Just an update as I have done alot more research and talked to several state motor carrier divisions and the federal carrier saftey administration.
You can drive a semi without a cdl with no miliage restrictions. No log book, no pre trip or post trip inspections required. You must roll through scales that apply.....some say commercial trucks which you would not roll through and others say all vehicles over 5 tons must enter which you would have to roll through.
It basically comes down to the commercial thing. If you haul your own stuff and that stuff will not be sold at anytime or you will not win anything with what is being hauled, you do not need the cdl. But, if their is any type of commercial activity then you do.
What is interesting in my case is that I have been audited by the IRS within the past 3 years and they have determined for me that my horse business is not a business, it is a hobby. So even though I haul horses to shows where I compete for $ and from time to time I haul a horse or 2 that I have sold for $ to the new owners, it is not considered a commercial activity as I can not write any of it off.
Driving a privately owned Semi
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The motivation, of course, is that Florida gets more money having me as a non-resident because that means I don't receive a homestead exemption; the federal government gets more money classifying me as a resident since residents are taxable in more situations than non-residents.
In short -- they're going to classify you whichever way makes them more money. For DOT, that means you're commercial if there is ANY excuse for it, no matter how tenuous. For IRS, it's the opposite.
Whichever one makes the government money is the one they'll go with.
It's not hard to get the CDL though. Grab the book, study it, take the written tests, and borrow one of their trucks for the driving part.
OK so here in Alberta you can have a 2 axle semi and tow your RV trailer with it. You can register it as a "Private Vehicle" class 3 registration. Notice I said private vehicle, not private carrier? This means you can drive it with just a normal license as you would need for your pick up or car, in Alberta that's a class 5. All you need is and air brake endorsment on your license. I do not need to follow any of the CMV regs registerd as a private vehicle. You do not need to stop at scales here because the scales say commercial vehicles over 4500kg must stop. That means if your under 4500KG and a CMV you keep on rolling. As a private vehicle there is no registerd weight attached to your vehcile. Now if a state says "all trucks" must stop, then I would roll through the scales on the left side as if it is a CMV truck. Depends what the sign says.
Now since Canada follows most if not all of the FMCSA regs, I know hours of service are a bit different, why would it be any different in the US? I do know that some states and even British Columbia has laws regarding RV's over a certain weight having an endorsment and thats a good idea but that dont make it a CMV. But it is my understanding that as long as you are legal and properly licensed in your home state or province, other states will honor you license status. I forget the term they use for that.
Driving a privately owned Semi:
The facts are to answer what some have stated and or asked here is as follows:
1) CDL needed period if the vehicle is GVWR of 26,001. Does not matter if air brakes or not but simply matters on single vehicle weight. (other criteria that I am too tired to type but you can read in FMCSR book and your states DMV Commercial handbook. You can drive any "single" vehicle with air brakes as long as it does not exceed 26,001 pounds, that is the key to pay attention to.
2) If you are going faster than 55 mph in California and some other states pertaining to trailer towing, then it doesn't matter what you are driving. You are still required to drive that speed limit since it has to do with the number of axles. Most if not all say 3 axles or more. Far as I know all vehicles that are not motorcycles have two axles and if you add even a simple trailer it needs one minimum.
I can imagine that if you drive a rig you will get hassled even if it has "private not for hire" on it.
The FMCSR is the regulation of interstate and in state "commercial carriers" only. When vehicle does not fall into that category then the residing state laws would apply.
For example here in California, you would need a CDL if you fall into number one above period and most states I am sure are along the same or similar laws in their respective DMV.
Get around it by driving a Freightliner M2 112 Sport Chassis or something around there. Anything that doesn't look like a commercial rig.
I live in the State of Washington, I drive a 2002 Columbia using it to tow my 45 foot long, 22,000 pound RV trailer, the truck is titled and registered as a "Motor Home" as it has been outfitted as the law requires to meet the State standards as a Motor Home.
In the State of Washington, one does not need any form of special license to drive a recreational vehicle, a "motor home" is a recreational vehicle. As the lenght and weight of RV trailers continue to increase in size the use of a converted semi is becoming more and more common. And YES, I and many others who do this have driven trucks for a living in my case it was many years ago and at that time I held what was called a "Chauffeurs License". This is my rig. I can't figure out how to post a photo to this web site, click this link to be taken to the photo.
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