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CHP Giving Tickets To RV Drivers

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Need to make sure -- received info that Cal Highway Patrol is stopping every Class A to make sure the driver has the proper Drivers license from their state for the unit, like TX requires a Non-CDL for most Class As and if you do not you will get a ticket.

I know California is going broke, but this is ridiculous.

Any more info?????

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Guest BillAdams

It seems that CA goes through different enforcement phases. This one sounds odd to me as the Officer would have to know the rules for every State or have to call in every license and have someone there look it up. Makes no sense to me. The last round of enforcement was stopping RVers with tow vehicles to check if they exceeded the 65-foot maximum length allowed in CA. That was an expensive ticket. They also seem to go through periods where they are very strict about the 55-MPH speed limit when towing and other times not so much.

I hope your information is not going to be correct but it could easily be true and simple to stop every RVer as one of their many checkpoints.

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Guest Wayne77590

On the other hand, if you are properly licensed in your state to drive the vehicle you drive, you will not have to worry about a ticket in any other state for an improper drivers license.

I'll bet if they look at your license and it states (for Texas) Class A, they will just pass you through. I'll also bet that they know the GVWR and GCVWR of the motorhomes on the road, or they could just ask for you registration, which should have a weight.

No big deal for me, I'm ready for them.

Happy trails.

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Guest BillAdams

It's not the ticket that concerns me, as I know I have the correct license. It's just the fact that I may be unnecessarily detained for no good reason.

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On the other hand, if you are properly licensed in your state to drive the vehicle you drive, you will not have to worry about a ticket in any other state for an improper drivers license.

I'll bet if they look at your license and it states (for Texas) Class A, they will just pass you through. I'll also bet that they know the GVWR and GCVWR of the motorhomes on the road, or they could just ask for you registration, which should have a weight.

No big deal for me, I'm ready for them.

Happy trails.

Same here. I have the correct license (TX) so I'm ready for them but no big deal, I have absoultely no intention of ever going to commiefornia for any reason.

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Guest Wayne77590

My son was transferred to Camp Pendleton.

I guess I could always fly and have him pick us up.(NOT)

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Same here, I have the correct license (TX) so I'm ready for them but no big deal, I have absoultely no intention of ever going to commiefornia for any reason.

Just one more reason not to go to California!!

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Tom,

Beside your license class/type, make sure your combined length is 65 feet or less; and the license plates on your motorhome and towed are from the same State. They may be enforcing these issues now, and they may not. It is true these areas were being enforced. I don't know the current status of activity by CA CHP.

Also FYI, "Report Vehicles with Out-of-State License Plates to the CHP"is a current CHP program to find those who want to defraud CA by registering their vehicles out of state. I have read a post of an out-of-state RVer that received a letter from CHP to call them regarding a recent trip to the state. I don't know any more details of the incident.

I say defraud any State or the Feds at your peril. But for legitimate RVer's like most of us, this program can put a strain on CHP administrative resources, as well as the visiting RV owner. Go to http://www.chp.ca.gov/prog/cheaters.cgi for the official skinny. Keep in mind it is something you may have to deal with at some point.

Unfortunately, we have two sons that live in CA so we go back to see them periodically. If I receive one of the CHP letters of inquiry and it's not copyrighted, I'll post it. I'm sure it will be mostly "boiler plate" dialog with some location items typed in.

I was a CA resident for 58 years. It used to be a great place to live. Now it's a great place to be from.

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Thanks for the note Chuck. Our toad puts us right at 65 feet as measured by several ferries. We have fully functioning lights and brakes on the toad. We're straight up Texas, drivers license, vehicle plates, voter registration, etc. Before that we were South Dakota for 10 years. Before that, Missouri for my lifetime, Louise has a past in Colorado before her stint in Missouri for 32 years. We have a daughter, her husband and two lovely granddaughters in California so we are frequent visitors! It's a great state to visit. California has a little bit of everything! Deserts, mountains, coast, agriculture, cities, big trees, volcanoes, tar pits, gold and earthquakes. You name it, California has it. We always enjoy our visits. Apparently it wears on those who were originally from California.

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Tom,

I was not picking on your situation, and I should have been a little more concise. I keyed on your upcoming trip to CA as we plan for same later this year. The information is for anyone traveling to or through California with an RV. And as usual, everything is subject to change.

You're right -- it does wear on us. For many reasons I will not expound upon here.

It really gripes me that the reporting process is anonymous via the Internet. It is like keyboard bashing of someone on the web, then hiding behind the computer.

It's not the subject matter I take exception with, it's the method of reporting. And the subsequent defense the RVer has to generate for doing nothing wrong. As in presumed guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

Have a great and safe trip.

Chuck

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Guest BillAdams

I highly doubt that it would be legal to pull an RVer over only to check their license type. Unless you setup a check point and check all RVers (like a DUI checkpoint) I don't believe it would be legal to randomly pull someone over without some kind of probable cause.

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I find it odd that you can be stopped just to see what class license you have. I'm a retired Police Officer in NY and would need some other type of violation to stop you. Does anyone from CA know if they can stop you just to check your license?

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For Bill and Jon, I will recount an interesting trip that we took in 2004. We were moving my mother-in-law from Lake Havasu City, Arizona to Arvada, Colorado. Louise and I had emptied the house and loaded a rental truck with her mothers goods to take to Colorado. Her mother would be moving in with her youngest daughter and her husband so she didn't need all her furniture, only a few selected pieces. Another of Louise's sisters had arranged the rental van which we picked up the day before the move. Louise's sister and brother-in-law were coming from Colorado to help bring mom to her new home.

We pick up the van and it looks like a rental van that has been painted over with some pale yellow paint. It wasn't even a good paint job. So the truck looks like a stolen truck with a quickie paint job. Our brother-in-law will drive the truck. Lou is immigrant Italian, dark skin, hair and a bit of a beard. We will convoy. Lou leads the way in the truck. I will follow with the motor home complete with our toad. Louise and her sister will follow driving their mother's car. So we have a convoy headed down the highway. Lou was stopped by police in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. We teased him that he was wanted in three states! There was never a ticket issued. I can recall only one excuse for making the stop. That was in Arizona. We pulled off the interstate to go to a motel. Turning left onto a divided four lane road with no traffic in evidence, Lou turned into the right hand lane instead of the left hand lane. It's an improper turn and the excuse needed for an officer to stop and investigate. The convoy pulled in behind him on the shoulder and following a short conversation with the officer, he was allowed to continue on his way. Had there not been a brand new motor home and a nice car pulled in behind him, I'm not sure how this would have turned out. This kind of encounter happened two more times. I think part of it was the appearance of the truck but I also think part of it was a reaction, legal or not, to the appearance of Lou. This was post 9-11-2001 and also in an area where there is plenty of drug smuggling so a suspect looking truck might have been all that was needed to make a stop.

If you fail to signal a turn, have a burned out signal or tail light, appear to be weaving too much, drive with a varying or inconsistent speed, drift off onto the shoulder, or exhibit a number of other minor behavior variations, you may be pulled over and have a license checked. In fact, in our last stay in California, last year I pulled into a gas station to fill up the toad. It was about 10:00 p.m. and the station was closed but it leaves the pumps on for credit purchase all night long. After filling up, I hesitated to record the mileage and then had a problem with the headlights. It took me a minute to shut off the car and restart before we were on our way. As I pulled out of the service station I noticed a police car behind me. It was a CHP officer, not local police. At the first wide spot in the road, he pulled us over and requested my license then proceeded to question us as to the reason for the delay in our departure from the gas station. I don't really look like trouble, I'm always respectful of law enforcement officers, so after a couple of minutes visiting with the officer we were allowed to go on our way.

My experience is that if an officer wants to pull you over he or she can generally find a reasonable excuse to do so. They may not get every RV but if they can see anything suspicious they may be stopping RV's and then investigating the license as part of the follow-up.

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I found this online. It may answer some questions.

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (CALTRANS)

TRAFFIC OPERATIONS PROGRAM

OFFICE OF TRUCK SERVICES

Note: This fact sheet is subject to revision. Please revisit this web site for updates.

INTRODUCTION

What is the purpose of this fact sheet? Single-unit vehicles in California, including motorhomes, may be up to 40 feet in length. Single-unit motorhomes that are over 40 feet, up to 45 feet, are legal in California, but only on certain routes. (For simplicity, we refer to these as 45-foot motorhomes.) This fact sheet addresses 45-foot motorhomes. (Note: A vehicle combination, e.g. a motorhome towing a vehicle or trailer, may be up to 65 feet length. If the single-unit motorhome is 40 feet or less in length, the combination is not subject to the 45-foot motorhome restrictions.)The primary purpose of this fact sheet is to enhance communication between Caltrans, the motorhome industry, and motorhome customers regarding legal, engineering, and safety issues.

Are 45-foot motorhomes legal in California? Yes. On October 9, 2001, Governor Davis signed Assembly Bill 67 which legalized motorhomes over 40 feet in length, up to 45 feet, on certain routes, effective immediately.

What is a motorhome? A motorhome is a noncommercial passenger vehicle defined in the California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 465 as a "house car" and commonly referred to as a recreation vehicle. CVC 362 defines "house car" as "a motor vehicle originally designed, or permanently altered, and equipped for human habitation, or to which a camper has been permanently attached." A motorhome should not to be confused with a bus (CVC 233) or a tour bus (CVC 612), also called "motorcoach," which is used for commercial passenger transportation and requires a commercial driver license to operate. See also Public Utilities Code 5360-5379.5 and 226.

What driver license is required to drive a 45-foot motorhome? AB 67 requires a motorhome endorsement on a noncommercial class B driver license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

How do I apply for the noncommercial class B license? Click on this DMV web site for commercial vehicle licensing and scroll down to these three topics: "How to apply for a noncommercial driver license," "Requirements for a Noncommercial Class B driver permit," and "Requirements for a Noncommercial Class B driver license." The driver must pass a written and skills examination (i.e. a driving test), submit a specified medical form, and pay a $34 fee. You may use the DMV booklet Recreational Vehicles & Trailers (DL-648) to prepare for the exam. The booklet is available at the local DMV field offices that test motorhomes. To set up an appointment, or locate a booklet, you may call DMV at 1-800-777-0133.

How long is the license valid? The medical exam must be repeated every two years. The license is valid for approximately five years.

What about out-of-state drivers?Non-residents visiting California may not operate a 45-foot motorhome unless in possession of an out-of-state driver license authorizing the operation of that vehicle. Possible additional requirements are under review; you may read the Vehicle Code on-line (see "California Law" section below) or you may call the California Highway Patrol at (916) 445-1865 to discuss non-resident license requirements.

Sign #

G66-55

For more information on service access, see the fact sheet Service Access Routes.

CALIFORNIA LAW

Where can I read AB 67? AB 67 is on the web site of the Legislative Counsel of California at this link: AB 67.

What is the California Vehicle Code? California Law consists of the State Constitution, Statutes, and 29 codes covering various subject areas. Legal requirements for vehicles are included in the California Vehicle Code (CVC).

How did AB 67 change the CVC? AB 67 changed or added the following CVC sections:

Section

Topic

2429.3

Outreach committee.

12804.9 (B)(2)(F)

Class B driver license.

12804.10

Class B driver license. House car endorsement -- written exam, driving test, and medical exam.

12804.15

Nonresident requirements. Endorsement requirements, fees and license expiration date.

14100 (a)

Administrative hearings.

35400 (B) (10)

Route access. Service access.

Where can I read the CVC? The CVC is on the Internet at this link: CVC - Table of Contents. Scroll down to see the section numbers on the right, and click on the appropriate links.

HISTORY of ROUTE RESTRICTIONS

How was the bus and motorhome route network developed? Federal legislation enacted in 1991 allowed 45-foot buses on the National Network of federally funded highways, primarily the Interstates. In 1995, as a result of an engineering analysis, many additional miles of California State highway opened to 45-foot buses. (See Caltrans’ fact sheet "45-Foot Buses" for more information.)

Why are some state routes restricted? Caltrans has authority to limit certain State routes to certain types of vehicles "on the basis of safety and an engineering analysis," per CVC 35401.5(d). Safety is the primary concern when considering vehicle performance on a route. Larger vehicles need a wider area to maneuver safely. If space is limited, it creates an unacceptable safety hazard for adjacent property, vehicles, and pedestrians, but especially for oncoming traffic. Engineers must take all factors into account, but generally will allow long vehicles only on routes that can accommodate the entire body of the vehicle on all turns without crossing the centerline with any part of the vehicle.

Why would the bus analysis apply to motorhomes? From an engineering standpoint, 45-foot motorhomes have similar turning characteristics to 45-foot buses, especially motorhomes created from tour bus conversions. Therefore, now that AB 67 has became law, 45-foot motorhomes are allowed on the same routes as 45-foot buses.

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Jon796 posted:

"Does anyone from CA know if they can stop you just to check your license?" The narrow legal answer is no.

But, in the real world of Law Enforcement once you have probable cause for any code violation, you can stop the vehicle and check license and registration, and observe anything in "plain view" to the officer. You can even search the car not incident to an arrest if given permission by the driver. When I went through the Academy I was taught this was developed from judicial law, but mainly from the many Federal and Supreme Court decisions. Miranda is an example. Most search and seizure laws are from Federal cases. Hence they are good to use in any state.

In California, the CHP is tasked with traffic law enforcement. Municipalities generally due the same. The California Sheriff Departments can do traffic and sometimes we did, but the reality was we didn't have the manpower for much traffic/DUI activities. Also the CHP didn't like the SD's cutting into their domain for the most part. And the SD administration made that known to us. I'm sure that varied by department in the state.

That said, one of our most effective tools to contact suspected or known drug users was to do vehicle stops. It was generally no problem finding one or several California Vehicle Code violations to pull them over. At that point you could check license (usually suspended), smell breath, check pupils, do warrant checks, etc. And most had outstanding warrants and off to jail they went. Or cited and released (legally arrested in California). But the reason for the initial stop may have been a defective license plate lamp, etal.

On one hand I would be surprised if you told me your NY PD did not use the same techniques. On the other hand, departments all over the country endorse or restrict certain LE actions based on local politics and/or whether the local DA will even prosecute various crimes. Particularly in rural counties with low budgets.

A good example of this is in most, if not all counties in California, Judges will not give you a conviction for speed violations unless in excess of 10mph over the limit. This is why traffic generally moves 10 to 15 over the posted limit on roads in CA. I don't see that in many other states we've been in.

Regarding your post above:

"Non-residents visiting California may not operate a 45-foot motorhome unless in possession of an out-of-state driver license authorizing the operation of that vehicle."

According to the CVC, that is correct. But another section of the Code allows for "reciprocity" of the driving privileges afforded driver's licenses from other states. I may be wrong but I believe some states allow driving 45' motorhomes on their standard driver license for cars and light trucks. Forget about air brakes and GVW at this point because CA doesn't care about those (except trailers) in non-commercial vehicles.

So can the CHP pull you over for any reason at all? No!

Can they justify why they pulled you over if asked? Absolutely!

Will the CHP cite you? Maybe! Depends on the violation, your demeanor, and other factors.

Chuck

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Guest Wayne77590

I think it would be rather difficult to try and "observe anything in plain view." How would they get around that? I guess they could ask if they could search and if you said no they could detain you for a search warrant, but doesn't that have to be specific?

Just asking questions for an inquisitive mind.

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I drive all over California all the time and have never been pulled over and my MH is 44' and has a Wrangler following it. Just came back from Carmel. I do observe the 55 MPH limit at 60 MPH on my GPS because my speedometer is a couple mph off. You can't drive much faster than 60 mph on I-5 because the road surface is so bad especially the expansion joints either side of a overpass or bridge. One question I would have to ask on the combined length of the MH and toad is if that is bumper to bumper or front mirrors to back of spare tire (Wrangler). I guess I should measure both and see if it makes a difference. I wonder how much leeway they will give you if you are a little over. There are a lot of States that have that total 65' length restriction but not many that enforce it.

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Not a lot of experience in Calif, but all good. We brought our new to us Beaver up to Canada from Indio, observing the speed limits as they were observed by the truckers. In zones that were 70 for cars and 55 for trucks (noted as 55 for vehicles with trailers, and we pull our toad) we did the same as the trucks all the time, so bang on 70 in those 55 zones. No probs with the roads. Not in as good condition as in Oregon or Washington, but still OK.

Passed or passed by CHP on several occasions. No interest in us whatsoever, despite a Calif plate on the Beaver and a BC plate on the Volvo. Mileage 8.6 (translates to over 11 Canadian, so I am pretty pleased. I only got twice that on the Volvo going down).

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I know that Willie Nelson's bus was stopped on I-20, in Louisiana, I guess for excess "smoke" coming from the interior, and the driver ticketed for having "an illegal substance" in his possession.

That was a first, for having a mh stopped in this state, other than weaving or some other obvious violation.

,

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I simply avoid California, left in 78 and haven't been back since. Too many laws, especially around guns. I stay away from any state which does not support our constitution.

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Amusing how many people will "NEVER" go into California again based on....a rumor.

California is a political disaster, which is a huge reason I left. But hammer the state for some of the stupid things it does, not because "someone told me that they were doing this..."

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Are they still stopping vehicles that have commercial signs on them? At one time they were checking for LLC registration and hitting people with fines for not having commercial fuel tags.

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