New measuring guidelines in California could put you overlength

| 11/5/2001

OOIDA member Dan Neece is more than a little ticked at rules now being enforced on California highways. Neece was hauling what he considered a legal load when a CHP officer stopped him in October on Interstate 5 and ticketed him for being an inch overlength.

The officer told Neece, who pulls a 48 x102 stepdeck, the law on how to measure had changed about three months ago. Neece was issued a $100 fix-it ticket. Apparently, officers now measure from the edge of the projection to lens of the taillights area instead of the rear of the trailer. The difference put Neece one inch over the four feet allowed for his load of pipe.

Mike Chaffee, spokesman for the commercial vehicle section of the California Highway Patrol, said he was not aware of any changes, but at Land Line's request, he checked the regs. He substantiated the change to the amendment and agreed a ticket for 1-inch over the allotted 4-feet was "pushing the rules," but within the officer's margin of duty. "It was only a fix-it ticket," Chaffee said.

The code was amended in 2000 to become effective Jan. 1, 2001. Section 24604 of the California Vehicle Code has been amended from the original to read: "Whenever the load upon any vehicle extends, or whenever any integral part of any vehicle, as measured from the tail lamps, there shall be displayed at the extreme end of the load or projecting part of the vehicle during darkness, in addition to the required tail lamp, two red lights with a bulb rated not in excess of six candlepower plainly visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the sides and rear."

How are truckers alerted to changes in rules? Another CHP officer from the commercial vehicle section told Land Line, "Truckers should check at a scalehouse or Port of Entry every month as to whether rules on overweight or overlength loads have changed."
--Donna Carlson, staff writer