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Old 08-06-2008, 05:48 PM   #15
Rivet Master
1975 29' Ambassador
Reno , Nevada
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,351
I want to agree with you, Bryan, but you seem to be moving the bar. You say you are not aware of any laws. I cite a law
Sorry. My intent was to avoid unnecessary conflict and quibbling. To me, bringing in one section of a law without any context and without the definitions of terms that go with it does not "cite" a law. You should see how Nevada defines vehicle "gross weight" in statutes for example. But I'll take the absolute I used as an error on my part and change it to a generality based on your assertion. The lesson for me is that you gotta' be really really careful in threads like this about how you spout generalities as it can get worse than a lawyer picking apart a contract if somebody doesn't like it.

The citation of statute and case law in discussions like this is problematic. In order to interpret them properly takes a significant amount of care. I find that even the LEO giving me a traffic citation and the assistant DA prosecuting the ticket are not often aware of what the law actually says. Like everyone else, they see what they want to and not much more if they can help it.

As noted, the law can be "whatever the judge wants it to be on any given day" which is why case law and enforcement behavior are indeed relevant as they help define the importance of what is in the statutes relative to everything else of concern.

re " I don't see where a cordial discussion on towing capacity has anything to do with "fear mongering."" - My point is that we should stick to facts and reality on issues like this and avoid beliefs and imaginings. That is why I listed a number of common facts that I think illustrate the normal circumstances as a contrast to 'what if' or 'what might be' or the attempt to use a single data point to refute a generality.

I agree that insurance policies and warranties are contracts. That is why they should be read carefully. I agree that we live in a litigious society which is why it is ever more important to pay attention to the words in contracts and agreements. Where the messy part comes in is when someone tries to assert that something is written when it really isn't, when they believe something that isn't really so. The legal process, thankfully, does tend to go by the words written down most of the time.

I think it only reasonable to encourage more prudence, caution and diligence
I mean, how can anyone disagree with this?

The fact of the matter, though, is that you take a risk in everything you do. You balance the risk with the benefits and make a decision. The choice to drive an RV is often more expensive and much more of a safety risk than taking an airplane flight, for instance. But we do it anyway. The evidence points towards the fact that exceeding a GCWR or even a GVWR is usually a negligible risk for the typical RVer.

IMHO, we shouldn't be making a mountain out of a molehill but rather keep our attention on issues that do involve significant risk. As the title of the thread indicates, towing numbers are not always what they seem. We shouldn't put too much weight in them at the expense of issues that will have more impact on how we can enjoy our RV safely. Your best defensible position is to take care of the most important factors first and not let the little stuff hobble you.

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Old 08-06-2008, 08:56 PM   #16
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1967 26' Overlander
Upperco , Maryland
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,087
Blog Entries: 22
With all due respect, Bryan, you seem to be moving around again. I could quote the entire Transportation Article of Annotated Code of Maryland. The simple fact is that it is a violation of the law to exceed the GWR printed on a vehicle's registration. The reality is that this law is rarely (if ever) enforced with respect to noncommercial vehicles. As Vonnegut would say, "So it goes."

In real life, I am a city administrator. Part of my work is writing (and enforcing) local laws. Like every jurisdiction, we have laws on the books that are rarely (if ever) enforced. A law that is only enforced once a decade is no more or less binding than a law that is enforced once a day. Trust me on this.

You assert that "exceeding a GCWR or even a GVWR is usually a negligible risk for the typical RVer." What you use as evidence is actually a lack of information, e.g. an alleged lack of accidents, an alleged lack of legal cases, an alleged lack of citations, etc. This feels rather thin to me, a bit like "I couldn't find any information that suggests overloading is a problem, ergo it must not be a problem."

Maybe; maybe not. So where doth responsibility lie? We all take risks, but how and where we take them matters. Race a vintage sports car around a private track and I think you should have fun. Race a vintage sports car on a public road and I think you should be arrested. I trust the difference is obvious.

You see, Bryan, I'm not recommending caution simply because there is a lack of really good information on towing capacities. I'm suggesting caution because driving an overloaded vehicle or pulling an overloaded trailer on a public road means an RVer is so confident that the risk is negligible he is willing to bet not only his life on it, but mine as well.

By the way, I think this is my last post in this thread. I love the Airstream forums and this is beginning to feel a bit like quibbling. I don't want to get in hot water with the moderators or develop a reputuation as cranky fellow. You are welcome to respond however you wish... I simply hope this exchange has given you an understanding of an alternative perspective. I wish you well.

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Old 08-07-2008, 08:27 AM   #17
Rivet Master
1975 29' Ambassador
Reno , Nevada
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,351
I think a QED for my first post in this thread is in order. I give a point despite reservations and it was still not enough. The words of contracts are not enough. The enforcement on the highways is not enough. The complete lack of any evidence for the concerns is not enough. Begging for a proper perspective is not enough. No, there is an obsessive fear about something that seldom or never occurs and the argument devolves to posts that characterize the person and not the subject, appeal to authority, presume of ignorance, make negative assumptions about other RVers, and, finally, end with threats.

There is no consideration for how ratings are constructed and the precision and accuracy they may contain and how that may differ depending upon which one is being used. There is no consideration for why the numbers differ in different countries or why they change suddenly from one model year to the next. There is no consideration for what exceeding a weight rating actually does to a rig or how its effects can be ameliorated.

What is it about this topic that drives such irrational fears?

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