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Old 02-01-2017, 08:49 PM   #57
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Talked with my local highway patrol. Asked first about tow length.at the time I pulled a \16 ft lowe boat behind a 73 31' .Did not know better at the time at least the frame had been specifically rebuilt for it by previous owner. He said I would be over length but would only be ticketed if stopped for another violation or involved in an accident. Asked him recently about wt and towing beyond factory specs. He said if in an accident even if not my fault if I am over specs no matter the modification to the vehicle I could be charged with contributing to the accident. Hi example was if someone pulled out in front of me could I possibly have stopped sooner. Also talked with my insurance agent and he said that if I knowingly exceed limits they could void my policy. They would pay for the car or what I hit but not mine. I am insured by one of the largest co.the highway patrol and ins Co Go by factory specs for your vehicle not by what you have modified it to. The factory specs cannot be changed by air bags or hitches.max WTS that a TV will handle are determined by axle strength, frame size,engine and vehicle size and WT. No matter what a hitch co or trailer salesman or car salesman says the factory specs are the Bible for officials. If in doubt check with your local HP ,ins Co and state law.
Thanks for sharing this info.
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Old 02-01-2017, 08:57 PM   #58
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This is what is called FUD. Fear, uncertainty, doubt.

It would be helpful to understand more about this hypothetical situation.

Ask your LOE contact what law would someone be charged with breaking in your jurisdiction for towing over the manufacturer's recommendation. Not the weight limits, but the tow rating. Remind him that you would be within the DOT defined GCWR, even though you are not a commercial operator.

If he/she responds that you can be charged simply because it was felt that you caused the accident, fine. Ask if you will then be protected from ever being charged with contributing to an accident if you simply tow within the manufacturer's recommendations.

If the response is you could have stopped sooner, ask if going a few mph over the limit, having tires with less than optimal tread remaining, installing aftermarket brake pads, experiencing the distraction of having the radio on, etc, are all similar examples.

Case law examples would be good.
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Old 02-01-2017, 09:14 PM   #59
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FUD and baloney. This stuff always shows up in these discussions, disrupts the conversation and our chance to learn something useful, and is never substantiated.
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:21 AM   #60
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FUD and baloney. This stuff always shows up in these discussions, disrupts the conversation and our chance to learn something useful, and is never substantiated.
In the commercial world every state has a different set or rules, be safe..
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:47 AM   #61
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I can only speak of the laws of Massachusetts were I work.

Any crash involving a fatality or serious bodily injury will be investigated to a much high level than a minor crash. During the reconstruction of the crash if the reconstructionist or the at scene investigating Officer feels the weight may have factored into the crash it will be checked.

Massachusetts, an I suspect most states, writes their rules/regulations (laws) to be applicable to "any motor vehicle operated on a public way" so even thought the focus of weights/dimensions regs will be towards the commercial vehicle all the regs can be used for "passenger" vehicles.

Here's an example of the regulation requiring any vehicle operated "over weight" obtain a permit. These are posted weight limits for roads and bridges. This regulation prohibits a permit be issued for a weight in excess of the manufactures established weight (GVW) Violation of this statute alone may not be a charge, but the overloading of your vehicle can be a mitigating factor in a motor vehicle homicide charge or operating to endanger, operating negligently or recklessly.

Chapter 85 Section 30A.

The owner or lessee of any motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer or semi-trailer unit, as defined in section one of chapter ninety, which may lawfully be operated on the ways of this commonwealth may apply to the commissioner of highways for a permit authorizing the operation of such motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer or semi-trailer unit upon any state highway or way determined by the department of highways to be a through route when the weight of such motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer or semi-trailer unit together with its load would exceed the weight limitations prescribed by section thirty or by the provisions of chapter ninety. No such application shall be approved by the commissioner of highways if the weight sought in such application exceeds either the weight of such motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer or semi-trailer unit, together with its load, for which such motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer or semi-trailer unit is registered, or the gross vehicle weight rating established by a manufacturer of such vehicle or otherwise established in accordance with the provisions of section nineteen D of chapter ninety. All such applications shall be made on forms provided by the commissioner of highways which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

None of these things matter if nothing happens, it will only cause you added burden if you are involved in a serious incident.


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Old 02-02-2017, 07:31 AM   #62
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FUD and baloney. This stuff always shows up in these discussions, disrupts the conversation and our chance to learn something useful, and is never substantiated.
Love how you associate "learning something" with agreeing with your personal opinion.

Joel's research highlights two things: If an officer thinks exceeding the ratings is a contributing factor to the accident, it can go in the accident report. Furthermore, in such cases, the insurance company (which will surely read the incident report) may only pay the other party and not you. Nothing illegal is going on here, yet you are exposed to a substantial monetary risk.

If you have talked to law enforcement and insurance companies and have heard differently please share them. I understand that the probability of the scenario discussed is very low. I also understand that we live in an era of alternatives facts/realities. Hence, I am not going to discuss this further with you. Do as you please.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:25 AM   #63
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Talked with my local highway patrol. ...Also talked with my insurance agent ...
Thanks for sharing due diligence.

By this point in my life I've found that these professionals have the final say, and they don't really care if my opinion differs from theirs.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:51 AM   #64
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Love how you associate "learning something" with agreeing with your personal opinion.

Joel's research highlights two things: If an officer thinks exceeding the ratings is a contributing factor to the accident, it can go in the accident report. Furthermore, in such cases, the insurance company (which will surely read the incident report) may only pay the other party and not you. Nothing illegal is going on here, yet you are exposed to a substantial monetary risk.

If you have talked to law enforcement and insurance companies and have heard differently please share them. I understand that the probability of the scenario discussed is very low. I also understand that we live in an era of alternatives facts/realities. Hence, I am not going to discuss this further with you. Do as you please.

I've learned quite a lot in this, and other similar, discussions, not least that in the US these sorts of issues are civil rather than criminal matters. Were they to be judged under the criminal code then the opinion of a Police Officer, unless a qualified accident investigator, would not be accepted as sufficient evidence and therefore carries no weight (excuse the pun) in these sorts of discussions.

It does appear, though, that in civil matters there is not the same burden of proof required to prosecute a case. So, after an accident (presumably one that doesn't involve loss of life, which would surely be a criminal case?) a relatively unqualified Police Officer can state his/her opinion and it counts towards proving a case against someone. As was pointed out above, though, if you're going to look at weight as factor then you also need to look at a host of other issues, including all the other metrics involved in driving, such as the vehicle condition, driver experience, speed, weather, road conditions, other traffic, and many other things.

I will have to say though, and I don't often agree with Rostam, that issues surrounding weight and loading for privately owned RVs and their tow vehicles are rarely illegal, but the can present a higher risk of liability if you're outside some of the manufacturers ratings, regardless of how accurate or relevant they are. It appears that under the US system, there may be little reliance on verifiable facts, but quite a lot of reliance on unreliable opinion. Driver beware, I think.

Anyway, what's the relative liability risk for running a little over your GVWR as compared to exceeding the posted speed limit? I don't condone either, but there's way more speeding, even among the members here, than there ever will be exceeding GVWR. Just saying...
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:32 PM   #65
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I can only speak of the laws of Massachusetts were I work. ....
Thanks for the cite.

The law you reference states that if one wants to get a special permit to transport a load over the legal road limit in Massachusetts, one must use equipment designed for such a load. Seems very reasonable.

There was a distinction made around post 15 in this thread, on the difference between overloading in terms of legally defined weight limits such as tire ratings, axle ratings, and GVWR, as contrasted with tow ratings, or, if one likes, GCWR, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Out of interest, I checked the Massachusetts laws with respect to tow ratings and GCWR. As with other jurisdictions, tow rating is not mentioned. GCWR is.

Quote:
"Gross vehicle weight rating'' (GVWR), the value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of a single or a combination (articulated) vehicle. The GVWR of a combination (articulated vehicle) commonly referred to as the ''gross combination weight rating'' (or GCWR) is the GVWR of the power unit plus the GVWR of the towed unit or units...."
So, the manufacturer's tow rating is not a legal number in Massachusetts. The sum of the truck (or other tow vehicle) GVWR and the Airstream GVWR is the legal GCWR. But it also appears that Massachusetts allows 105% for each before an infraction occurs. And, as with other jurisdictions, the focus is on commercial operators.

I think tire and axle loads matter a lot. I think GVWR matters a lot for commercial operators, matters in some jurisdictions for non-commercial operators, and matters little in other jurisdictions, entirely apart from whether or not it is ever enforced. But I don't think manufacturer's tow ratings, often expressed as Manufacturer GCWRs, matter very much, if at all, from a legal perspective. They do provide useful information in many cases, but they don't help answer the question posed by the OP, which was "Is this legal?"

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Old 02-09-2017, 08:14 AM   #66
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In common-law jurisdictions (like the US and Canada) there are legal terms "negligent" and "reckless." These apply in both the civil and criminal contexts (e.g. "negligent homicide," a charge often used against drunk drivers who kill someone in a car accident or "reckless" conduct such as manslaughter). In either circumstance, the reference is to a reasonable person standard. So, "negligent" conduct is conduct in which the actor failed to take the due care that a reasonable person would take under those circumstances. Would anyone care to argue that failing to observe a vehicle manufacturer's posted GVWR on the door jamb or a manufacturer's tow rating is what a reasonable person would do under the circumstances? Assuming, of course, that the failure to observe those ratings can be shown to be a contributing cause of the death of the victim. Or would you like to argue that a reasonable person would rely on the opinion of a guy who sells travel trailers for a living and does Super-duper hitch installations (and who has a financial interest in selling trailers while telling people that they can use their existing vehicle as a TV) that it's okay to exceed those limits, especially if you pay him to do the super-duper hitch install? And do that while noting that the vehicle manufacturer has every financial incentive to make those limits as high as possible.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:38 AM   #67
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And do that while noting that the vehicle manufacturer has every financial incentive to make those limits as high as possible.
Don't agree. It depends on the market segment, and related costs/benefits for the manufacturer.

With a pickup truck where the market rewards higher tow ratings, there is competitive between manufacturers, and there are other ways manufacturers can limit their exposure (like payload limits), they may very well be incented to apply as high a tow rating as possible. I would be surprised if they weren't, myself.

With other classes of vehicles, where the market does not reward higher tow ratings with more sales, where many manufacturers have picked the same arbitrary low figure, where warranty exposure and testing/development costs are reduced for not endorsing towing by having a rating closer to the vehicle's true limit, there is no incentive for a manufacturer to set a higher rating, quite the opposite.
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Old 02-11-2017, 08:10 AM   #68
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Don't agree. It depends on the market segment, and related costs/benefits for the manufacturer.

With a pickup truck where the market rewards higher tow ratings, there is competitive between manufacturers, and there are other ways manufacturers can limit their exposure (like payload limits), they may very well be incented to apply as high a tow rating as possible. I would be surprised if they weren't, myself.

With other classes of vehicles, where the market does not reward higher tow ratings with more sales, where many manufacturers have picked the same arbitrary low figure, where warranty exposure and testing/development costs are reduced for not endorsing towing by having a rating closer to the vehicle's true limit, there is no incentive for a manufacturer to set a higher rating, quite the opposite.
The theory that auto manufacturers down rate certain vehicle types to promote the sales of high profit trucks does not fly as European manufacturers are not in pickup market in North America, yet they rate their sedans/minivans similar to domestic manufacturers.

Also, I think DC Bruce is spot on with his post.
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Old 02-11-2017, 12:10 PM   #69
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The theory that auto manufacturers down rate certain vehicle types to promote the sales of high profit trucks does not fly as European manufacturers are not in pickup market in North America, yet they rate their sedans/minivans similar to domestic manufacturers.
That isn't my theory at all, although it may be true for some manufacturers who sell in to both segments.

My point was about selling in to market segments where a higher tow rating is a marketing differentiator, vs segments where it isn't. We know that tow ratings are seen as differentiators in some segments, just look at pickup adds. That doesn't mean that the same applies to all segments.
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Old 02-11-2017, 02:33 PM   #70
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European manufacturers don't generally need to calculate or publish tow weights with WD because that doesn't exist in Europe. I suspect that there are many viable options other than pickup trucks.

Personally, if I was going that direction, say a sedan or SUV, I would heed the opinions of folks who have set up lots of those combinations and tested them rather than accept opinions posted in a forum as gospel.
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