dot.wisconsin.gov/statepatrol/enforcement/motor-carrier.htm]State Patrol motor carrier enforcement - Wisconsin Department of Transportation

www.dps.state.mn.us/patrol/comveh/index.htm]Minnesota State Patrol - Commercial Vehicle Enforcement

www.truckingsafety.org/]Michigan Center for Truck Safety Home Page

Disclaimer: This article should be used as a guide only an is not intended to be a complete list of all regulations and laws pertaining to this subject.
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good post. Thx!
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm still a bit confused...


1. Do you declare prize money as income from a business for tax purposes?
NO... I pocket that; The money that pays for racing came outta my pocket as well. I'd be at a net loss. (See next question.) Until I can deduct the expenses, I'm not claiming the income.

2. Are the costs for the underlying activities deducted as a business expense for tax purposes?
NO... It's not a business expense, it's a hobby. Hence, it is not deductible. Otherwise, I'd be deducting my guns and ammunition, sky diving lessons, and any other money pit hobby I'm involved in.

3. Do you accept products and / or money for advertising a sponsor?
NO... See above. It's a hobby and I'm not a professional. Parts came from the scrap yard and were put together by yours truly. The car has the race numbers on the side and that's it.

4. Is the transport vehicle being used in the furtherance of a commercial operation?
NO... I am not a business and make no money off of racing. I SPEND money on racing.

BUT The GCWR is over 10,000 lbs. Trailer alone is 10,000 lbs... I forget what the GVWR of the truck is.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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@pele
Reread part between questions 4 & 5.

PS sounds like you are not CMV.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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We make no money racing but spend tons..BUT......We do have sponsors that help with discounts or product so we have Corporate Sponsrship which is what put us in. My daughter is an Arctic Cat Factory Support rider in the Pro AM Womens class of Snocross.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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-If your vehicle / trailer combination is over 10,000 lbs but less than 26,000 lbs, you DO NOT need a Commercial Drivers License (CDL),

but if your trailer is 10,001 you need an a endorsement correct....
i was always told anything in tow 10k or more you have to have an a
theres so many loop holes its hard to keep up....
what about for private use only.. like my 2500 cummins and 18k gooseneck trailer
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawdog View Post
3. Do you accept products and / or money for advertising a sponsor?
I have always wondered if decals put on a race car because the sanctioning body requires them would turn my race car trailer into a commercial vehicle? The financial deal is between the event organizers and their sponsors, and requires me to carry their decals on my car. Am I seeing a financial gain? If those sponsors weren't paying the organizers, I guess my entry fees might be a few bucks higher.

Contingency decals seem a bit more clear cut. If you have a podium finish running some company's stuff and have their decals on your car, they write you a small contingency check. So, even if there's no prize money from the event organizers, there is still money changing hands between the car driver and a commercial entity based on performance at the event.....
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've heard of the sponsors thing, meaning decals on the truck or trailer.
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Its yet another way for the government to make money of the public. Commercial should be defined simply as "is this how you make a living" or is this a business. Its just stupid that if your local napa tosses you some oil for a sticker placement and that makes you commercial.

I believe Minnesota takes it one step farther by saying your RV (if you are using one as a tow vehicle) can not have an rv plate, it must be plated as a truck. But then again anyone that drives commercially has read about all the BS they pull up there, heck we have made the choice of not hauling anything to Minn.
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Great post! Being in the racing world and hopefully soon purchasing a larger rig, this is all very helpful information. Most teams out here on the West coast can get away with registering their huge Toterhome/Stacker combos as Recreational Vehicles, and therefore don't require a CDL. Even though I plan on getting my full CDL when I'm of legal age, it definately keeps things simple when you don't have to run commercial. No worrying about HOS, needing a CDL to drive, other legalities, etc. But I'm definately one who likes to run legal without taking chances.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Good thread. Years ago, I was going to paint my back-yard farm name on my truck. It was not a business, just our name for the place. Our 2 personal horses, the kid's 2 ponies at the time. I didn't do it... because I didn't want to muddy the commercial/private line.
I am commercial plated because all pickups were commercial plated at the time, registered to me personally.
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