Pursuing a CA CDL

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding the building and creation of mutant vehicles in Black Rock City
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sparr
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by sparr » Thu May 31, 2018 11:26 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:Some DOT cops are real assholes.
An RV title avoids all that.
Not engaging in interstate commerce also "avoids all that". That's a much more viable route for most art car folks, I think.
If you want to make a reply about my personality instead of about what this thread is about, don't clutter this thread, post over here instead.

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu May 31, 2018 6:26 pm

NONE of my dealings with the DOT were while engaging in interstate commerce.
The only “interstate commerce” I ever do is hauling show horses to SoCal and back.

Do you think you don’t have to stop at all open scales and be subject to random full inspection in an over-26000 vehicle just because you’re not engaging in interstate commerce?

That is incorrect sir.

You’ve got a long way to go before you’re qualified to teach everyone else about this.

I wouldn’t even be wasting this time, but I don’t want anyone reading this to take your advice and get themselves into trouble.

Seriously, an RV title is the best thing. No log books, no hours of service rules, no current medical certificate, no random inspections in which they WILL find violations of some kind, no DUI at only .04 even in your regular personal vehicle instead of .08, no lots of stuff.
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by sparr » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:08 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:Do you think you don’t have to stop at all open scales and be subject to random full inspection in an over-26000 vehicle just because you’re not engaging in interstate commerce?
Stopping at scales, sure. I have to do that in my box truck, even, according to the entry signs at most weigh stations. Whether those signs accurately reflect the law? I'm not sure, and don't care, since I actually like knowing how much my vehicle and load weigh and highway scales are the only place to get that for free.

Subject to random full inspection? Sure, they can do one if they want. It would be annoying, and probably unconstitutional, but I'm not gonna argue with them much just to save an hour.

Where you lose me is at the "cracked frame crossmember" ticket. That's for commercial motor vehicles only, which you aren't if you are not engaged in interstate commerce. They can write a ticket for whatever they want, but that doesn't make it legitimate. I'm happy to deal with that in court, not with the cop writing me yet another bogus ticket.
If you want to make a reply about my personality instead of about what this thread is about, don't clutter this thread, post over here instead.

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by gbus » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:14 pm

No idea what most of the words on here mean, but im enjoying this thread none the less.

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Sham » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:16 pm

gbus wrote:No idea what most of the words on here mean, but im enjoying this thread none the less.
Yes, words are fun. Here on eplaya we have the funnest words. 8)

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by gbus » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:18 pm

Sham wrote:
gbus wrote:No idea what most of the words on here mean, but im enjoying this thread none the less.
Yes, words are fun. Here on eplaya we have the funnest words. 8)
My word of the week is 'feckless'... rolls off the tongue

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:55 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:NONE of my dealings with the DOT were while engaging in interstate commerce
Where I lose you is right at “hello”.

“Unconstitutional”? No, it’s the law. Once you step into CDL-class vehicles, there’s no such thing as probable cause required for a stop and/or full thorough inspection.
There are so many things that can be found and ticketed you have no idea about.
They can do a leakdown test and find out how long your brake system holds air... they can check all sorts of legitimate things that you won’t beat in court just because you’re ignorant of the law - which you definitely are.

I can see it now, some day you’ll be in the hospital for brain surgery (or installation) and you’ll be telling the team of specialists how to do it.
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by sparr » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:39 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:“Unconstitutional”? No, it’s the law. Once you step into CDL-class vehicles, there’s no such thing as probable cause required for a stop and/or full thorough inspection.
It really sounds like you're conflating laws about commercial motor vehicles with laws about vehicles that require a CDL to drive.
Captain Goddammit wrote:...things that you won’t beat in court just because you’re ignorant of the law - which you definitely are.
I would love some links or citations to the laws you think I'm ignorant of. I'm doing my best to look for them, and it feels like I've found at least most, if not all, of the relevant ones. But if there's a law that makes my vehicle subject to a cracked frame crossmember citation despite not engaging in interstate commerce, I haven't found it.

It seems like you're suggesting a ticket for violation of 49 CFR 393.201 (a), but if you click the link there for the relevant definition of "commercial motor vehicle" you'll see that it's limited to vehicles engaged in interstate commerce, not all vehicles that require a CDL to drive.
If you want to make a reply about my personality instead of about what this thread is about, don't clutter this thread, post over here instead.

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Canoe » Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:56 am

sparr wrote:
Ratty wrote:... your transportation page is set up just like Burner Express Bus. Can't have it both ways. Transport paying customers, (even if they are on couches with no seat belts and in hammocks ), and that makes your vehicle a commercial bus.
Sparr wrote:PS: I actually do plan to carry paying passengers occasionally, and I know FMCSA will apply when I do. ...
Despite having already addressed your point, I'll also add that I have since sought legal advice on the subject. I am led to believe that the confluence of a few factors will make this use not qualify as interstate commerce. In particular, the trip being one I am already taking in my personal vehicle, and operating at a loss, both of which are more indicative of carpooling than of commercial transport operation. We may take the extra precaution of having the passengers give their money directly to the fuel station / auto parts store.
Thoughts:
  • if registered as a personal vehicle, you're counting on the DOT officer not deciding that paying customers means it is mis-registered?
  • we all know that starting businesses never operate at a loss to start - NOT
  • operate like a business, look like a business, deemed a business? Even having an agent collect the money...
  • if a DOT officer makes a determination at a station or the side of the road and they pull your plates or you otherwise have to cease operation immediately, what is the appeal turnaround time to have your interpretation heard, accepted and the DOT officer's overturned? 30 days? 90 days? a year?
  • advertising a fee to transport a large group of people you don't know to BRC - will the BLM or the Org regard you as a vendor or service provider? Permits, pre-approval, rejected, fined, not allowed in?
  • like all personal vehicles, one person without valid ticketing and vehicle with everyone who came in it has to leave to take them back to civilization (and not just dropped at Gerlach)? Vehicle banned from the event? Tickets confiscated?
  • doesn't every occupied RV seat require a DOT approved seat belt?
  • and rules regarding modified, DIY or non-original equipment seats needing DOT approval?
  • at what point does failing a rule or regulation with regard to registration or operation invalidate insurance?
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:15 am

How many times must I repeat myself, NONE of my many, many interactions with the DOT over many years have been while engaged in interstate commerce?
That may be what websites refer to but its got little to do with what the DOT does in real life.

The DOT has recently been cracking down on things like pickups with flatbed trailers and medium-sized rigs that have traditionally been ignored.
Around here they’ve been cracking down on privately owned school busses that haven’t had all the forward-facing red lights and other special equipment removed. I know an articulated isn’t a school bus but who knows what they’ll start checking.

The laws I believe you’re ignorant of are about all the detailed mechanical things the DOT can find when they go over a vehicle with a fine tooth comb. They always find something.

I don’t think you’ll have any trouble with paying passengers from the Burning Man people, they seem to want everyone to ride in on a bus.
I don’t think a few riders on the way to Burning Man will make you a commercial bus.

Chances are good you’ll never be looked at in a bus. The only reason I’d caution anyone considering a 60-foot “artic” is that sometimes California posts signs requiring busses to come through the scales and get checked out on weekends.
The focus is the casino charter busses, but most burner busses have “There are countless violations on this vehicle” written all over them.

If you were in the usual 40-footer you’d more likely never be looked at.
In a 60+ footer, you might.

If you are registered and titled as an RV, you’re exempt from everything.
Hell I think they even encourage drunk driving by people in heavy RVs.
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by sparr » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:39 pm

Canoe wrote:if registered as a personal vehicle, you're counting on the DOT officer not deciding that paying customers means it is mis-registered?
I'm having trouble finding information on what that interaction with the DOT officer will look like. I'm sure they can make my life hell if they want to. If they decide it's misregistered, what happens? I expect that they write me a ticket, and then I have to deal with that in court a few months later.
Canoe wrote:we all know that starting businesses never operate at a loss to start - NOT
This isn't my first year bringing people to Burning Man in the bus I'm camping in. How long does it need to go on for you to believe profit isn't the goal?
Canoe wrote:operate like a business, look like a business, deemed a business? Even having an agent collect the money...
Are you picking on us for using eventbrite? Would it look better to you if I went back to just having people hand me cash or send to me with venmo like I did last time? Or do you think it would look better to the org if I just had passengers hand cash directly to the fuel station when we fill up?
Canoe wrote:if a DOT officer makes a determination at a station or the side of the road and they pull your plates or you otherwise have to cease operation immediately, what is the appeal turnaround time to have your interpretation heard, accepted and the DOT officer's overturned? 30 days? 90 days? a year?
Can you elaborate on "pull your plates or you otherwise have to cease operation immediately"? I'm unfamiliar with that potential outcome. Off the top of my head, I think we go with a variation of our existing contingencies. Bring in two other vehicles that don't require a CDL to drive to get people/stuff to the burn, and then stick a CA DMV One Trip Permit on the 60ft bus to get it to the burn unladen.
Canoe wrote:advertising a fee to transport a large group of people you don't know to BRC - will the BLM or the Org regard you as a vendor or service provider? Permits, pre-approval, rejected, fined, not allowed in?
Seems unlikely to me. Plenty of other listings on the official rideshare boards offering even more seats than us, and I'll be bringing about as many people this year as I did in 2016 with no problems.
Canoe wrote:like all personal vehicles, one person without valid ticketing and vehicle with everyone who came in it has to leave to take them back to civilization (and not just dropped at Gerlach)? Vehicle banned from the event? Tickets confiscated?
Folks on this forum alternate between warning me about this and making fun of me or insulting me for worrying about it. I'll be checking people's physical tickets as they board, and checking them against the revoked ticket list.
Canoe wrote:doesn't every occupied RV seat require a DOT approved seat belt?
There are a few relevant regulations, some covering which seats must have seat belts, some covering which passengers must be wearing them. This is also one of the reasons we want to avoid registering as a RV; the laws in question are much more lenient for a bus manufactured and approved by the DOT at manufacture time.
Canoe wrote:and rules regarding modified, DIY or non-original equipment seats needing DOT approval?
We are avoiding putting in non-original seats. The laws are a lot more lenient about beds than about seats. Green Tortoise Adventure Travel inspired me here.
Canoe wrote:at what point does failing a rule or regulation with regard to registration or operation invalidate insurance?
At almost every such point, hence my quest to dot ever t and cross every i, and make sure other big vehicle owners are equipped to do the same.
If you want to make a reply about my personality instead of about what this thread is about, don't clutter this thread, post over here instead.

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by sparr » Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:00 am

To anyone who has come to this thread looking for info about the original topic, I am sorry. This is generally how things go any time I ask questions on this forum; people insist on digging down into all the details and arguing about what I'm doing, rather than answering the questions I ask. If you want advice on acquiring a CDL in CA for similar purposes, I strongly recommend you start a new thread.
If you want to make a reply about my personality instead of about what this thread is about, don't clutter this thread, post over here instead.

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Sham » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:03 am

sparr wrote:To anyone who has come to this thread looking for info about the original topic, I am sorry. This is generally how things go any time I ask questions on this forum; people insist on digging down into all the details and arguing about what I'm doing, rather than answering the questions I ask. If you want advice on acquiring a CDL in CA for similar purposes, I strongly recommend you start a new thread.
It appears to me that people who are familiar with the DOT and the subjects you are asking about are actually giving you very good "real world" answers. They don't profess to be experts, but rather have solid experience with large commercial-type vehicles. You asked questions and got clear, concise and civil answers that you don't seem to like. None the less, they are real and practical responses.

Please don't shoot the messengers who stepped up to your requests for information. It's admirable that you have great ideas and actually step up to make them come to reality. Not everyone can do that. Part of that process for you in particular, is to ask pertinent questions and sort the advice from knowledgeable people. If you ask, you should consider the advice as opposed to picking every point to fit your needs.

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by ygmir » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:39 am

Sparr:
you might also consider, folks from several different departments, at times, read Eplaya.
YGMIR

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:23 pm

OK, want practical advice?
When traveling, make those busses look as clean and nice as you can, with zero burner or hippy commune clues on them.

Try to get RV registration. That requires things like cooking and bathroom facilities installed, but exempts you from a whole lot of rules and shit.

Keep the UV rays off the tires. You’re probably gonna age them out before you wear them out. They can and will blow out. Those things are expensive and often cause body damage when they blow.
Make sure to check the pressure and hit ‘em with a hammer at every stop to make sure one rear dual hasn’t gone flat.

I’ve had all this happen while hauling horses.

If you get checked out by a DOT officer, be as friendly and nice as you can. Getting along with him or annoying him can be the difference between big ticket or small ticket or just-a-warning.
Beware, they can do more than write a ticket, they can declare you “Out Of Seevice” and you don’t move until things are resolved or you have the rig towed.

Learn to inspect and adjust the brakes.
The DOT knows how... learn what “camming them over” is... learn about automatic slack adjusters and the fact that they don’t always work right.

That CDL means you only get .04 even in your personal car, so if you get a CDL remember to be ultra-militant with yourself about ever having a beer or two then driving.

You’ll need a tractor-trailer rig to take your driver test in if you want a Class A license, but you can drive your bus, even an articulated one, with a Class B. Get the Passenger endorsement. A Class A would be nice if you ever pull a trailer behind a bus.

Don’t take the DOT lightly. Those guys can shut you down and fine you into bankruptcy. Some are ex drivers who are usually pretty nice and understanding. Some are power freak cop types who see the public as The Enemy.
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by sparr » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:04 pm

Sham wrote:
sparr wrote:This is generally how things go any time I ask questions on this forum; people insist on digging down into all the details and arguing about what I'm doing, rather than answering the questions I ask.
It appears to me that people who are familiar with the DOT and the subjects you are asking about are actually giving you very good "real world" answers. [...] You asked questions and got clear, concise and civil answers that you don't seem to like. None the less, they are real and practical responses. [...] Please don't shoot the messengers who stepped up to your requests for information.
It really bothers me that you, as a moderator, see it that way. Please scroll back up to the top of this thread and re-read my original post and the question I asked, then reassess how much of the ensuing conversation is in any way relevant to the question I asked. At this point, 90% of the thread has been people arguing over what I want to use a CDL to do, which is entirely orthogonal to my original question about how to get a CDL, with minor exception for the little bit of class A vs B commentary.

It is that which I commented to warn future thread readers about. If they want to know the answer to the question I asked at the top of the thread, they will need to start a new thread, and have little hope of finding an answer in this thread if they read further. I'm trying to save them some time.
If you want to make a reply about my personality instead of about what this thread is about, don't clutter this thread, post over here instead.

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:45 am

The thing is, I know you haven’t got the budget to maintain a heavy bus in proper driving condition. I don’t have a bus because of what it takes to keep a heavy rig in proper shape.

The main reason it’s wise to only buy busses directly from municipalities or school districts is because almost no private owners maintain them properly.
The tires get old, the brakes get old, a million air system parts get old, etc.

Do you even know what shape your brakes are in and if they’re adjusted right?

Those questions are none of my business... unless you’re behind me coming down a hill and those brakes I bet you haven’t taken care of fail or you’re coming at me on a two-lane and one of those old front tires blows out.

Its fine to park an old bus and live in it but driving it around is different.
The reason they’re cheap is the same as why originally-expensive luxury cars are available super cheap. The maintenance is way too expensive.
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by AntiM » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:06 am

There's a reason MyLarry is a company driver, not an owner-op. The costs of owning, insuring, maintaining, and fueling a rig are staggering.

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Canoe » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:11 pm

sparr wrote:I'm having trouble finding information on what that interaction with the DOT officer will look like. I'm sure they can make my life hell if they want to. If they decide it's misregistered, what happens? I expect that they write me a ticket, and then I have to deal with that in court a few months later.
Can you elaborate on "pull your plates or you otherwise have to cease operation immediately"? I'm unfamiliar with that potential outcome.
It's pretty clear. Officer determines you can't drive it away. It gets towed.
sparr wrote:How long does it need to go on for you to believe profit isn't the goal?
Not me you have to convince. It's the officer at the side of the road or at the scale.
What things line up to make them believe it's a business trying to appear to not be a business.

Captain and others with direct relevant experience have provided you with a lot of good info. Spend time understanding it instead of arguing why you don't believe it.
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by chucked » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:05 pm

im cheering for you sparr!
are you going to mutate this bus and have it out on playa? daytime ? nighttime both?
whats the theme?

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by sparr » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:35 am

Re the bus, no mutation this year, just turning it into something like an RV to build a small camp around. https://www.facebook.com/groups/buspatchbrc

Re the CDL, I took the written tests (six of them!) already, but am postponing medical exam and drive test until after BM.
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:12 am

After the CDL, get ready for California emissions compliance for diesel powered vehicles.
The truck I haul horses to Ca and back in is being replaced with a new one because of this, at great cost.
https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel ... RegSum.pdf

Or hope Trump does one good thing and eliminates this.
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Token » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:58 am

That is hilarious!

Chevy had the same LMM Duramax in the 2008-2010 trucks but the 2010 is compliant and the 2008 is not!

Love California!

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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by sparr » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:32 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:12 am
After the CDL, get ready for California emissions compliance for diesel powered vehicles.
The truck I haul horses to Ca and back in is being replaced with a new one because of this, at great cost.
https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel ... RegSum.pdf
Thankfully, "motor homes for non-commercial private use" are exempt from that requirement. 17 CCR §2025 (c) (10)
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Re: Pursuing a CA CDL

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:17 pm

It’s only a motorhome if it has an RV title, in which case it would also be CDL-exempt.
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