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Trailering and USDOT sticker requirements?

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  • Trailering and USDOT sticker requirements?

    I just got an unpleasant surprise while registering my new horse trailer in Maine -- since my truck (curb weight appx 5600 lbs) and trailer (empty weight 3500 lbs) will exceed 10,000 lbs once I put myself and my horse in them, I am now deemed a commercial registration. I was also told I need a USDOT number. I dutifully requested one online, and now I am freaking out by the signage, logbook, and other requirements that seem to go with it.

    Help! Do I really need to get a vehicle sign with my name, DOT number, etc. to stick on my truck and do I need to keep a logbook -- and how and what do I need to document it? I will mostly be driving around in Maine, but I imagine that sometime in the future I might trailer into Canada for shows or go to MA and VT for some of the USEA events. I don't want to wind up stranded at a weigh station with the wrong documents for me and my one measly private horse.

  • #2
    I am unfamiliar with ME requirements but I've registered a couple in MA and came up with a similar panic attack for the 32' GN 5 horse.

    I registered it as I normally did the 2 horse with no issues. Then drove cross country from MA to CA. I had one weigh station stop in NE which revealed I was close to 17,000- YIKES!. TX got a little snippy when I asked if I needed to go through the weigh station and shoo'd me away (signs unclear when it said ALL towing vehicles! Plus I wanted to see how close I was to NE weigh ie did we lose a few pounds yet?) Then the AG stop in AZ but no weight. NM could care less about anything although they had an AG station. CA practically did a colonoscopy but they were concerned about the animals and if I was transporting any greenery or illegals- no weighing.

    Then a trip from CA to FL- Nothing in any of the states. Only the AG stop in CA for another colonoscopy. I'm happy to report all is good. I expected more of a search in AZ with the heightened tizzy over illegals but they just waved us on.

    Now getting into Canada... I prefer not to speak of my experiences. And that was sans trailer and horses.

    Comment


    • #3
      Forgot to add... I added lots of DOT stuff to the 5-horse trailer anyway- reflector tape and whatnot. I found the items easy to purchase online and through my local truck repair shop. They added the extra lighting which I didn't technically need but got anyway since the trailer was over 20yrs old.

      Comment


      • #4
        Are you sure? The current federal guidelines for commercial vehicles is 26,001 pounds. Then you need a CDL. I regularly pull 17,000 pounds all over the US, skip weigh stations etc. as I am not considered a commercial vehicle. I have been inspected in all sorts of states in the West for proper brand inspections but the rig was never questioned.

        I think the folks you are dealing with are behind the times or are unfamiliar with federal DOT rules. I can guarantee that if you pull the rig you say you have into any weigh station they will get pissed for wasting their time. It happened to me plenty in the past.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've been registered in Maine for 7 years and have no DOT stuff going on. My rigs are heavier than yours yet smaller...2 horse GN/F-350
          Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

          Comment


          • #6
            As far as I know, a DOT# is only required if you participate in commerce.

            Call the DOT!
            ************************
            \"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"

            Comment


            • #7
              Gee, how timely. Just this morning at the Southern States got to listen to one old farmer dude holding forth about how we all needed a CDL if we used the Farm plates because they let us haul 26,000 etc. etc. etc..

              My memory of this, from about ten years ago, was that we had to participate in a state numbering system for our (business) hauling truck because it was over some certain weight. We had to register both trucks and place the business name on the sides. We did NOT have to do the log books or the "fleet" stuff, and if we had been using the vehicles for personal use only - no business use - we would have been exempt. We did have to get commercial insurance on the one because of the GVW regardless though.

              HOWEVER, it's totally different depending on what state you are in - like for an example I can get the farm plates and insure my farm truck seasonally (if I push it) here, same as with a motorcycle, I can retire the reg and ins for the winter, but that option evaporated quite a few years ago in the other state, and there was no provision for seasonally used farm vehicles or any kind of limited use.
              Furthermore you don't have to plate your trailer here in KY so everybody has a little single axle dirt bike/lawn mower trailer and only contractors have roof racks, but in the other state a fair number of folks have bed ramps to get the dirt bike up in the bed and also a roof rack. Don't get me started on the difference between covering and securing your load here and there either. We've hauled a brakeless four wheeled tobacco wagon loaded with unsecured hay ten miles and nobody blinks here, but there's not a cop to be found on the backroads either. In the other state we'd be creating a wave of 911 calls and cited shortly.

              I would go back and look over the information carefully and make certain - are they requiring RV owners to participate in this and why not? They would make those weight limits as well. Is this a recent change to ME vehicle code? And the GVW that we used didn't include cargo if I remember rightly.
              Good luck. This was the one time I got good use out of the fax machine on my printer.
              Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
              Incredible Invisible

              Comment


              • #8
                In your checking with the DOT in Maine, you also will want to ask about your Driver's license endorsements. If your vehicle ends up truly being listed as Commercial, you probably need some sort of Commercial license to drive it. And you may be required to do the log book stuff in that case.

                You may be able to find the codes on-line under Maine DOT. Or you can call the DOT and talk to a real person.

                Michigan is getting more picky, plenty of horse trailer folks with the big rigs have been pulled over and warned they need CDL licenses for length and weight. Haven't heard of tickets yet, but it will happen one of these days.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Are you sure it was not a miscommunication? Anything towing a two horse trailer will be over 10K if it has two horses on board.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yep, if you have a DOT #, you might need a CDL. Probably be a good idea to talk to your insurance company too.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Find your state's rules and READ THEM. You'd be amazed at the number of "functionaries" who have not.

                      IIRC you don't get "commercial" at the Federal level until you're 26,001+ or you hauling in support of a commercial operation. Most states accept this definition. ME has the right to set their own definition, however. If they've done so then it's written down. Make the person who says you're commercial show you the regulation that says so.

                      If you are, indeed, commercial then you'll need the DOT number, the CDL, physical, insurance, etc.

                      G.
                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        DOT numbers

                        Here is a link to see what States require DOT numbers. Most States require them even if all of your travel is intra-state.

                        http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registratio...tion-usdot.htm

                        Most States (if not all) use the FMCSA definition of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) which is...

                        Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle—
                        (1) Has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds), whichever is greater; or
                        (2) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater; or
                        (3) Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or
                        (4) Is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined in this section.

                        If your vehicle falls into one of these categories and you travel outside of your state, then you need a DOT number. If the combined GVWR of your truck and trailer exceeds 26,001 lbs AND your trailer exceeds 10,001 lbs you need a commercial drivers license. If your trailer is less than 10,001 lbs and your tow vehicle is less than 26,001 lbs, you do not need a commercial drivers license, but will still need a DOT number. You should also check your drivers license "class" rating. In Illinois, a class "D" license is only good for operating a motor vehicle up to 16,000 lbs.

                        If you have a living quarters trailer and have it plated as an RV, it can only be used for recreational purposes. Going to a horse show is NOT considered "recreational use" if there is any potential for monetary gain (i.e. ribbon, trophy, buckle, cash, etc...).

                        All of these laws have been in place for several years. I think what everyone is seeing is an increased level of enforcement by the States. I'm convinced it's revenue driven. In Illinois, trucks pulling horse trailers are being stopped more frequently. I got pulled over while pulling a 32' flat bed goose neck trailer with a Ford F250. The combined weight of the truck & trailer was 32,000 lbs. To the officers surprise, I had my CDL, my medical card, insurance cards, and vehicle inspections for both the truck and trailer ready for him when he came to the window. His reason for pulling me over was to do a safety inspection. After seeing all of my paperwork, he told me to have a nice day and let me go. I'd be willing to bet, he thought he was going to be writing a number of violations.

                        The difficulty with the laws is that they are clear as mud. Whether or not you get pulled over, or get a ticket/warning is going to be strictly dependent on the individual officer. Just an FYI, State DOT Enforcement officers do have quotas for the number of roadside inspections and tickets to be written on an annual basis.

                        If you have any questions on the rules, here is a link...

                        http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regul...section_type=A

                        Happy reading!
                        If you're spending more than $1 per day on supplements, you need to get Smart.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Except the law is for COMMERCIAL carriers, NOT private entities or farms. I know farm tagged vehicles are exempt in our area as well as vehicles for private use, e.g. me hauling my horses in a 6 horse, so long as my GCVWR is under 26,001#. I too, have been pulled over for inspection and never had an issue.

                          Now, if the OP is registering as a conmercial entity that is a different story. Otherwise, the rules as suggested make no sense given a 16 year old kid can drive a private FL70 with a 6 horse across several states with no issues.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=RAyers;6349791]Except the law is for COMMERCIAL carriers, NOT private entities or farms. I know farm tagged vehicles are exempt in our area as well as vehicles for private use, e.g. me hauling my horses in a 6 horse, so long as my GCVWR is under 26,001#. I too, have been pulled over for inspection and never had an issue.
                            /QUOTE]

                            As I said before, it depends on the officer making the stop. How are you defining a "Commercial" carrier? Even though you say you are a private, farm, or not for hire operator, you are still are subject to the FMCSA laws if the unit is used in commerce.

                            Commerce is defined by the FMCSA as...(a) any trade, traffic or transportation within the jurisdiction of the United States between a place in a State and a place outside of such State, including a place outside of the United States and (b) trade, traffic, and transportation in the United States which affects any trade, traffic, and transportation described in paragraph (a) of this definition.

                            Technically this means, if you use your trailer to haul horses or property (hay, feed, tack, etc.) that are not yours, or your own horses that are for sale or have been sold, or your own horses to a show whereby "something" can be won, you have entered the world of "commerce" according to the FMCSA.

                            Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                            Now, if the OP is registering as a conmercial entity that is a different story. Otherwise, the rules as suggested make no sense given a 16 year old kid can drive a private FL70 with a 6 horse across several states with no issues.
                            This is like saying I drove across the US doing 100 mph and didn't have an issue. Just because your 16 yr old didn't have any issues, it doesn't mean he did it legally. Good luck to you and your 16 yr old if you ever have to drive across IA on I-80.

                            I'm also private and not for hire. I have an International 4300 and a Chevy 4500 Kodiak. But, because I have a trailer registered at 20,000 lbs which is used to haul hay for our horses, I am required legally to have a commercial drivers license when pulling that trailer (with any of our trucks). Because I sometimes buy hay across the state line, I legally have to have a DOT number. And technically because the hay I buy may be fed to a boarder's horse, what I'm doing is classified as commerce. And because I sometimes pull our 4 horse LQ (registered as an RV) with the Intl., legally I have to stop at all weigh stations because I'm over 26,001 GCVWR. I'm pretty certain an FL70 pulling a 6 horse is also over 26,001 GCVWR. It doesn't matter how your license plated, the officers will look for the Mfg's. plate on the vehicle and trailer.

                            I don't agree with the rules and requirements and I'm not trying to argue with you or any one else on the topic. I'm just trying to pass along some helpful and what I consider to be accurate information.

                            I got my DOT "religion" a few years ago in IA when hauling a load of hay with a class D license, no vehicle inspection, and no DOT numbers. I was written for 11 violations. Fortunately for me, the officer was kind (?) enough to only issue 3 tickets and 8 warnings. I spent hours detained and ultimately had to hire a properly licensed driver to drive my truck and trailer back home. I'm just glad I was hauling hay and not horses.
                            If you're spending more than $1 per day on supplements, you need to get Smart.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Wow! I've been wanting a trailer, but this is enough to scare me off of even bothering to look!

                              Since states are all, always, after more money, they may indeed be doing more enforcement. But they'll end up doing it on fewer & fewer vehicles if they penalize people driving around with their little 3 horse slant load, going to the state park for the day.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Generally, you only need a DOT number if you:
                                1.) haul stuff that you don't own
                                2.) across state lines.

                                However, some states require them if your vehicle classifies as commercial, which as far as I understand is generally a weight-related thing. ME is one of those states.

                                I believe the DOT number application is free.
                                The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                                Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  PA laws

                                  be careful in PA.........new laws were recently passed - and it is dependent upon the weight of the rig - that if you accept compensation in any form - payment or otherwise - you must have a DOT number. I tried to find a link I had but sorry - cant find it. It is a reallly difficult piece of legislation to understand and MANY grey areas. The state police did a seminar on it and admitted it would be up to the officer how strictly to enforce the law. The extreme would be that you and a friend are splitting the gas to take your horses somewhere - hence you are accepting compensation and if your trailer is big enough then you could be in violation. You must also carry a log book and an emergency supply kit such as flares or cones, fire extinguisher, etc. and you must also have proof of ownership for each horse you have, and all horses need to be in the driver's name, otherwise you have to prove that you are driving the horses for free. It's crazy! I dont haul so I didnt really pay attention to all of it but I have heard others talking about it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Do read and KNOW the rules for license PLATES on your truck. There are a lot of folks using FARM plates on their tow vehicles. Farm plates have some serious restrictions in many cases.

                                    In our State, they are only to be driven 150 miles from the "home farm" in the delivery of farm products, or fetching farm things back to the farm. They are NOT supposed to be driven across State lines, or many, many miles from home in the State. There are various restrictions on the Farm Plates for the vehicles. There are REASONS that those licenses are less costly!!

                                    We know a couple folks who used their Farm plate trucks pulling trailers to travel several states away to show horses. They got pulled over and issued various tickets for not being correctly licensed, too far from home, etc. Cost a LOT of money. Other States may have different rules for their Farm Plates. It will be in your own best interest to KNOW those restrictive rules, before putting Farm Plates on the truck to save license money. Your Insurance might be void in an accident, if truck is not being used as licensed.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      As I said before, it depends on the officer making the stop. How are you defining a "Commercial" carrier? Even though you say you are a private, farm, or not for hire operator, you are still are subject to the FMCSA laws if the unit is used in commerce.

                                      Commerce is defined by the FMCSA as...(a) any trade, traffic or transportation within the jurisdiction of the United States between a place in a State and a place outside of such State, including a place outside of the United States and (b) trade, traffic, and transportation in the United States which affects any trade, traffic, and transportation described in paragraph (a) of this definition.

                                      Technically this means, if you use your trailer to haul horses or property (hay, feed, tack, etc.) that are not yours, or your own horses that are for sale or have been sold, or your own horses to a show whereby "something" can be won, you have entered the world of "commerce" according to the FMCSA.
                                      NO.

                                      I will disagree here. The FMCSA definition of commerce does NOT include going to a show hauling your own horses/equipment. Yes, if you are going to a show as a BUSINESS but not as a private citizen. If you are carrying OTHER people's property you need to register under MCS-150. All registrations REQUIRE A COMPANY name. How does a private citizen do that without running afoul of the IRS? They can't.

                                      I live in a state requiring DOT numbers but it does NOT apply to me as a private citizen (per my investigations into this). If I haul for payment or if I have a commercial entity that requires hauling, then yes. Or if I LEASE my truck to be used for commerce I have to get a DOT #. Otherwise, ifwhat you said was true, then EVERY 2 horse trailer and up would require a DOT number, we would all need to register with the IRS as corporate or other business entities, and the enforcement would be impossible.

                                      The law is based on if you are dealing in commerce, not taking Fluffy to the park or to a show.

                                      You are running a true commercial entity (e.g. a private entity that is hauling goods for sale), hauling hay, etc. I am not.

                                      Read through MSC-150 section 23 to see that a private citizen, hauling their own stuff to a show or other is NOT required to have DOT #s.

                                      Reed

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                                        NO.

                                        I will disagree here. The FMCSA definition of commerce does NOT include going to a show hauling your own horses/equipment. Yes, if you are going to a show as a BUSINESS but not as a private citizen.

                                        Reed
                                        You're welcome to disagree. I'm not the one who would pull you over or write a ticket. I personally know a DOT enforcement officer who would classify a private citizen's truck/trailer having a GCVWR in excess of 10,001 lbs a commercial vehicle if it were used to haul a personal horse to a show or competition where there are prizes to be won.

                                        Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                                        All registrations REQUIRE A COMPANY name. How does a private citizen do that without running afoul of the IRS? They can't.
                                        Not necessarily true. My DOT number is registered to my personal name as are all of my vehicles.


                                        Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                                        Otherwise, if what you said was true, then EVERY 2 horse trailer and up would require a DOT number, we would all need to register with the IRS as corporate or other business entities, and the enforcement would be impossible.
                                        Yes, if the GVWR or GCVWR is in excess of 10,001 lbs. The IRS and FMCSA are two different agencies. Getting a DOT number has nothing to do with filing taxes. What may be considered a "hobby" to the IRS could be construed as a commercial enterprise to the FMCSA. And yes, enforcement is near impossible as evidenced by the fact that the majority of 3/4 and one ton trucks pulling horse, car, and race trailers on the road that should have DOT numbers, do not. Whether or not you get stopped is a matter of luck.

                                        Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                                        The law is based on if you are dealing in commerce, not taking Fluffy to the park or to a show.
                                        I agree taking Fluffy to the park does not require a DOT number. Going to the park or trail riding is considered recreational use. Going to a show or competition to win a prize is not according to the DOT. I think the part we are not agreeing on, is the definition of "commerce". In reality, the only person whose definition of commerce counts is the officer making the stop.

                                        Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                                        Read through MSC-150 section 23 to see that a private citizen, hauling their own stuff to a show or other is NOT required to have DOT #s.
                                        Here is MSC-150 section 23. I'm understanding this section to be 12 different classifications or purposes of a DOT number. I'm sorry, but I am not finding the part that says you are not required to have a DOT number. Hauling private property may not require Interstate Operating Authority, but it does not mean you do not require a DOT number.

                                        23. Operation Classification — Is based on the type of business the company is engaged in and will help determine the FMCSA regulations the company is subject to. It will also determine if the company requires Interstate Operating Authority. The company’s operations may place it under multiple operation classifications, so selections should be made carefully. Definitions of Classifications:

                                        A. Authorized For-Hire — A non-exempt (exempt Motor Carriers are defined in B, below) Motor Carrier who receives compensation for transporting passengers, FMCSA-regulated goods, or household goods that are owned by others.
                                        NOTE: If you select “Authorized For-Hire Carrier” as one of the company’s operation classifications, the company will also be required to obtain Interstate Operating Authority (MC or MX Number) by filing the appropriate OP form with the FMCSA.

                                        B. Exempt For-Hire — A Carrier who receives compensation for transporting only exempt goods (commodities that are NOT regulated by the FMCSA); or an Interstate Carrier transporting exclusively within a commercial zone that is exempt from FMCSA operating authority rules. Carriers are also exempt if they only transport employees of their company (e.g., a company shuttles its own employees to and from a work station). Exempt status typically excuses a carrier from the Operating Authority requirement, but a USDOT Number is still required. NOTE: Administrative Ruling No. 119 (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/adminrule119) provides additional guidance for identifying EXEMPT commodities (those NOT regulated by the FMCSA). If all the commodities that the company transports appear on this list, then the commodities are considered exempt. Information about commercial zone exemptions may be found at 49 CFR 372 (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/49CFR-372).

                                        C. Private Property — A company that transports its own cargo, usually as a part of a business that produces, uses, sells, and/or buys the cargo that is being hauled. Instructions for form MCS-150 (Revision 6/12/2007) Page 4 of 9

                                        D. Private Passengers (Business) — A “for-profit” company that provides interstate transportation of passengers in order to support its primary line of business. The passenger transportation service should not be available to the
                                        general public. For example, a hotel chain that provides a free shuttle service that crosses a state line driving from an airport to a hotel is classified as “Private Passengers (Business).” The shuttle service furthers the business, but is not a source of income. Refer to regulation 49 CFR 390.5 (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/49CFR-390.5) for more information on Private Passenger classifications.

                                        E. Private Passengers (Non-business) — A “not-for-profit” company that provides interstate transportation of passengers in order to support its primary line of business. The passenger transportation service that is offered should not be available to the general public. For example, a not-for-profit youth center that uses a bus to transport youth on field trips is a Private Passenger (Non-business). Refer to regulation 49 CFR 390.5 (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/49CFR-390.5) for more information on Private Passenger classifications.

                                        F. Migrant — Interstate transportation provided by a Contract Carrier, but not a Common Carrier, of three or more migrant workers to or from their employment using any motor vehicle other than a passenger automobile or station wagon. A Contract Carrier provides transport service to one or more companies on a contract basis. Contract carriers do not maintain a regularly scheduled service. A Common Carrier transports persons or property for pay to anyone at any time and to any place within its operating authority.

                                        G. U.S. Mail — Transportation of U.S. mail under contract with the U.S. Postal Service.

                                        H. Federal Government — Transportation of property or passengers by a U.S. Federal Government Agency.

                                        I. State Government — Transportation of property or passengers by a U.S. State Government Agency.

                                        J. Local Government — Transportation of property or passengers by a local municipality.

                                        K. Indian Tribe — Transportation of property or passengers by an Indian tribal government.

                                        L. Other — Transportation of property or passengers by an operation classification not described above.

                                        NOTE: If the carrier’s vehicles are sometimes leased to another motor carrier, select the appropriate options (A-K)
                                        indicating all types of operations performed.

                                        The best advice I can give anyone would be to contact your State DOT and any other State you plane to travel through and ask to speak with the DOT Enforcement Officer. They are more than happy to tell you what you will need in order to comply. After that, it's up to you.
                                        If you're spending more than $1 per day on supplements, you need to get Smart.

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