[Federal Register: December 22, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 245)]
[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Highway Administration
23 CFR Part 658
Truck Size and Weight; Technical Corrections
AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule; technical corrections.
SUMMARY: This document amends truck size and weight regulations by
changing the definition of automobile transporters to include those
transporting towed vehicles and truck camper units and extending the
Interstate System axle weight exemption for public transit buses to
October 1, 2003, as provided by the Transportation Equity Act for the
21st Century (TEA-21), Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107. Five additional
technical corrections are also being made, to add Alligator Alley (I-
75) to the National Network (NN) listing in Florida; clarify that a
State's grandfathered weight limits for divisible vehicles or loads on
the Interstate System are permanently vested; clarify that the length
of cargo carrying units subject to the freeze in the Intermodal Surface
Transportation Efficiency Act of
1991 (ISTEA), Pub. L. 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914, are measured from the
front of the first unit to the rear of the last; clarify that the
prohibition against an overall length limit on truck tractor-
semitrailers or truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer combinations is not
affected by grandfathered semitrailer lengths or kingpin settings; and
correct the routes available under the ISTEA freeze in Utah for truck-
DATES: The effective date for this rule is December 22, 1998.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Klimek, Office of Motor
Carrier Information Analysis, (202) 366-2212 or Mr. Charles Medalen,
Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-1354, Federal Highway
Administration, Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street SW.,
Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.,
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Internet users can access all comments received by the U.S. DOT
Dockets, Room PL-401, by using the universal resource locator (URL):
http://dms.dot.gov. It is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each
year. Please follow the instructions online for more information and
An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a modem
and suitable communications software from the Government Printing
Office's Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661. Internet
users may reach the Federal Register's home page at: http://
www.nara.gov/fedreg and the Government Printing Office's database at:
Prior to the signing of TEA-21 on June 9, 1998, the definition of
an automobile transporter in 23 CFR 658.5 read as follows:
Any vehicle combination designed and used specifically for the
transport of assembled (capable of being driven) highway vehicles.
Section 4005 of TEA-21 amended 49 U.S.C. 31111(a) by adding a new
paragraph (1) which defined ``automobile transporter'' as follows:
(1) AUTOMOBILE TRANSPORTER.--The term ``automobile transporter''
means any vehicle combination designed and used specifically for the
transport of assembled highway vehicles, including truck camper units.
The deletion of the parenthetical phrase, ``capable of being
driven'' from the definition indicates that the purpose was to include
vehicles that could not be driven, that is, were not self-propelled.
However, they must still be finished vehicles capable of operating on
highways, which means, among other things, equipped with wheels. This
would include trailers designed to be towed by power units at highway
speeds. The one exception to this is a truck camper unit, which the
Conference Report on TEA-21 [H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 105-550, at 488
(1998)] explained as follows:
The conference adopts the Senate provision. The conference notes
that the phrase ``truck camper units'' is defined in the ANSI A119.2/
NFPA 501C standard on recreational vehicles as ``a portable unit
constructed to provide temporary living quarters for recreational,
travel, or camping use, consisting of a roof, floor, and sides,
designed to be loaded onto and unloaded from the bed of a pickup
truck'' (1996 edition).
This describes a wheel-less unit designed to be loaded on the bed
of a pickup truck before it can operate on a highway. Other wheel-less
units would have to meet this same definition in order for the
transporting unit to be considered an automobile transporter.
Vehicles transporting wrecked automobiles or vehicles used solely
to compete in motorsport competition events may not be considered
automobile transporters. Wrecked automobiles are those that are either
not operable, or if operable to some extent, could not operate safely
on the highways. Vehicles used solely to compete in motorsport
competition events are those that could not legally operate on the
highways. In addition, vehicles transporting incomplete vehicles, such
as ``glider kits'' (which basically consist of a chassis), that require
the addition of further components in order to operate on highways may
not be considered automobile transporters.
Public Transit Buses
Section 1212(c) in TEA-21 amended Section 1023(h)(1) of the
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (23 U.S.C. 127
note) by extending the Interstate System axle weight exemption for
public transit buses to October 1, 2003. Provisions in 23 CFR 658.17(k)
are changed accordingly.
The listing for the National Network in Florida in appendix A to 23
CFR 658 contains a ``Note'' reading as follows:
I-75--Alligator Alley/FL 84 (Toll) between Golden Gate and US 27
Andytown is a designated part of the Interstate System but is unsigned
and not available until constructed to current Interstate standards.
The Florida Division Office of the Federal Highway Administration
has verified that Alligator Alley is now complete and has been
constructed to Interstate standards. Appendix A is amended accordingly
by eliminating the ``Note.''
Measurement of Cargo-Carrying Length
Section 4006 of the ISTEA amended section 411 of the Surface
Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA) by adding subsection
(j)(7) [now codified at 49 U.S.C. 31112(a)(1)], reading as follows:
CARGO CARRYING UNIT DEFINED.--As used in this subsection, ``cargo
carrying unit'' means any portion of a commercial motor vehicle
combination (other than the truck tractor) used for the carrying of
cargo, including a trailer, semitrailer, or the cargo carrying section
of a single unit truck.
This definition was carried forward into 23 CFR 658.5. However, its
significance is found in Sec. 411(j)(1) which froze the length of the
cargo carrying units of vehicles with two or more such units to not
more than what was in actual, lawful operation in a State on June 1,
1991 [now 49 U.S.C. 31112(b)]. The current definition has been
interpreted by some to mean that the length of each cargo carrying unit
is to be measured separately and added together to get a total length.
However, Sec. 411(j)(3) [49 U.S.C. 31112(a)(2)] provided as follows:
MEASUREMENT OF LENGTH.--For purposes of this subsection, the length
of the cargo carrying units of a commercial motor vehicle combination
is the length measured from the front of the first cargo carrying unit
to the rear of the last cargo carrying unit.
In order to clarify how the cargo carrying units are to be measured
to determine their allowable length under the ISTEA freeze, the
definition of cargo carrying unit in 23 CFR 658.5 is amended by adding
a sentence at the end specifying that they are to be measured from the
front of the first unit to the rear of the last, including the
hitch(es) between the units.
Grandfathered Semitrailer Lengths
Regulations in 23 CFR 658.13(b)(3) read as follows:
Except as noted in paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) of this section, no
State shall impose an overall length limitation on commercial vehicles
operating in truck tractor-semitrailer or truck tractor-
semitrailer-trailer combinations (emphasis added).
Paragraphs (c) (1) and (2) relate to the requirement that States
must allow the use of grandfathered length semitrailers. The underlined
provision suggests that there is some exception to the prohibition
against an overall length on truck tractor-semitrailer and truck
tractor-semitrailer-trailer combinations depending on the grandfathered
length. It is deleted in order to clarify that the ban on overall
length limits has nothing to do with grandfathered semitrailer lengths.
Grandfathered Weight Limits
Some States have asked whether they would lose their maximum
grandfathered weight limits on the Interstate System by adopting lower
weight limits. No, they would not. Grandfathered weights are vested on
the date specified by Congress and are not affected by subsequent State
action. In order to clarify this, a sentence is added at the end of 23
CFR 658.17(i) reading as follows:
Grandfathered weight limits are vested on the date specified by
Congress and remain available to a State even if it chooses to adopt a
lower weight limit for some period of time.
The maximum cargo carrying length of commercial motor vehicles
under the ISTEA freeze is shown in appendix C to 23 CFR 658. The routes
for truck-trailer-trailer combinations in Utah are shown as ``Same as
the UT-TT2 combination with a cargo-carrying length greater than 85
feet'' (emphasis added). This fails to provide routing information for
truck-trailer-trailer combinations with a cargo-carrying length of less
than 85 feet. Information previously filed by the State shows that the
routing for truck-trailer-trailer combinations is the same in all cases
as for UT-TT2s (truck tractor and 2 trailing units). The text for
``Routes'' is revised to reflect this.
Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
The Administrative Procedure Act allows agencies engaged in
rulemaking to dispense with prior notice to the public when the agency
for good reason finds that such procedure is impracticable,
unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. 5 U.S.C. 553(b). The
FHWA has determined that providing prior notice on this action is
unnecessary because it merely amends regulations to incorporate
statutory requirements and makes several technical corrections to 23
CFR part 658. This document also contains several interpretations and
general statements of policy that are not subject to notice and comment
under the Administrative Procedure Act. For the reasons set forth here,
the FHWA has determined that it has good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3)
to make the rule effective upon publication in the Federal Register.
Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT
Regulatory Policies and Procedures
The FHWA has determined that this action is not a significant
regulatory action within the meaning of E.O. 12866 nor is it considered
significant within the meaning of the U.S. Department of Transportation
regulatory policies and procedures. The changes reflect statutory
requirements and make several technical corrections. It is anticipated
that the economic impact of this rulemaking will be minimal. Therefore,
a full regulatory evaluation is not required.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-
612), the FHWA has evaluated the effects of this rule on small
entities. Most of these rules simply preserve the status quo. Many of
the changes benefit truckers, albeit without significant economic
consequences, by removing restrictions on their operations or
correcting errors that could have led them to inadvertently violate
Federal standards. For these reasons, the FHWA hereby certifies that
this action will not have a significant economic impact on a
substantial number of small entities.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
This rule does not impose unfunded mandates as defined by the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4). This rulemaking
relates to the Federal-aid Highway Program which is a financial
assistance program in which State, local, or tribal governments have
authority to adjust their program in accordance with changes made in
the program by the Federal government, and thus is excluded from the
definition of Federal mandate under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of
Executive Order 12612 (Federalism Assessment)
This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and it has been determined
that this proceeding does not have sufficient federalism implications
to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. The statutes
underlying this rule--primarily the ISTEA and TEA-21--specify the
Department's role. None of the changes preempts any significant State
activity or authority.
Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)
The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding
intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities do
not apply to this program.
Paperwork Reduction Act
This action does not add or expand a collection of information
requirement for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44
National Environmental Policy Act
The agency has analyzed this action for the purpose of the National
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and has
determined that this action would not have any effect on the quality of
Regulation Identification Number
A regulation identification Number (RIN) is assigned to each
regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations.
The regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda
in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of
this document can be used to cross reference this action with the
List of Subjects in 23 CFR Part 658
Grants programs--transportation, Highways and roads, Motor
carrier--size and weight.
Issued on: December 10, 1998.
Kenneth R. Wykle,
Federal Highway Administrator.
In consideration of the foregoing, the FHWA amends 23 CFR part 658,
as set forth below:
PART 658--TRUCK SIZE AND WEIGHT, ROUTE DESIGNATIONS-- LENGTH, WIDTH
AND WEIGHT LIMITATIONS
1. The authority citation for 23 CFR part 658 is revised to read as
Authority: 23 U.S.C. 127 and 315; 49 U.S.C. 31111-31114; 49 CFR
2. In Sec. 658.5, the definitions of ``Automobile Transporters''
and ``Cargo-carrying unit'' are revised to read as follows:
Sec. 658.5 Definitions.
Automobile transporters. Any vehicle combination designed and used
specifically for the transport of
assembled highway vehicles, including truck camper units.
* * * * *
Cargo-carrying unit. As used in this part, cargo-carrying unit
means any portion of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) combination
(other than a truck tractor) used for the carrying of cargo, including
a trailer, semitrailer, or the cargo-carrying section of a single-unit
truck. The length of the cargo carrying units of a CMV with two or more
such units is measured from the front of the first unit to the rear of
the last [including the hitch(es) between the units].
* * * * *
3. In Sec. 658.13, paragraph (b)(3) is revised to read as follows:
Sec. 658.13 Length.
* * * * *
(b) * * *
(3) No State shall impose an overall length limitation on
commercial vehicles operating in truck tractor-semitrailer or truck
* * * * *
4. In Sec. 658.17, paragraphs (i) and (k) are revised to read as
Sec. 658.17 Weight.
* * * * *
(i) The provisions of paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of this section
shall not apply to single-, or tandem-axle weights, or gross weights
legally authorized under State law on July 1, 1956. The group of axles
requirement established in this section shall not apply to vehicles
legally grandfathered under State groups of axles tables or formulas on
January 4, 1975. Grandfathered weight limits are vested on the date
specified by Congress and remain available to a State even if it
chooses to adopt a lower weight limit for a time.
* * * * *
(k) Any vehicle which is regularly and exclusively used as an
intrastate public agency transit passenger bus is excluded from the
axle weight limits in paragraphs (c) through (e) of this section until
October 1, 2003.
* * * * *
Appendix A to Part 658 [Amended]
5. Appendix A to part 658 is amended for the State of Florida by
removing the note at the end of the listing for that State.
Appenix C to Part 658 [Amended]
6. Appendix C to part 658 is amended in the listing for the State
of Utah for the combination ``Truck-trailer-trailer'' under the heading
of ``ROUTES'' by removing the phrase, ``combination with a cargo
carrying length greater than 85 feet.''
[FR Doc. 98-33760 Filed 12-21-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P