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?
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.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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