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Old 01-26-2017, 09:50 AM   #1
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Is This Legal?

Stumbled upon this video.

I agree with everything he says except --- Are there legal consequences for overloading? My experience suggests that the law is far more lenient with personal vehicles in contrast to commercial operations. If you are working for profit, you gotta obey the letter of the law; not so much for personal craft. Obviously if overloading was the cause of a crash you would be liable. But you won't get thrown in jail for being 5% over GVWR will you?

Anyone here have specific knowledge on this point?


PS. In no way do I endorse going over spec. The numbers are very clear; trust them.
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Old 01-26-2017, 09:55 AM   #2
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Probably....probably not from an enforcement standpoint, but in civil court with a litigant's lawyer working you over....who knows.
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Old 01-26-2017, 11:01 AM   #3
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All he did was repeat the supposition that just because you can do it physically doesn't mean you can get away with it legally. He never explains why, never cites actual case law, never makes the distinction between personal and commercial code...

I'm not one to advocating going out of spec either but I've yet to see the actual case law that makes it criminal.

Civil matters are something else entirely. Every one of those "1-800" lawyers you see on TV would LOVE to represent a plaintiff against you if your rig was overweight. Might not be a crime, but they'll work extra hard to convince the jury all that pain and suffering that resulted from your accident is your fault - they want their 33% of the multi million lottery prize.....
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Old 01-26-2017, 11:41 AM   #4
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Annoying video with all the distracting noise and traffic. Comes off as more of a rant from a bored driver.
Zero case law or actual facts. Opinion only.
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Old 01-26-2017, 12:36 PM   #5
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It's not hard to imagine a case of criminal negligence or homicide being claimed against someone if they knowingly overloaded past their vehicle's specifications and, as a result, they couldn't stop in time and hit a school bus full of kids and caused a lot of mayhem.

I doubt a district attorney could stand the heat from his or her constituents who were injured. The injured parties and their attorneys would likely demand such action, in addition to the civil action they surely would pursue.

No?
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Airstreamer67 View Post
It's not hard to imagine a case of criminal negligence or homicide being claimed against someone if they knowingly overloaded past their vehicle's specifications and, as a result, they couldn't stop in time and hit a school bus full of kids and caused a lot of mayhem.

I doubt a district attorney could stand the heat from his or her constituents who were injured. The injured parties and their attorneys would likely demand such action, in addition to the civil action they surely would pursue.

No?


Well, what specific state or federal law does overloading a personal vehicle violate? What criminal cases have been prosecuted?

I'm not saying there is no law - I'm just saying, I haven't seen it yet. There is plenty of law on commercial trucking - I just can't seem to find anything on personal TV/TT overloading for personal RVs. If it exists, yes you are absolutely right.

Regardless - the civil exposure and the laws of physics should be enough of a deterrent.
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:39 PM   #7
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Well, if you don't think a valid criminal charge could be placed against a person who knowingly overloaded a vehicle beyond the manufacturer's warranted specifications and then in the course of using it, caused injuries and death because the vehicle could not be operated properly because of its overloaded condition, then we can agree to disagree.

Only, I don't think the jury would be too kind when faced with the facts.
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:44 PM   #8
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If you think you can wreck a $50,000 TV and $100,000 airstream and you're not going to get sued because you are within the specifications, you need to read my 15,000 page book over motor vehicle law.
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Old 01-26-2017, 02:16 PM   #9
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Yes we all modify our TVs. Not to necessarily increase the gross capacity but rather to correct the short comings the manufacture has given us. Yes I have changed, on my Excursion, the undersized front sway bar, added the never installed rear sway bar, installed much better shocks all around. Not to increase the capacity but to improve the truck for towing from the soccer mom soft ride Ford sold it for.

The concern now days is the insurance companies are looking for any reason to deny a claim. If your modified rig is within the original limits they would then, under Federal law, have to prove the modifications cause the problem.

Another think to keep in mind. British Columbia may weigh you and if you are overweight will tow you to the nearest boarder, not necessarily the direction you were headed.
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Old 01-26-2017, 02:18 PM   #10
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Has any one ever heard of any verifiable law suits based on the overloaded premise and can post Case law?
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Old 01-26-2017, 02:48 PM   #11
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I can't say that I've seen a specific case regarding overloading, but then I'm not looking either.

But I have frequently read over the years about cases involving someone willingly and maliciously doing something that is inherently dangerous, and as a result hurting and killing other people and getting criminally charged and being sent to prison.

Again, the terms criminal negligence and negligent homicide come to mind. There may be more applicable terms in the criminal code, but these are a start in this quest for precedence.

As far as I know, there may not be any specific criminal laws against a non-commercial vehicle being used in a dangerously overloaded condition, and thus maybe there would be no fears about being pulled over and getting a ticket.

However, the risk of being pulled over and getting a ticket would not be a big concern to me compared to more substantial potential problems with overloading a vehicle, as I mentioned above.

This whole process of doubting the risk involved is somewhat silly, it seems to me.
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Old 01-26-2017, 03:25 PM   #12
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...This whole process of doubting the risk involved is somewhat silly, it seems to me.
I agree, but that seems to be the norm around here.
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Old 01-26-2017, 03:45 PM   #13
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Old 01-26-2017, 03:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airstreamer67 View Post
I can't say that I've seen a specific case regarding overloading, but then I'm not looking either.



But I have frequently read over the years about cases involving someone willingly and maliciously doing something that is inherently dangerous, and as a result hurting and killing other people and getting criminally charged and being sent to prison.



Again, the terms criminal negligence and negligent homicide come to mind. There may be more applicable terms in the criminal code, but these are a start in this quest for precedence.



As far as I know, there may not be any specific criminal laws against a non-commercial vehicle being used in a dangerously overloaded condition, and thus maybe there would be no fears about being pulled over and getting a ticket.



However, the risk of being pulled over and getting a ticket would not be a big concern to me compared to more substantial potential problems with overloading a vehicle, as I mentioned above.



This whole process of doubting the risk involved is somewhat silly, it seems to me.


I don't know if my earlier responses lacked clarity on this. I absolutely think internally overloading is a risk that I wouldn't take nor would I advise anyone else to. I've mentioned in other threads that a shop like CanAm in Canada which is often touted here as the best at getting your small car to tow a trailer may well have those skills - but if they (or any such shop) can't certify that the modifications don't violate manufacturer's warranty - and - that they certify the mods make the TV capable of towing the load despite manufacturer's published numbers - and - that they hold you harmless for actions against you as a result - I wouldn't recommend it.

The civil liability should be enough to just say no.

That no one has posted code or actual lawsuits doesn't mean there isn't a criminal issue, but no one has shared proof of it. That's all I'm saying.
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Old 01-26-2017, 04:53 PM   #15
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It seems to me that the term overloading is being applied far too generally in this thread.

A tire is overloaded if it is asked to carry more weight than it was designed for, at a specific pressure.

An axle is overloaded if it is asked to carry more than it was designed for.

A vehicle is overloaded if the total loaded weight is more than its GVWR, although there is very little focus on that figure by the authorities, for non-commercial operators, so many non-commercial operators focus more on the sum of the axle ratings.

GCVWR matters for commercial operators, but has little application to non-commercial operators due to the lack of regulations referencing it.

Exceeding the recommended towing limit is not overloading IMO. If the towing limit is due to an undersized hitch, one can install a stronger hitch. If it is due to the trailer needing brakes, one can install trailer brakes. If it is due to the manufacturer not considering the impacts and benefits of weight distributing equipment, one can utilize that equipment. And so on.

Applying the term overloading to all of the above does a disservice to our community because some of the above (tire loads, axle loads, GVWR) matter far more. They are grounded in legal definitions and regulations, unlike a tow rating. This isn't to say that any vehicle can tow any trailer, but for purposes of personal liability I worry more about breaking laws than exceeding manufacturer's numbers.
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Old 01-26-2017, 05:25 PM   #16
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A guy just flapping his gums. No substantial content here. Can't even watch 3 minutes of it.
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Old 01-26-2017, 06:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
It seems to me that the term overloading is being applied far too generally in this thread.



A tire is overloaded if it is asked to carry more weight than it was designed for, at a specific pressure.



An axle is overloaded if it is asked to carry more than it was designed for.



A vehicle is overloaded if the total loaded weight is more than its GVWR, although there is very little focus on that figure by the authorities, for non-commercial operators, so many non-commercial operators focus more on the sum of the axle ratings.



GCVWR matters for commercial operators, but has little application to non-commercial operators due to the lack of regulations referencing it.



Exceeding the recommended towing limit is not overloading IMO. If the towing limit is due to an undersized hitch, one can install a stronger hitch. If it is due to the trailer needing brakes, one can install trailer brakes. If it is due to the manufacturer not considering the impacts and benefits of weight distributing equipment, one can utilize that equipment. And so on.



Applying the term overloading to all of the above does a disservice to our community because some of the above (tire loads, axle loads, GVWR) matter far more. They are grounded in legal definitions and regulations, unlike a tow rating. This isn't to say that any vehicle can tow any trailer, but for purposes of personal liability I worry more about breaking laws than exceeding manufacturer's numbers.


That's a meaningful distinction (overloaded components vs. towing capacity).

I think I've used the word "overloading" on towing capacity because to me it seems like the value is applied to an entire system rather than a single component. So when you say....

"If the towing limit is due to an undersized hitch, one can install a stronger hitch. If it is due to the trailer needing brakes, one can install trailer brakes. If it is due to the manufacturer not considering the impacts and benefits of weight distributing equipment, one can utilize that equipment."

...all of that may be true, but may also be insufficient. If you install a stronger hitch, have you unintentionally impacted the frame? If you weld a rigid bar to reinforce the hitch, did you unintentionally defeat a crumple zone? If you upgrade the brakes but not the cooling system, did you miss a key element that had the tow rating at 5000# and not 10000#? Were bolts designed to withstand X# of force now subjected to multiples of that because a higher capacity hitch was installed?

I'm assuming engineers, marketing and legal folks all chime in on how those ratings are derived and published. I also assume the engineers look at every component of the system and take the "weakest link" in to consideration before articulating the limit. Changes made to the system may/may not put more stress on the weakest link or in some fashion weaken the system despite beefing up a single component.

And again - having said all that - I still haven't seen any law that says exceeding tow ratings is illegal or read of any specific criminal case in which the defendant was found guilty of a crime for exceeding mfg tow ratings. If those exist, it would be helpful for the video's author to relate. As it is - the video is just 10 minutes of the same opinion repeated about 20 times
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Old 01-26-2017, 07:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
It seems to me that the term overloading is being applied far too generally in this thread.

A tire is overloaded if it is asked to carry more weight than it was designed for, at a specific pressure.

An axle is overloaded if it is asked to carry more than it was designed for.

A vehicle is overloaded if the total loaded weight is more than its GVWR, although there is very little focus on that figure by the authorities, for non-commercial operators, so many non-commercial operators focus more on the sum of the axle ratings.

GCVWR matters for commercial operators, but has little application to non-commercial operators due to the lack of regulations referencing it.

Exceeding the recommended towing limit is not overloading IMO. If the towing limit is due to an undersized hitch, one can install a stronger hitch. If it is due to the trailer needing brakes, one can install trailer brakes. If it is due to the manufacturer not considering the impacts and benefits of weight distributing equipment, one can utilize that equipment. And so on.

Applying the term overloading to all of the above does a disservice to our community because some of the above (tire loads, axle loads, GVWR) matter far more. They are grounded in legal definitions and regulations, unlike a tow rating. This isn't to say that any vehicle can tow any trailer, but for purposes of personal liability I worry more about breaking laws than exceeding manufacturer's numbers.
I like what jcl has written; it's a neat summation and deftly separates the ambiguous Tow Rating from those ratings that are unambiguous, namely GVWR, axle and tire.

Ignoring the tow rating is not necessarily overloading your tow vehicle. Exceeding the tow rating (assuming your GVW, axle and tire ratings are good) isn't breaking the law.
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Old 01-26-2017, 07:14 PM   #19
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Just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be done. As an advertising stunt, Wally Byam once towed an Airstream with a bicycle. I'm guessing that he didn't tow it very far or very fast and certainly not downhill, but he did tow it.

I'm getting an F350 to tow our Airstream just because an F250 would be just too close for comfort. Yes, I might be completely within specs, but it is also possible that I'd be over somewhere. An F350 has enough more weight capacity that I know I'll be fine.
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Old 01-26-2017, 07:45 PM   #20
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That is why you have insurance...i never seen any one with an rv get checked for weight....I have been told in Mt scales that commercial laws do not apply to tourists and rv's , they don't need log books, or brakes on towed vehicles, or vehicle inspections.....
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