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Office of Maintenance / Motor Carrier Size and Weight / MCSAW Questions and Answers

MCSAW Questions and Answers

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Questions and Answers concerning Motor Carriers

MCSAW Questions?

The following are common questions from the motoring public about Florida's Motor Carrier operations along with associated answers to these questions.

  • 1. Are rental trucks required to enter weigh stations (i.e. moving trucks)? What if I'm pulling a rental trailer with my personal vehicle?

    All Trucks Enter Weigh Station Sign ImageA. Yes, all trucks traveling along state maintained highways are expected to stop at every Weigh Station and Agricultural Inspection Station along the way to their destination. If you're pulling a rental trailer with your personal vehicle, the combined weight of your personal vehicle and the commercial rental trailer can not exceed 10,000lbs, if so, you would be expected to enter the scale facilities in Florida.

    This is the only way we can ensure our roads are not being damaged. Nine times out of ten, travelers won't even have to stop once they enter the facility and if they do it typically last less than a few minutes.

  • 2. Where can I find employment information about working at a weigh station?

    A. Vacancies with the Department, such as a Weigh Station Inspector, can be found through the State of Florida’s People First employment system. You can search by location/occupation and the salary is disclosed in most cases: https://peoplefirst.myflorida.com/

  • 3. I am a state employee, I will be traveling around the state in a state owned international truck, with a state tag picking up records from offices that are closing, Am I required to stop at every Weigh Station?

    A. Yes.

  • 4. Are Weigh Stations open on the weekend?

    A. Yes, they’re open 24/7.

  • 5. I am a common carrier of household goods and other items. I sometimes travel over state lines. Between my vehicle and my trailer (fully loaded) I never exceed 10,000lbs. Do I still require a Motor Carrier Number?

    A. The Florida Highway Patrol issues and enforces Motor Carrier numbers in Florida. Here is the link to their website: http://www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/CVE/. They can also be reached via phone at: (850) 617-2284 or via email: fhp@flhsmv.gov.

  • 6. Regarding tandem recreational towing; I have a crew cab pick-up truck and a 21.5 ft travel trailer. I would like to tow my golf cart behind the travel trailer on a small utility trailer. I would like to know the maximum vehicle length also.

    A. Florida State Statute 316.515 (3) covers the number of trailers and length of trailers allowed in Florida. This section allows commercial vehicles to have two trailing units but non-commercial units can have only one trailing unit. Your pickup truck pulling your travel trailer AND golf cart trailer would be illegal:

    (3) LENGTH LIMITATION.-Except as otherwise provided in this section, length limitations apply solely to a semitrailer or trailer, and not to a truck tractor or to the overall length of a combination of vehicles. No combination of commercial motor vehicles coupled together and operating on the public roads may consist of more than one truck tractor and two trailing units. Unless otherwise specifically provided for in this section, a combination of vehicles not qualifying as commercial motor vehicles may consist of no more than two units coupled together; such non-qualifying combination of vehicles may not exceed a total length of 65 feet, inclusive of the load carried thereon, but exclusive of safety and energy conservation devices approved by the department for use on vehicles using public roads.

  • 7. Are there pay phones at the comfort/inspection barns or in the weigh stations?

    A. We have pay phones at some locations and others we do not. With the popularity of cell phones, payphones are being phased out. The local phone company provides the phones, required maintainenance and receive all the profits generated. The phone companies will not support any pay phone that does not have a monthly average intake of at least $35.00 unless the phone is mandated by law, State Fire Marshall or building code.

  • 8. Where can I obtain an oversize permit? What are the rules for overweight and overdimensional permits?

    A. The Permit Office in Tallahassee, with the assistance of the Office of Maintenance, is responsible for overweight and over-dimensional permits. Please contact: Florida Permit Office – (850) 410-5777 or visit their website: http://www.fdotmaint.com/permit/

  • 9. Where can I find information about transporting hazardous materials?

    A. You may contact the Florida Highway Patrol: http://www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/CVE/. They can also be reached via phone at: (850) 617-2284 or via email: fhp@flhsmv.gov. You can also contact the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA): http://phmsa.dot.gov/home for information on transporting hazardous material.

  • 10. How do I pay a citation that I received at the weigh station? May a weight citation be protested before making payment?

    A. Visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website: https://www.fhpcvepayments.com/login.asp and enter your Citation Number and/or USDOT Number. No, except for compliance reviews, all citations must be paid before the Commercial Motor Vehicle Review Board will hear a protest.

  • 11. Where can I find information on Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDL) requirements?

    A. Visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website: http://www.flhsmv.gov/.

  • 12. What is the legal height in Florida?

    A. Please refer to Florida State Statute 316.515: http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/316.515 for the height requirements.

  • 13. Where can I find information on escort training in Florida? Does an escort driver with a class E license that had a defensive driving class years ago have to attend another defensive driving class? What is the penalty for an escort vehicle not having a valid registration?

    A. Escort Training information can be found at the following website: Florida Transportation Technology Transfer Center. No, the National Safety Council defensive driving course is only required to be taken one time. Along with the class E license and the defensive driving class, escort drivers must attend an eight hour pilot/escort flagging course and be re-qualified every four years by completing a four hour refresher course. The penalty issued to the carrier would be $100.00, not $250.00 for a disqualified or missing escort. The escort would have to be registered or another escort would be needed before the vehicle could continue.

  • 14. How do I obtain an IRP/Fuel Trip Permit? Can IRP and IFTA permits be purchased at the state-line weigh stations?

    A. To obtain an IRP/Fuel Trip Permit please call: 1-800-749-6058. No, IRP and IFTA permits must be purchased before entering the state, Florida is not a port-of-entry state.

  • 15. How many trailers may a straight truck tow?

    A. According to Florida State Statute 316.515(3) (a), unless it is for agriculture, “a straight truck may tow no more than one trailer.”

  • 16. To be allowed a 53 foot trailer, how is the king pin measurement measured on a trailer with a split rear axle?

    A. Florida State Statute 316.515(3) (b) 2a states “the distance between the kingpin or other peg that locks into the fifth wheel of a truck tractor and the center of the rear axle or rear group of axles does not exceed 41 feet.” Since there is not a definition of “rear group of axles” the definition of “tandem axle” in Florida State Statute 316.003(81) is used, which states “any two axles whose centers are more than 40 inches but not more than 96 inches apart and are individually attached to or articulated from, or both, a common attachment to the vehicle, including a connecting mechanism designed to equalize the load between axles.” If the split axles are more than 96 inches apart and there is no connecting mechanism, then this is not a rear group but two single axles, therefore the measurement would be taken from the kingpin to the center of the rear axle.

  • 17. What is a 10% permit? Can a tire sized vehicle use a divisible load permit (10% permit)? Is the over-width portion of a 10% permit valid on the interstate if the vehicle is not overweight?

    A. Divisible load permits, (10% permit) are allowed for commercial vehicles that do not exceed the statutory weight limits plus 10%. These permits are only valid off the interstate highway system and on designed routes. No, Florida State Statute 316.550(4) authorizes the permit for vehicle not exceeding the limits of Florida State Statute 316.535(5), tire size vehicles are described in Florida State Statute 316.535(6). No, according to the DOT Permits Office, 10% permits are not valid on the interstate.

  • 18. Is a single unit flatbed truck hauling sand with a bed that dumps considered a tire size vehicle? What about a single unit truck transporting sludge in a tank, is this a tire size vehicle? Is a single unit flatbed transporting disable vehicles (roll-off) considered a tire size vehicle?

    A. Yes, a good rule of thumb is, if raising the bed is the means of offloading the load being carried, then it would be considered a dump truck (tire size vehicle). Yes, if the commodity being transported is considered waste, then it would fall under Florida State Statute 316.535(6). No, this vehicle would be a table 1 or a table 2 which ever allows the most weight. The raising of the bed allows for the vehicles to be winched on and off not to be dumped.

  • 19. Does the utility length exception apply to a utility company straight truck-trailer combination transporting a pole?

    A. Yes, Florida State Statute 316.515(7) does not limit the type of vehicle used.

  • 20. What is the width limit of an agriculture trailer hauling agriculture products?

    A. There is no width limit for these vehicles as long as they are moving during daytime hours, not on the interstate and not over 50 miles from property owned or leased by the equipment owner. There are some safety requirements such as lights and signs.

  • 21. Can a 57 foot cattle trailer being operated in a truck tractor semitrailer combination be issued an over length permit?

    A. Yes, the permit office may issue a 57 foot 6 inch permit for semitrailers without overhang.

  • 22. Is a non-stinger steered truck tractor semi-trailer automobile carrier without a load carrying structure on the tractor limited to a 50 foot trailer?

    A. No, like a truck tractor semi-trailer combinations the trailer may be 53 feet inclusive of the load if the king pin setting is 41 feet or less AND has rear under-ride protection. If the combination is transporting vehicles it would also fall under the exception and the 50 foot limitation may also apply.

  • 23. How much overhang may a 40 foot straight truck have transporting a non-divisible load?

    A. According to Florida State Statute 316.515(7) (e) “when operating in the daytime, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, when the load does not extend past the rearmost part of the vehicle more than one-half the length of the permanent bed or cargo-carrying structure, when the load complies with subsection (4) (which gives 3 feet overhang on the front) and when proper flags are displayed…” If the cargo-carrying structure is the total length of the truck the non-divisible load may extend 20 feet past the rear and 3 feet over the front past the bumper for a total length of 63 feet.

  • 24. If the axle spacing required on a permit is not met, is the permit voided?

    A. Yes, even though the null and void criteria of 14-26 does not specifically cite this, it is considered the same as not having the required number of axles and therefore the permit would be voided for weight only.

  • 25. What is the maximum length of a trailer in a truck-trailer combination?

    A. There is no maximum length for the trailer, the combination cannot exceed 68 feet. Therefore, if the truck is 18 feet, the trailer could be 50 feet.

  • 26. Would the distance of the king pin from the rear axles apply to question #25 since the trailer is over 48 feet?

    A. No, the king pin measurement only applies to semi-trailers in a truck tractor semi-trailer combination.

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