Dromedaries and length limit

Discussion in 'Trucking Industry Regulations' started by wheelofgrime, May 30, 2024.

  1. wheelofgrime

    wheelofgrime Bobtail Member

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    I've been reading up on federal rules and if I'm understanding correctly, a tractor/semitrailer combo on the national network and reasonable access routes cannot be limited in overall length by any state.

    Importantly, in the section on dromedaries, the federal language says it's up to each individual state to decide whether a given vehicle is a tractor with a dromedary or a straight truck.

    I'm looking to build a tractor with dromedary and I can't find a lot of information about this.

    Thanks.
    Federal Size Regulations for Commercial Motor Vehicles - FHWA
     
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  3. wheelofgrime

    wheelofgrime Bobtail Member

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    Is this all moot if I have to leave the national network to get to a job? Say I jump off I-95 and drive down a smaller state road for eight miles and I'm not on the NN anymore. Is there an enforcement guy on earth that will care if my vehicle is 67 feet instead of 65 feet?

    Another question, is 65 feet overall for a dromedary tractor pulling a semi trailer good for every state, even off the national network? Or are some states super strict on length?

    Trying to figure out a setup that will be legal just about everywhere. Thanks!
     
  4. wheelofgrime

    wheelofgrime Bobtail Member

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    I'm looking at building a crew cab tractor with dromedary deck. Purpose is for interstate construction work pulling various job trailers. We'll stay at motor inns if we have the trailer hitched and wherever we want once we drop it at the job. So no sleeper required. Need basic tools on the truck at all times and ability to grab a couple things at the lumber yard or whatever. Here's a screen grab of the truck I am building through International. This is a 6x6. Thinking an 18 speed but I don't know if I want to lose the bench seat. No quote yet, I'm guessing 220k. Is that way off?. Ignore the stake body that was just a placeholder.
    Image 5-30-24 at 11.59 AM.jpg
    This truck is 107" BBC. I had originally wanted a two foot drom box with drawers immediately behind cab for everybody's luggage, plus a six and a half foot drom deck. A 6'6" drom deck allows me to mount a box like this one:
    IMG_3183.jpeg ... and still have room to pickup a four foot long pallet. That box is 30" deep. Box provides everyday tool storage for crew.

    Anway, figuring I need 60" for trailer swing, then for a 24" kingpin setback I would burn another 36" of overall length. Converted to feet that's 68'5" and that's with a 48' trailer with a 2' kingpin setback.

    (I'm currently shooting for 65' overall to drive wherever I want but if that's a mistake please let me know).

    So I guess I need to get back 2'5", call it 2'6". I guess luggage could go on a rack, although I was hoping to leave rack space free for miscellaneous materials. Anyway that saves 2'. Then I can do a six foot drom deck and that would put me right about 65' with a 2' kingpin setback and a 48' trailer. I'd probably have to build a custom 2' deep box to store all the tools I want and still have 4' of drom deck available.

    Have I made any mistakes with my thinking here? Can I drive wherever I want at 65'? Thank you.
     
  5. SomeCanadian

    SomeCanadian Light Load Member

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    It likely won’t apply but I don’t have limited experience out east… so check with local dot. Organ has routes that are 60’ with a 40’ trailer.

    If all else fails you likely could be able to get a permit for the extra dimension.

    Unless it’s a route that is used to bypass the scales or your in a wreck I doubt you will be noticed.
     
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  6. wheelofgrime

    wheelofgrime Bobtail Member

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    Thanks. That makes sense. If I’m on the big road, I’m probably on the NN and I’m legal. If I’m on the little road… well, if a tree falls in the woods and nobody’s around does it make any noise…
     
  7. ElmerFudpucker

    ElmerFudpucker Light Load Member

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    Can you use a 45’ trailer? That would shorten your overall.
     
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  8. wheelofgrime

    wheelofgrime Bobtail Member

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    Yeah that’s a good idea. I guess I was trying to maximize cargo space but it’s good to know I could just go smaller on the trailer.
     
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  9. ElmerFudpucker

    ElmerFudpucker Light Load Member

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    Just about anything you can load on a 48 you can get on a 45. Also you probably want to stick with a 96 wide instead of a 102. That is if you plan on doing many skinny roads on the east coast
     
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  10. Ex-Trucker Alex

    Ex-Trucker Alex Heavy Load Member

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    ARE there any good 45',96" wide trailer left anymore? Once the standard went up to 48', 102" some 45 years ago, nearly everybody switched. Most 45-year-old trailers I've seen were just about ready for the scrap yard. Also, I've run ALL over the northeast exclusively with 102" wide trailers (all either 48' or, more often, 53') without issue.

    As far as "will anybody check"; down south, the answer is a resounding "YES". I've seen local yokels pull out a 100' measuring tape to check truck lengths..

    In the last 50+ years in the US, about the only drom boxes I see are on bedbuggers, and those are only for carrying moving blankets and straps; never freight. Up in Canada, Manitoulin used to run some 70 metric tonne drom-box trucks, hooked up to a common ON 6-axle heavy-haul skateboard, for hauling nickel ingots down from Sudbury to Mississauga. But as for the US, the days of the old P.I.E. drom-box trucks for the Denver-LA run are a thing of the past.
     
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  11. ElmerFudpucker

    ElmerFudpucker Light Load Member

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    Oh yeah. 45x96 is the steel haulers trailer of choice. You can still get a new one built. Anything not on a staa route is still supposed to be 96 wide
     
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