TITLE 49 - US CODE - SUBCHAPTER II - LENGTH AND WIDTH LIMITATIONS

49 USC 31111 - Length limitations

(a) Definitions.— 
In this section, the following definitions apply:
(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.
(2) Maxi-cube vehicle.— 
The term maxi-cube vehicle means a truck tractor combined with a semitrailer and a separable property-carrying unit designed to be loaded and unloaded through the semitrailer, with the length of the separable property-carrying unit being not more than 34 feet and the length of the vehicle combination being not more than 65 feet.
(3) Truck tractor.— 
The term truck tractor means

Advertisement
view counter
(A) a non-property-carrying power unit that operates in combination with a semitrailer or trailer; or
(B) a power unit that carries as property only motor vehicles when operating in combination with a semitrailer in transporting motor vehicles.
(4) Drive-away saddlemount with fullmount vehicle transporter combination.— 
The term drive-away saddlemount with fullmount vehicle transporter combination means a vehicle combination designed and specifically used to tow up to 3 trucks or truck tractors, each connected by a saddle to the frame or fifth-wheel of the forward vehicle of the truck or truck tractor in front of it.
(b) General Limitations.— 

(1) Except as provided in this section, a State may not prescribe or enforce a regulation of commerce that
(A) imposes a vehicle length limitation of less than 45 feet on a bus, of less than 48 feet on a semitrailer operating in a truck tractor-semitrailer combination, or of less than 28 feet on a semitrailer or trailer operating in a truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer combination, on any segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways (except a segment exempted under subsection (f) of this section) and those classes of qualifying Federal-aid Primary System highways designated by the Secretary of Transportation under subsection (e) of this section;
(B) imposes an overall length limitation on a commercial motor vehicle operating in a truck tractor-semitrailer or truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer combination;
(C) has the effect of prohibiting the use of a semitrailer or trailer of the same dimensions as those that were in actual and lawful use in that State on December 1, 1982;
(D) imposes a vehicle length limitation of not less than or more than 97 feet on a driveaway saddlemount with fullmount vehicle transporter combinations;
(E) has the effect of prohibiting the use of an existing semitrailer or trailer, of not more than 28.5 feet in length, in a truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer combination if the semitrailer or trailer was operating lawfully on December 1, 1982, within a 65-foot overall length limit in any State; or

Advertisement
view counter
(F) imposes a limitation of less than 46 feet on the distance from the kingpin to the center of the rear axle on trailers used exclusively or primarily in connection with motorsports competition events.
(2) A length limitation prescribed or enforced by a State under paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection applies only to a semitrailer or trailer and not to a truck tractor.
(c) Maxi-Cube and Vehicle Combination Limitations.— 
A State may not prohibit a maxi-cube vehicle or a commercial motor vehicle combination consisting of a truck tractor and 2 trailing units on any segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways (except a segment exempted under subsection (f) of this section) and those classes of qualifying Federal-aid Primary System highways designated by the Secretary under subsection (e) of this section.
(d) Exclusion of Safety and Energy Conservation Devices.— 
Length calculated under this section does not include a safety or energy conservation device the Secretary decides is necessary for safe and efficient operation of a commercial motor vehicle. However, such a device may not have by its design or use the ability to carry cargo.
(e) Qualifying Highways.— 
The Secretary by regulation shall designate as qualifying Federal-aid Primary System highways those highways of the Federal-aid Primary System in existence on June 1, 1991, that can accommodate safely the applicable vehicle lengths provided in this section.
(f) Exemptions.— 

(1) If the chief executive officer of a State, after consulting under paragraph (2) of this subsection, decides a segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways is not capable of safely accommodating a commercial motor vehicle having a length described in subsection (b)(1)(A) of this section or the motor vehicle combination described in subsection (c) of this section, the chief executive officer may notify the Secretary of that decision and request the Secretary to exempt that segment from either or both provisions.
(2) Before making a decision under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the chief executive officer shall consult with units of local government in the State in which the segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways is located and with the chief executive officer of any adjacent State that may be directly affected by the exemption. As part of the consultations, consideration shall be given to any potential alternative route that serves the area in which the segment is located and can safely accommodate a commercial motor vehicle having a length described in subsection (b)(1)(A) of this section or the motor vehicle combination described in subsection (c) of this section.
(3) A chief executive officers notification under this subsection must include specific evidence of safety problems supporting the officers decision and the results of consultations about alternative routes.
(4) 
(A) If the Secretary decides, on request of a chief executive officer or on the Secretarys own initiative, a segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways is not capable of safely accommodating a commercial motor vehicle having a length described in subsection (b)(1)(A) of this section or the motor vehicle combination described in subsection (c) of this section, the Secretary shall exempt the segment from either or both of those provisions. Before making a decision under this paragraph, the Secretary shall consider any possible alternative route that serves the area in which the segment is located.
(B) The Secretary shall make a decision about a specific segment not later than 120 days after the date of receipt of notification from a chief executive officer under paragraph (1) of this subsection or the date on which the Secretary initiates action under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, whichever is applicable. If the Secretary finds the decision will not be made in time, the Secretary immediately shall notify Congress, giving the reasons for the delay, information about the resources assigned, and the projected date for the decision.
(C) Before making a decision, the Secretary shall give an interested person notice and an opportunity for comment. If the Secretary exempts a segment under this subsection before the final regulations under subsection (e) of this section are prescribed, the Secretary shall include the exemption as part of the final regulations. If the Secretary exempts the segment after the final regulations are prescribed, the Secretary shall publish the exemption as an amendment to the final regulations.
(g) Accommodating Specialized Equipment.— 
In prescribing regulations to carry out this section, the Secretary may make decisions necessary to accommodate specialized equipment, including automobile and vessel transporters and maxi-cube vehicles.

49 USC 31112 - Property-carrying unit limitation

(a) Definitions.— 
In this section
(1) property-carrying unit means any part of a commercial motor vehicle combination (except the truck tractor) used to carry property, including a trailer, a semitrailer, or the property-carrying section of a single unit truck.
(2) the length of the property-carrying units of a commercial motor vehicle combination is the length measured from the front of the first property-carrying unit to the rear of the last property-carrying unit.
(b) General Limitations.— 
A State may not allow by any means the operation, on any segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways and those classes of qualifying Federal-aid Primary System highways designated by the Secretary of Transportation under section 31111 (e) of this title, of any commercial motor vehicle combination (except a vehicle or load that cannot be dismantled easily or divided easily and that has been issued a special permit under applicable State law) with more than one property-carrying unit (not including the truck tractor) whose property-carrying units are more than
(1) the maximum combination trailer, semitrailer, or other type of length limitation allowed by law or regulation of that State before June 2, 1991; or
(2) the length of the property-carrying units of those commercial motor vehicle combinations, by specific configuration, in actual, lawful operation on a regular or periodic basis (including continuing seasonal operation) in that State before June 2, 1991.
(c) Special Rules for Wyoming, Ohio, Alaska, Iowa, and Nebraska.— 
In addition to the vehicles allowed under subsection (b) of this section
(1) Wyoming may allow the operation of additional vehicle configurations not in actual operation on June 1, 1991, but authorized by State law not later than November 3, 1992, if the vehicle configurations comply with the single axle, tandem axle, and bridge formula limits in section 127 (a) of title 23 and are not more than 117,000 pounds gross vehicle weight;
(2) Ohio may allow the operation of commercial motor vehicle combinations with 3 property-carrying units of 28.5 feet each (not including the truck tractor) not in actual operation on June 1, 1991, to be operated in Ohio on the 1-mile segment of Ohio State Route 7 that begins at and is south of exit 16 of the Ohio Turnpike;
(3) Alaska may allow the operation of commercial motor vehicle combinations that were not in actual operation on June 1, 1991, but were in actual operation before July 6, 1991; and
(4) Iowa may allow the operation on Interstate Route 29 between Sioux City, Iowa, and the border between Iowa and South Dakota or on Interstate Route 129 between Sioux City, Iowa, and the border between Iowa and Nebraska of commercial motor vehicle combinations with trailer length, semitrailer length, and property-carrying unit length allowed by law or regulation and in actual lawful operation on a regular or periodic basis (including continued seasonal operation) in South Dakota or Nebraska, respectively, before June 2, 1991.
(5) Nebraska may allow the operation of a truck tractor and 2 trailers or semitrailers not in actual lawful operation on a regular or periodic basis on June 1, 1991, if the length of the property-carrying units does not exceed 81 feet 6 inches and such combination is used only to transport equipment utilized by custom harvesters under contract to agricultural producers to harvest one or more of wheat, soybeans, and milo during the harvest months for such crops, as defined by the State of Nebraska.
(d) Additional Limitations.— 

(1) A commercial motor vehicle combination whose operation in a State is not prohibited under subsections (b) and (c) of this section may continue to operate in the State on highways described in subsection (b) only if at least in compliance with all State laws, regulations, limitations, and conditions, including routing-specific and configuration-specific designations and all other restrictions in force in the State on June 1, 1991. However, subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary under subsection (g)(2) of this section, the State may make minor adjustments of a temporary and emergency nature to route designations and vehicle operating restrictions in effect on June 1, 1991, for specific safety purposes and road construction.
(2) This section does not prevent a State from further restricting in any way or prohibiting the operation of any commercial motor vehicle combination subject to this section, except that a restriction or prohibition shall be consistent with this section and sections 31113 (a) and (b) and 31114 of this title.
(3) A State making a minor adjustment of a temporary and emergency nature as authorized by paragraph (1) of this subsection or further restricting or prohibiting the operation of a commercial motor vehicle combination as authorized by paragraph (2) of this subsection shall advise the Secretary not later than 30 days after the action. The Secretary shall publish a notice of the action in the Federal Register.
(4) [1] Nebraska may continue to allow to be operated under paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section,[2] the State of Nebraska may allow longer combination vehicles that were not in actual operation on June 1, 1991 to be operated within its boundaries to transport sugar beets from the field where such sugar beets are harvested to storage, market, factory or stockpile or from stockpile to storage, market or factory. This provision shall expire on February 28, 1998.
(e) List of State Length Limitations.— 

(1) Not later than February 16, 1992, each State shall submit to the Secretary for publication a complete list of State length limitations applicable to commercial motor vehicle combinations operating in the State on the highways described in subsection (b) of this section. The list shall indicate the applicable State laws and regulations associated with the length limitations. If a State does not submit the information as required, the Secretary shall complete and file the information for the State.
(2) Not later than March 17, 1992, the Secretary shall publish an interim list in the Federal Register consisting of all information submitted under paragraph (1) of this subsection. The Secretary shall review for accuracy all information submitted by a State under paragraph (1) and shall solicit and consider public comment on the accuracy of the information.
(3) A law or regulation may not be included on the list submitted by a State or published by the Secretary merely because it authorized, or could have authorized, by permit or otherwise, the operation of commercial motor vehicle combinations not in actual operation on a regular or periodic basis before June 2, 1991.
(4) Except as revised under this paragraph or paragraph (5) of this subsection, the list shall be published as final in the Federal Register not later than June 15, 1992. In publishing the final list, the Secretary shall make any revisions necessary to correct inaccuracies identified under paragraph (2) of this subsection. After publication of the final list, commercial motor vehicle combinations prohibited under subsection (b) of this section may not operate on the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways and other Federal-aid Primary System highways designated by the Secretary except as published on the list. The list may be combined by the Secretary with the list required under section 127 (d) of title 23.
(5) On the Secretarys own motion or on request by any person (including a State), the Secretary shall review the list published under paragraph (4) of this subsection. If the Secretary decides there is reason to believe a mistake was made in the accuracy of the list, the Secretary shall begin a proceeding to decide whether a mistake was made. If the Secretary decides there was a mistake, the Secretary shall publish the correction.
(f) Limitations on Statutory Construction.— 
This section may not be construed
(1) to allow the operation on any segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways of a longer combination vehicle prohibited under section 127 (d) of title 23;
(2) to affect in any way the operation of a commercial motor vehicle having only one property-carrying unit; or
(3) to affect in any way the operation in a State of a commercial motor vehicle with more than one property-carrying unit if the vehicle was in actual operation on a regular or periodic basis (including seasonal operation) in that State before June 2, 1991, that was authorized under State law or regulation or lawful State permit.
(g) Regulations.— 

(1) In carrying out this section only, the Secretary shall define by regulation loads that cannot be dismantled easily or divided easily.
(2) Not later than June 15, 1992, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations establishing criteria for a State to follow in making minor adjustments under subsection (d) of this section.
[1] See 1996 Amendment note below.
[2] So in original.

49 USC 31113 - Width limitations

(a) General Limitations.— 

(1) Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, a State (except Hawaii) may not prescribe or enforce a regulation of commerce that imposes a vehicle width limitation of more or less than 102 inches on a commercial motor vehicle operating on
(A) a segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways (except a segment exempted under subsection (e) of this section);
(B) a qualifying Federal-aid highway designated by the Secretary of Transportation, with traffic lanes designed to be at least 12 feet wide; or
(C) a qualifying Federal-aid Primary System highway designated by the Secretary if the Secretary decides the designation is consistent with highway safety.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this subsection, a State may continue to enforce a regulation of commerce in effect on April 6, 1983, that applies to a commercial motor vehicle of more than 102 inches in width, until the date on which the State prescribes a regulation of commerce that complies with this subsection.
(3) A Federal-aid highway (except an interstate highway) not designated under this subsection on June 5, 1984, may be designated under this subsection only with the agreement of the chief executive officer of the State in which the highway is located.
(b) Exclusion of Safety and Energy Conservation Devices.— 
Width calculated under this section does not include a safety or energy conservation device the Secretary decides is necessary for safe and efficient operation of a commercial motor vehicle.
(c) Special Use Permits.— 
A State may grant a special use permit to a commercial motor vehicle that is more than 102 inches in width.
(d) State Enforcement.— 
Consistent with this section, a State may enforce a commercial motor vehicle width limitation of 102 inches on a segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways (except a segment exempted under subsection (e) of this section) or other qualifying Federal-aid highway designated by the Secretary.
(e) Exemptions.— 

(1) If the chief executive officer of a State, after consulting under paragraph (2) of this subsection, decides a segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways is not capable of safely accommodating a commercial motor vehicle having the width provided in subsection (a) of this section, the chief executive officer may notify the Secretary of that decision and request the Secretary to exempt that segment from subsection (a) to allow the State to impose a width limitation of less than 102 inches for a vehicle (except a bus) on that segment.
(2) Before making a decision under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the chief executive officer shall consult with units of local government in the State in which the segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways is located and with the chief executive officer of any adjacent State that may be directly affected by the exemption. As part of the consultations, consideration shall be given to any potential alternative route that serves the area in which the segment is located and can safely accommodate a commercial motor vehicle having the width provided for in subsection (a) of this section.
(3) A chief executive officers notification under this subsection must include specific evidence of safety problems supporting the officers decision and the results of consultations about alternative routes.
(4) 
(A) If the Secretary decides, on request of a chief executive officer or on the Secretarys own initiative, a segment of the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways is not capable of safely accommodating a commercial motor vehicle having a width provided in subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary shall exempt the segment from subsection (a) to allow the State to impose a width limitation of less than 102 inches for a vehicle (except a bus) on that segment. Before making a decision under this paragraph, the Secretary shall consider any possible alternative route that serves the area in which the segment is located.
(B) The Secretary shall make a decision about a specific segment not later than 120 days after the date of receipt of notification from a chief executive officer under paragraph (1) of this subsection or the date on which the Secretary initiates action under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, whichever is applicable. If the Secretary finds the decision will not be made in time, the Secretary immediately shall notify Congress, giving the reasons for the delay, information about the resources assigned, and the projected date for the decision.
(C) Before making a decision, the Secretary shall give an interested person notice and an opportunity for comment. If the Secretary exempts a segment under this subsection before the final regulations under subsection (a) of this section are prescribed, the Secretary shall include the exemption as part of the final regulations. If the Secretary exempts the segment after the final regulations are prescribed, the Secretary shall publish the exemption as an amendment to the final regulations.

49 USC 31114 - Access to the Interstate System

(a) Prohibition on Denying Access.— 
A State may not enact or enforce a law denying to a commercial motor vehicle subject to this subchapter or subchapter I of this chapter reasonable access between
(1) the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways (except a segment exempted under section 31111 (f) or 31113 (e) of this title) and other qualifying Federal-aid Primary System highways designated by the Secretary of Transportation; and
(2) terminals, facilities for food, fuel, repairs, and rest, and points of loading and unloading for household goods carriers, motor carriers of passengers, or any truck tractor-semitrailer combination in which the semitrailer has a length of not more than 28.5 feet and that generally operates as part of a vehicle combination described in section 31111 (c) of this title.
(b) Exception.— 
This section does not prevent a State or local government from imposing reasonable restrictions, based on safety considerations, on a truck tractor-semitrailer combination in which the semitrailer has a length of not more than 28.5 feet and that generally operates as part of a vehicle combination described in section 31111 (c) of this title.

49 USC 31115 - Enforcement

On the request of the Secretary of Transportation, the Attorney General shall bring a civil action for appropriate injunctive relief to ensure compliance with this subchapter or subchapter I of this chapter. The action may be brought in a district court of the United States in any State in which the relief is required. On a proper showing, the court shall issue a temporary restraining order or preliminary or permanent injunction. An injunction under this section may order a State or person to comply with this subchapter, subchapter I, or a regulation prescribed under this subchapter or subchapter I.