Home Industry Reports 2010 March 2010



Greg Dineen and Associates

Industry Partners

March 2010 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 March 2010 20:40

DMV - Special Equipment (SE) Plate are you required by DMV for Crushers, Conveyors or Special Construction Equipment.

This one is still being worked on…After being contacted by a member questioning whether a citation that was issued by a local law enforcement officer was correct.

The member was towing their Jaw Crusher Plant to a job location when they were stopped for a routine permit inspection and there was no obvious registration or a Special Equipment (SE) plate that the officer could see.  The member was only given a warning for not having an SE Plate on their Jaw Crusher, which was oversized and required a permit.

We contacted other companies who have similar units and it was as much as a surprise to them as it was to our member that they needed an SE plate An SE plate cost $22 and is good for 5 year period.

Certain specialized vehicles, which are incidentally operated on the highway, fall under the definition of Special Equipment (SE) and are exempt from regular registration. This category includes special construction equipment, cemetery equipment, and special mobile equipment, logging equipment, implements of husbandry, and cotton or farm trailers. (Vehicle Code §§5011, 5015, 5016)

When SE registration is issued.

SE registration is issued to qualified vehicles as outlined below. A qualifying vehicle is issued an SE plate and an identification card. A title is not issued to vehicles with SE registration. However, the owner may apply for a Certificate of Title as a separate transaction.

When SE registration is required.

A special equipment identification plate is:

  • Required for special construction equipment, special mobile equipment, cemetery equipment, and logging vehicles (VC §5011);

  • Required for cotton trailers, farm trailers, water tanks, oversize feed and seed motor vehicles, automatic bale wagons, and cotton module movers (VC §36101);

  • Optional for implements of husbandry and farm tractors (VC §36115).

Special Equipment definitions

Special Construction Equipment (VC §565)

A special construction vehicle is one used more than 51% of the time for highway construction, occasionally moves over the highways, and is oversize or overweight. These vehicles also require special permits issued by the Department of Transportation or local authorities because of its size.

Special construction equipment includes any legal sized (not requiring a special permit) vehicle used primarily for highway grading, paving, earth moving, or other highway or railroad right-of-way work. These vehicles are not designed for transportation of persons or property and are only occasionally operated or moved over the highways.

Special Construction Exclusions

Special construction equipment does not include truck-mounted transit mixers, cranes, shovels, and dump trucks that are not oversize or overweight, or any commercial vehicle not specified in Vehicle Code §565 to which machinery has been attached (VC §570).

Special Mobile Equipment (VC §575)

Special mobile equipment is not self-propelled, not designed or used primarily for the transportation of persons or property, and only incidentally operated or moved over the highways. Some examples of special mobile equipment are generators, log splitters, tar pots, chippers, cement mixers and welders.

Implements of Husbandry (VC §§36000, 36015)

A vehicle used exclusively in the conduct of agricultural operations is an implement of husbandry.

Implements of husbandry include any farm tractor that is used to draw a farm trailer carrying farm produce on a highway or to draw a trailer or semitrailer carrying other implements of husbandry between farms, or from a farm to a processing or handling point and returning with or without the trailer.

NOTE: An implement of husbandry does not include a vehicle designed primarily for transportation of persons or property on the highways unless specified in the Vehicle Code.

How to obtain an SE identification plate

To obtain an SE plate and identification card, the following is required:

Final determination of eligibility is based upon review of the application and the photograph. Proof of ownership and verification of the identification number are not required to obtain an SE plate.

Why a vehicle may not qualify for an SE plate

The following list presents examples of why a vehicle may not qualify. This is not a complete list of reasons.

  • A vehicle that is not oversized or overweight would not qualify for an SE plate. (An oversized or overweight vehicle would require a permit issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to move it unladen over the highways and, therefore, would qualify for an SE plate.)

  • A water well-drilling vehicle that is not oversized or overweight would not qualify for an SE plate. (An oversized or overweight well-drilling vehicle would require a permit issued by the DOT to move it unladen over the highways and, therefore, would qualify for an SE plate.)

  • Self-propelled special mobile equipment.

  • Auxiliary dollies.

  • Special construction equipment used less than 51% of the time for highway construction work or railroad rights-of way.

  • Farm trailer with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) over 10,000 pounds.

  • Farm vehicle Special Equipment (SE) (FFVR 19) not being used solely to transport agricultural products and is operated on the highways for a distance greater than one mile.

  • Photograph submitted shows that the vehicle is designed to carry property and is notVehicle Code as an implement of husbandry or special mobile equipment.

    designated in the
  • Tridem Bonus Purple – Equal axle weight distribution for Hauled Vehicle (07-04-07)


New Policy Implemented - Tow / Pull Rippers (a.k.a. Tow Rippers) policy updated from original policy dated 9-26-85.

We were contacted by a member that was detained at the CHP Scale Inspection Facility near Tehachapi and was detained until a single trip permit was obtained. The problem that was another one of those cases when a your stopped for something that you had been doing for years and then you find out by CHP that it’s not legal under an annual permit, which is what they had been transporting this tow ripper for years.

The Original Policy to transport a Tow Ripper with the Farm Tractor was written back in 1985 and of course is overweight.  When the policy was originally written it specifically spelled out that you must obtain a single trip permit and even though it fit under the criteria of an Annual Permit, back in 1985 there was no such thing as an annual permit.

We contacted Caltrans and it was agreed that the policy needs to be updated with the following language.

“Single trip or annual permits may be issued for the tow unit and pull-ripper as a non-reducible load.  When hauled under annual permits, loaded dimensions and weights cannot exceed the authorized limits contained in the annual permit.”

Pending Policy Change

  • Tridem Bonus Purple – Equal axle weight distribution for Hauled Vehicle (07-04-07)
    This policy will allow a qualified hauled vehicle with bonus tridem axles to redistribute allowable axle weights equally between a bonus tridem axle and an adjacent non-bonus tridem axle. Currently to qualify for tridem bonus purple weight, you must be no closer than 25’0”, measured from center of last axle to center of first axel, to the next tridem axle group.  If you’re less than 25’0” the carrier is allowed 60,000 lbs and one group and 52,000 lbs on the other depending on exact axle spacings. This policy when implemented will allow a carrier to add two consecutive tridem axle group’s gross weight together within 25’0” and then redistribute equally.  Expected to be an approved new policy within 90 days, if not sooner.
  • 7, 8 and 9-axle Annual Permits – Concept was approved with monitoring mechanism to be in place prior to implementation approved 8-01-07. (10-27-03) This policy will authorize annual permits for 7, 8 and 9-axle extra-legal vehicles up to 12’ wide, 14’0” tall and up to maximum purple weight. (250,000 lbs). We will be sending out a survey to industry to get an idea of just how many companies and the number of transponders that they would be interested in obtaining that would allow them and their customers the opportunity to be issued an annual permit for their 7, 8 and 9-axle combinations.

Proposed Policy Change

  • 5-axle Crane Max. Tridem Bonus Purple Weight (6-03-09)
  • 10’ Wide 4 Group Combination Tridem Bonus Purple Weight Addendum A,  (7-04-07)

The Variance Committee Workgroup conducted a conference call meeting July 11, 2007, which included Caltrans staff.  We discussed and agreed to the following change to the original proposal, 4 Group Combination Tridem 60,000 lbs.

Industry is requesting: TPPM 2006-04 would modify and authorize 60,000 lbs. per tridem group within a 25’ spread and would need to meet the 10’ wide and close coupled requirement. This would apply to the power unit and jeep and / or the semi trailer with tridem axle groups.

Proposals Denied

1. Null & Void Permits - Provide a definitive definition for a “Null and Void” permit.  (1-07-06)

  • Off-Route – The hauler is not traveling on approved route(s):

  • Illegible;

  • Apparent alteration to the permits and/or inspection reports;

  • Description of load, hauling equipment, dimensions and weights are different than as described on the permit;

  • Placed out of service by law enforcement; and

  • Failure to comply with the general conditions, specific provisions, and notes listed on the permit.

The intention of this proposal was to assure the fine should justify the crime and it was to eliminate null and void for such things as not having accompaniments with the permit.  Making a permit null and void can be big price to pay for something that there was no intent, such as altering a permit.  These are two completely different actions and could be very costly in most cases.  Declaring a permit Null and Void in some cases allows the court the ability to take the citation back to legal weight, 80,000 lbs and the gross vehicle weight could be easily as much as 250,000 lbs (9-axle), the citation is written for as much as 170,000 lbs overweight for something as not having your permit not having accompaniments with the driver at the time.  This fine should justify the crime, worst case scenario this citation could be as little as $34,000 for the base fine and $125,000 with penalty assessments.  There should be no reason to give this an opportunity to even happen by allowing the permit to be null and void, unless the permit has been altered or intentionally misrepresented.

Caltrans response: “The Department works in partnership with the CHP to ensure permit compliance.  It is the permittee’s responsibility to ensure that all provided information is accurate and complies with permit policy.  The Department suggests that the permittee be familiar with the conditions, requirements of hauling extralegal loads in California and print out all the accompaniments. These conditions, requirements and accompaniments can be obtained from the Department’s website at www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/permits.”

2. Variance Revision – CHP Escorts requirements (11-12-03)

This proposal would revise the escort requirement load width, from 16 feet to 17 feet.  When load widths are from 16 feet to 17 feet, the load would be escorted by pilot cars, and when load widths exceed 17 feet, the load would be escorted by CHP,

Caltran’s response: “Escort by the CHP is required for loads greater than 16 feet wide on Yellow routes.”  A Yellow route is based on any divided roadway with a three-lane conventional road with two or more traffic lanes in one direction with shoulder.   A few examples of a yellow route would be I-10, I-5, I-15, and I-80etc.  A load over 16 feet wide being transported on a 12 foot wide lane would encroach into adjacent lanes and shoulder.  Turning movements by vehicles when traversing curves, intersections, and ramps would further encroach into the adjoining and adjacent lane or shoulder area.  The presence of signal arms, signs, and overhead lines may exist, which could necessitate a lane change.  In these situations, the CHP Officers are present to control highway traffic for maneuverings.

One of the primary concerns with this proposal is the ability of a legal vehicle, such as an emergency response vehicle, to travel safely in the adjacent lane.  Permitting loads that exceed 16 feet wide without an escort YELLOW routes would decrease safety forth traveling motorists.  As a result, the department will maintain its current requirement of having an escort when the width of the load exceeds 16 feet on a YELLOW route.

3. Original Permit – Annuals and/or repetitive permits be accepted in the form of a facsimile or copy.  (11-8-03) (revised 2006) This proposal would allow Annuals and/or Repetitive permits to be faxed or copied and utilized in one or more vehicles provided that the vehicle(s) conforms to the prescribed permit.

Caltran’s response: “Annual Permits are issued for a specific vehicle that allows that vehicle to travel under its own unique permit number.  Allowing multiple vehicles to use the same permit number would make enforcement very difficult.

Permit fees are based on the costs to administer the Transportation Permit Program.  Every permit number issued represents a fee for each type of permit.  Allowing customers to copy and duplicate permits will impact revenue, staffing, workload, and costs for annual permits.

The Department is looking into implementing an automated permitting system (ATPS) to auto issue permits.    The system will issue permits 24 hours per day, every day, even holidays and weekends.  Industry will have 24/7 access to apply for permits online.  The Department expects that the ATPS would incorporate a feature that alone allows industry to achieve the goal of this proposal.”

4. Travel to CHP Scales – This proposal would allow permits to be issued for extralegal vehicles with undetermined axle weights.  (1-07-06)

The purpose is to allow vehicles to travel to a California Highway Patrol (CHP) scale facility to verify axle weights.

The Department is notable to approve this request.  These overweight vehicles would likely exceed the safe bridge rating factors.  The Department must safeguard and protect all bridges and highways in the State.  The potential impact of damage caused by overweight vehicles would be significant if the axle weights exceed the allowable limits.

Currently, there are other resources available forth customer to measure axle weights without having to travel to a CHP facility.  The customer can purchase his own scales for measurement of loads. Additionally, there are local and private scales available throughout the state for the customer to perform axle weight verification without traveling State highways.  For a listing of public scales, please refer to the following link at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/dms/programs/wm/publicscalelisting.html

Currently there are areas that once the carrier is loaded on they get on the highway, the next exit is the CHP Scale Facility.  We have had members actually go ahead to the CHP Scale Facility to explain their situation of not having a way to weigh their load.  In this particular situation the carrier was overweight and was cited for exactly that.

City of Beverly Hills – Transportation Permit Fees were being buried in the construction cost  and paid by the owner, still doesn’t make it legal and recently started charging Industry directly.

The City’s permit procedure had kept the City of Beverly Hills under the radar for years by not requiring transportation permits obtained by the Trucking, Crane and Concrete Pumping Industry.  The Transportation Permits were pre-arranged, routes and travel times negotiated with owner, and all fees paid in advance, that has changed.  This gave the City the advantage at the time to name the price of their fees.  There are a lot of things agreed to during the initial permit process when it may be the only thing standing between you and your building permit approved.  The owner has more important issues, which is first and foremost, having their building permit approved and issued, so their dream home or commercial building can be built.

The City continues to charge excessive transportation permit fees whether the Vehicle Code states a locality cannot charge more than the $16 Caltrans charges.  It doesn’t say it is OK to charge excessive fees if the City charges the owner directly or that the City was including the cost in the building permit fees.

The following URL:  http://www.beverlyhills.org/services/building/street_use_and_hauling/default.asp gives a summary of some of the restrictions that the City of Beverly Hills has for trucks.  Here are a few that stand out immediately.

  • “Bottom dump and transfer trucks type vehicles are not allowed in the City of Beverly Hills”;

  • “18 Wheel Vehicles and Cranes require a traffic plan approval by city traffic engineer.  Traffic Plans must be submitted 96 hours (4 Days) in advance of scheduled work during normal working hours. Work performed during evenings and weekends will be subject to after hour permit(s) upon approval by City Traffic Engineer.”;

  • And that a Heavy Haul Permit is required anytime a… “Vehicle is over 6,000 lbs. in gross vehicle weight or wider than 8'-6",  and travels outside designated heavy haul route”;

It wasn’t until recently that the City has come out of their safe zone and starting charging the Industry directly that they will be called to task for excessive permit fees.  The City has also been charging 80 cents a mile for “Roadway Degradation” (per cubic yard hauled), Permit Fee issuance $53.60 and Heavy Haul Permit $142.20. In the case of our member that traveled 1.34 miles into the city, $278.80 or $262.80 overcharged.

City of Garden Grove - Excessive fees being charged an additional $15 administrative / processing fee.

We are continuing our efforts to convince the Public Works Department that it may not seem like a large amount that the city is overcharging, it is a matter of where does it stop and at what cost.  In this case, the Vehicle Code section 35795(b) (1) (2)

(b) (1) Local authorities may charge a fee for the issuance of permits pursuant to this article.

However, the fee established by a local authority pursuant to this section shall be established by

ordinance or resolution adopted after notice and hearing. The fee shall be calculated to produce a  total estimated revenue that is not more than the estimated total cost incurred by the local authority in administering its authority under this article and shall not exceed the fee developed by the Department of Transportation pursuant to subdivision (a). The fee for the issuance of permits shall be developed in consultation with representatives of local government and the commercial trucking industry.

Notice of the hearing shall be by publication as provided in Section 6064 of the Government Code.The hearing shall be held before the legislative body of the local authority. All objections shall be considered and an interested party shall be afforded an adequate opportunity to be heard in respect to their objections.    (2) Special services necessitated by unusually larger heavy loads requiring engineering investigations, escorts, tree trimming, or other services, excluding services necessary to provide the notification required under this section and services that are within the scope of the local authority's ordinary duty to provide, shall be billed separately for each permit. We hope to have this issue resolved in the month.

City of LakewoodHeavyhaul Route has been re-opened to loads 16’ 6” high and exceeding 250,000 lbs through the City.

We had a productive meeting with the City Manager Howard Chambers, Public Works Director Max Withrow, Sheriff Department representative and other public works representatives.  The Public Works' are having difficult time understanding that the City of Lakewood is a major part in “Efficient Goods Movement” on a route that interstate commerce depends on to get their Superloads who originally requested a map demonstrating why these Superloads are very limited on where they can travel when their 20’ highand20’ wide that has to either make it to the ship or from the ship at the Port of Long Beach to their destination.  Even after explaining several months ago that this route has been used by Industry for over20 years and escorted by CHP.  The City felt that if the load doesn’t start or end in their city, go somewhere else.  We were talking about less than a ½mile of Lakewood jurisdiction.

We submitted our map for their review which designated the structure heights in both directions which consisted of 83 individual structures that could take you to and from the Port of Long Beach.  We also included just in the Lakewood10 signals and signs that would immediately cause a problem for the loads that we have to travel safely from point A to point without any problems.  We put this information on a 24”x 36” laminated map to make it very clear and not leave any room for questions.  They were very impressed and by the way, requested to keep themap.City staff wasn’t going to let go of their territorial position. Mr. Chambers made a couple great statements after hearing Industry’s position and why t was so necessary that these routes should not be affected

  • Mr. Chambers asked how many loads per month travel through the city per month?   Staff immediately stated there were over 1000 loads last year that traveled through the city.  We had to make sure that everyone was clear that CHP Sgt. Loftin at our last meeting researched this and reported from the loads that CHP escorted amounted to approximately 32 loads last year and took less than 10 minutes travel time at anytime. Mr. Chamber s stated “we’re overly concerned about a nothing issue”?
  • We discussed what dimensions should be allowed for the trial size of the envelope vehicle, it was agreed that loads exceeding 16’ 6” high and loads exceeding 250.000 lbs in weight.  Loads that are less than 16’6” high and less than 250,000 lbs in weight have several other routes available that don’t require the need to take surface streets. Staff wanted to address each load on a case by case basis, which we immediately disagreed.  Mr. Chambers stated that “we shouldn’t be telling Industry how to do their job, they seem to know more than we do about what they do and there haven’t been any incidents”.

This entire problem was the result of a new CHP crew from out of the area had turned on their siren in the middle of the night in an intersection notorious for complaints from one specific resident in an apartment complex. We wanted to make sure we wouldn’t have anymore further issues and that staff accepted CHP’s apology and reason why it had been taken place, and that it could again if they felt a danger from drivers entering an intersection while they were traveling through.   So, I mentioned the siren issue and explained that an isolated incident due to another CHP Division escorting the load through the city from out of the area.  They just weren’t familiar with this particular intersection and the local resident.  We explained that Commander Tommi Tyler along with three other officers attended our last meeting to explain that personally, it seemed that Mr. Chambers wasn’t made aware of this.  Commander Tyler assured staff it wouldn’t happen again, unless there was an emergency of some kind.

We then asked the final question, which wasn’t asked at our first meeting nor was the information divulged.   Does this particular resident call in and complain when an ambulance, a fire truck or police vehicle passes by with their sirens on and the answer was “YES"?  Everyone just looked at each other, and we are here for what reason?  There was no reason staff took this to the extreme.

City of Los Angeles – Transportation Ad-HOC Workgroup Meeting March 18th, 10:00 am.

We have been meeting and working with LA City Public Works, Bureau of Street Services, LAPD Commercial Division, CHP Southern Division and Industry have been meeting and discussing issues that affect the way industry does business and can travel through the city more efficiently.

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

City Hall, Room 361

200 N. Spring Street

Los Angeles, CA 90012

If you have any specific issue that your having that is affecting the way you do business, please let us know, and we can review it and see if there is something that can be done. You are welcome to attend.

City of San Bernardino – Excessive Permit Fees are becoming more creative, just not in compliance with the Vehicle Code.

The City of San Bernardino has gotten very creative over the past year; has stopped issuing Annual Permits and will only issue single trips for nothing more than what appears to be revenue generation.  We are told that the City is charging an additional fee for an Archival Fee, PW/Fax Fee, and a Technology Fee and is charging Industry a permit fee to the project and another permit fee to travel back out of the city.  This additional charge will be the subject of additional meetings.

Reaffirming Our Purpose:

If you have any problems with an agency (city/county/state) and you find yourself asking ‘why are we having to do things this way’ and the agency tells you, ‘this is the way we have always done it’, let us know. We are here to make California transportation operations as smooth, efficient and safe as possible.

Respectfully submitted,

Gregory D. Dineen

Industry Transportation Consultant

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