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Discussion Starter #1
I tow a 28' enclosed car trailer that the manufacturer has rated at 10,400 lbs. The truck and trailer are plain with no lettering, when fully loaded the trailer will never weigh more than 7,000 lbs. I tow probably 10k miles per year and go out of state (Pennsylvania) often.

My question is do I need a CDL to pull this trailer legally? I've been told that the magic number is 10,000 lbs. Anything that is rated over that by the manufacturer will put you in a category which requires a CDL class A. Was also told that a way around this was to register the truck as a combination vehicle and so long as the combination weight is under 26K lbs. I would be exempt from the requirement of needing the CDL license.

Doesn't seem to make any sense to me but I know that making sense to everyone has never been a prerequiste of any law. I also understand that this is a Federal DOT law and is not unique to PA.

Nick
 

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26001lbs.is the magic #..I think ..
 

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You don't need a CDL. As long as it's for personal use you'll be fine.
 

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You need a class A CDL to pull a trailer over 10,001 lbs. in PA. Even if you are under the 26k combined, you could drop the weight rating on you trailer to 10,000 to get around it. And even with the trailer a 10k you need a physical card. I think with anything over 7k it is required, but not sure on that one. There is several other technicalities also, like if you truck isn't registered as a combonation vehicle, then they take the GWR of your rear axle and subtract the weight that your truck is carrying on that axle and the they tag the weight of your trailer onto it also. In most cases you are only legal to pull an empty trailer without it being registered in combonation. Found all this out when I took a company vehicle in to take my CDL test and they rejected me becasue I has an illegally registered combonation vehicle.
 

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You need a class A CDL to pull a trailer over 10,001 lbs. in PA. Even if you are under the 26k combined, you could drop the weight rating on you trailer to 10,000 to get around it. And even with the trailer a 10k you need a physical card. I think with anything over 7k it is required, but not sure on that one. There is several other technicalities also, like if you truck isn't registered as a combonation vehicle, then they take the GWR of your rear axle and subtract the weight that your truck is carrying on that axle and the they tag the weight of your trailer onto it also. In most cases you are only legal to pull an empty trailer without it being registered in combonation. Found all this out when I took a company vehicle in to take my CDL test and they rejected me becasue I has an illegally registered combonation vehicle.
So in PA you need a cdl to pull a 5th wheel camper?
 

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So in PA you need a cdl to pull a 5th wheel camper?
Technically yes, but I think recreational vehicles like a camper are exempt. There is definately some funky laws that PA D.o.T. has.
 

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Wow, I'm glad I don't live in PA. I have a Class A here in CO, but I gross 28,800. I couldn't imagine having a CDL to pull nearly any type of trailer. Sounds pretty ridiculus to me. 10,000 is a pretty low weight ffor a CDL. Just my opinion.
 

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Here in Maine it is similar. 10K trailer needs a CDL class A. I thought it was a federal standard.

Here you also need to register your truck for its weight plus the trailer. If that is 10k or more that means a comercial inspection, requiring a fire exting, & flares. Also if I go out of state I need DOT numbers.

I suggest calling your state comercial vehicle division and asking. Here in Maine they are great to deal with they spend all the time needed to educate you. They do not make the laws, they enforce them, but they work with you so that you don't break them

RV have many exemptions. I know you can drive a 30K motorcoach with air brakes with a class c. However, in you drive a 26k+1 truck you need a class B and if it has air brakes a rider on the licence.
 

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I have to laugh on the title for my truck it says 90,000 lbs. GVWR, think it can handle it? ):h
 

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You may want to check some of the RV web sites like Good Sam or RV net to see if they have a link to the different state weight/license requirements.
 

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IIRC the federal standard is anything with a combined weight of over 26,000 if the vehicle being towed is over 10000 requires a class A. The states can then impose their own rules past that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the input guys but I guess I was hoping for more consistent and clear cut answers. I believe the fines are quite high if caught so the best thing to do is to probably call someone official like and get the real scoop. Remember what I was asking about was federal regs and not PA only stuff. The small township that I live in has two US DOT trained police officers that are willing and able to enforce the federal stuff.
 

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The small township that I live in has two US DOT trained police officers that are willing and able to enforce the federal stuff.
I would talk to them then for a start, I had very little luck getting any help when calling Harrisburg. It seemed to me that the guys at the drivers lisence centers knew more about the regs. than the people in Harrisburg did.
 

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It looks like the best info is directly from the PA DMV, check out the following links:

http://www.dot3.state.pa.us/vehicle_code/index.shtml
http://www.dot10.state.pa.us/pdotforms/vehicle_code/chapter15.pdf
 

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Nick,

Ohio is apparently cracking down on race car haulers and other guys towing trailers behind pickup trucks. I can't remember if it is the I-90 Westbound scale at PA or not, but there are now TWO scales in OH that require "All Combination Vehicles over 10,000lbs" to stop. The new thinking from some of the states is that the racers travel the country, using the highways, indirectly to make money, and they want their cut. The are considering the race car team to be a commercial operation, not a truck hauling for hire, but a private motor carrier for business purposes, and most all of the big truck regulations will apply, and the weight cutoff is not 26,001 however, it is 10,000 lbs. Over 10K, you will need to run a logbook, have a DOT medical card, IFTA fuel license, reflectors, etc. And that is a good point somebody mentioned about your truck license plate, it defintely needs to cover the fully loaded weight of the truck and trailer combined, good luck.
 

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Work truck--off topic I hear you.. "I've got some big news, the bank finally came through; and I'm holding the keys to a brand new Chevrolet
Have you been outside?, it sure is a nice night; how 'bout a little test drive?, down by the lake
There's a place I know about, where the dirt road runs out; and we can try out the four wheel drive
Come on now, what do you say? Girl, I can hardly wait, to get a little mud on the tires....
-Brad Paisley "
On topic, there have been several posts on the truck/trailer topic lately, and It's on;y going to get worse, try http://www.dieselplace.com/forum/showthread.php?t=55071 for more information. Basically if you're over 10k trailer you need, dot, cdl, log, fuel tax just for starters.
 

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Dot

Before I purchased my 2005 Chevy 3500 dually I called NH DOT and NH state licenseing board to check on what I needed to get so as not to run the risk of a ticket when pulling my trailer with my truck. This is what they both said, as long as it was a pleasure vehicle no matter what even a 30,000# Chevy/GMC or other I didn't need a CDL or a Medical card. The only time I would need these was if I was to go and start hauling stuff for someone else and charging so they are saying a commerical venture and this applys for all states as they are all federal now. the link a few message back is for just that someone who is driving a big rig for hire commerically. this was their story and they are sticking to it and time will tell when I pass thru Ohio on my way to Sturgis as I do have a CDL from years ago but no medical card or any log book or other dot reguired items.
 

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time will tell when I pass thru Ohio on my way to Sturgis as I do have a CDL from years ago but no medical card or any log book or other dot reguired items.
Ahhhh!!!! Sturgis, Nirvana for a biker.....
Been there, Done that and want to do it again!!!!!!!!!!!!

:ro)
 

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Refer to: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/enforce/cvm/CMV_license.html

The key issue is: "The commercial driver’s license requirements are applicable to drivers transporting persons or property in both interstate or intrastate commerce."

i.e.: The federal CDL requirements are only applicable to commercial use, not personal or pleasure use. The determination of whether or not the use is commerical is fairly simple: Is the driver, or his employer, attempting to make money by the act of driving?
 
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