Monday, 0600 hours.
Somewhere in the wilds of northeast Iowa.
At the intersection of some two lane state highways out in the middle of the corn rows.
Just K-Pink on the side of the road with three Iowa Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officers.
Not a pretty sight. Mr. MVE Officer: "Sir How’s it going?”K-Pink: “Good. How you doing?” I so wanted to go Jersey on his ass. “How YOU doin’?” “How you DOIN’, eh?” “How ya doin?” I let it go.Mr. MVE Officer,:"Sir, been up to Lacrosse looking around before the big tournament next month?”K-Pink: “Yep. Big river, lots of water. Figured I needed to go up and find my way around a little.”Mr. MVE: “You guys pretty much travel all over the country, don’t you.”K-P: “Yep. Pretty much all over.”Mr. MVE: “You guys make a lot of money fishing?”I’m not really liking where this is going, especially since I’m not real clear on why Mr. MVE motioned me over to begin with. “There’s some money to be made, but it costs quite a bit to make it. Pretty high risk for small rewards sometimes.”Mr. MVE: “You mind if I see your logbook?”K-P: “I gave up keeping a fishing log years ago.”Mr. MVE, with a slight chuckle: “That’s not the kind of log I was talking about. This here truck,” patting the door on the pink Redneck Remedy K3500 GMC “has a GVW of over 10,000 pounds. If we open the door, we’ll find a tag that states what the actual GVW of the vehicle is.”
I’m REALLY not liking the direction this is going now.Mr. MVE opens the door on the K-Pinkmobile. “Let’s see here… Gross Vehicle Weight of… 13,000 pounds.”K-P: “And that means what?” What I wanted to say was BFD, but I figured it was a Big Freakin’ Deal or Mr. MVE wouldn’t have me on the side of the road at 0600 on a Monday morning in the middle of BFE Iowa. I can see this going real bad, real quick.
Mr. MVE: “That means you are in violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulation Number 390 blah, blah, blah…”“Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Kimosabe. I don’t drive this truck for a living. Driving this truck is how I get from one place to the next. The only thing I’m hauling (other than ass) is MY boat. No one’s paying me to run up and down the road.”Mr. MVE: “You get paid when you fish?”K-P: “When I catch enough fish, yes.”“You have people who pay you to put their name on your truck and boat that you drive across state lines?”You got me on that one, Copper.“That would be interstate commerce. Since you’re using a vehicle with a GVW over 10,000 pounds in the course of doing business across state lines, you are subject to DOT regulations, sir.”Like I said; real bad, real quick. Fifteen minutes later, I know way more about DOT regs than I ever wanted to know. Not only that, I now have a special invitation to the MVE Dance and Corn eating Contest. Of course I have to pony up $127.50 to attend the corn thing, which is pretty cheap compared to what all this DOT CRAP is going to cost. So what did K-Pink do to garner a citation? Guess you could say that I bought too big of a truck. Unbeknownst to me, if you’re a business kind of guy and you buy a dually pickup truck, said pickup truck will most likely have a GVW of over 10,000 pounds. Per FMCSA regs, any vehicle operated on our great nation’s roadways for commercial purposes with a Gross Vehicle Weight or Gross Combination Vehicle Weight of 10,000 pounds or more is subject to follow said FMCSA regs. Doesn’t matter if you’re hauling baskets for BasketBoy from Little Rock to Buffalo or towing your own BassCat from Mayflower to Lacrosse, if you’re using that/ those vehicles across state lines to further whatever business it is that you’re in, then you, my friend, are involved in interstate commerce and are subject to said regs. So sayeth Tha Man. I’d like to have a little chat with Tha Man from time to time, especially about this wacky pickup truck regulating stuff. Before I get up on my soap box and start stomping around, here’s the deal; if you claim income and/ or expenses on your taxes for any business venture you’re involved in (say, fishing) AND you travel over 100 air miles from your home and/ or place of business AND you use a truck and/ or trailer with a Gross Vehicle Weight, Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or Gross Combination Vehicle Weight of greater than 10,000 pounds then you are involved in either intrastate (if you go beyond 100 air miles but not past the borders of your state) or interstate commerce. When you jump off into that inter or intra state commerce thing, you are DOT’s little puppy now, boy. So who does this apply to? Pretty much anyone with a 20 foot bassin’ boat who claims anything pertaining to that boat or any income derived from that boat. Pretty much. Here’s how that works out; most 20 foot bass rigs will weigh in excess of 4,000 pounds on the road. My BassCat Eyra weighed in at just over 4,400 pounds, road ready. Hook it up to even a half ton extended cab truck (5,270 curb weight) and you’re pushing 10,000 pounds at 9,670 pounds. Add a bed cover to cover up the tackle in the bed (several hundred more pounds of rubber worms) and some clothes in the back seat and Bam! You’re a big fat bunch of over 10K, baby. Get you some 2500HD (curb weight of 6,370) and you’re over the limit and out of control without any rubber worms in the back. What’cha gonna do when they come for you? Bad boys, bad boys… Now I’m sure I got popped because (1) the Redneck Remedy/ Jewelbait.comdually/ BassCat is, well, pink . Who knows, maybe Mr. MVE is a Pink-O-Phobe, or (2) it’s obvious to most any MVE officer that a dually is going to be over 10K GVW . The pink just made it stand out, especially at 0600 on a Monday morning in the freshly plowed and planted corn fields of northeast Iowa. Might have been nice to have that little 10,000-GVW-and-you-belong-to-the-DOT-Man info when I bought the dually. Or the one before it. Or the one before it. Come to think of it, I’ve driven three duallys over 180,000 miles from border to border and coast to coast and this is the first time I’ve ever been stopped by the DOT Man. Passed hundreds of them on the roads over the years. Parked next to them at truck stops. Hell, I’ve even talked to several in front of the K-Pink mobile and not a one has ever said anything about GVW. But I digress… Here’s the takeaway from my lesson learned. For those of you who seem to only retain one piece of a story and aren’t concerned with context, you might want to read this several times. Maybe take notes. I’ll type it slow, too, just to help out. If you drive a dually and you are using it as a means of transporting anything in your course of business over 100 miles from your base of operations, then you are subject to DOT regulations.Here’s the regs in their entirety:http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrguide.aspx?section_type=A Here are the definitions that spell out who these regs apply to. Some definitions to note; “Commercial motor vehicle”; “Gross combination weight rating”; “Interstate commerce”; and “Private motor carrier”:http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=390.5 If you drive a 3/4 ton pickup and pull a trailer with approximately 3,800 pounds or more on it in the course of your business outside of 100 air miles from your base, you are subject to DOT regs as well. The key word here is “commerce”. If the truck and trailer are titled in your business name, it’s going to be pretty hard to convince a DOT agent that you’re on your honeymoon. Likewise, if your truck and boat are wrapped from front to back and bow to stern, it’s going to be pretty hard to convince a DOT agent that you’re going on your honeymoon, even if the truck and boat are titled in your personal name. All you Super WannaBe’s who thought it was cool to finagle a wrapped rig now have the added luxury of being a target for Tha Man. Good luck with that. But K-Pink, you have a truck camper that you drop in the bed of that dually. Aren’t Recreational Vehicles exempt from DOT regulation?
Sure they are, as long as they aren’t used for business purposes. If you’re tooling up and down the roadway in your 45 foot Class A from one derby to the next and using that RV in the course of your business, then you are subject to DOT regulation. If you’re taking the wife upstate for a weekend fishing getaway, then you’re just another RV on the road. If said RV is in your business name, guess what? Red flag. Good luck explaining it to Tha Man. Oh yeah, since that Class A is going to weigh in at over 26,000 pounds GVW, you are required to have a CDL, in addition to everything else that goes along with DOT regs. I can’t make this stuff up. Here’s what I had to do to get DOT compliant. Now I probably could have just paid the ticket, said “screw The Man”, and kept driving just like I had been the past 170,000 miles, but the way my luck’s been running lately that might not have been such a good plan.
Crazy stuff just to use a pickup truck to pull your boat with, I know. All these regs for “big rigs”; I get that. Regulating companies that are using duallys for “hotshot service” where they haul small loads across the country as fast as they can get it there; I get that. Limiting hours of service for people who are driving four, five, or even six days in a row; I get that. Regulating a guy using a 3/4 ton, or even a dually for that matter, to pull his bass boat to the lake FOR WHATEVER REASON; I don’t get that. These regs would also apply to a landscape contractor (assuming he goes outside the 100 mile radius and does so on more than an occasional basis) using a dually or 3/4 ton who is pulling a small excavator on a flatbed trailer, as the truck/ trailer/ excavator will most likely be over 10K GCVW; I don’t get that. Think it’s time to pen a letter to me Congressmen and Representatives and ask their Honorable selves what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is going on here. Do the DOT guys REALLY have enough time on their hands to be stopping every pickup truck on the highway now? Really? Do we have the trucking industry under control to the point where these guys have that much free time on their hands?What’cha gonna do? I would say run it until you get stopped then plead ignorance, pay the fine, and go on, but that would be TOTALLY irresponsible on my part. TOTALLY. Of course, you’ve seen the regs and know whether or not they apply to you. What you do with the info is your business. As for me, I’ll be doing the chicken scratch thing in my logbook and wheeling through weigh stations.K-Pink – Loaded Up and Truckin’