Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure and Which Way books made popular in the 1970s and 80s? Every story had multiple possible endings and no ending was wrong. There are many rabbit trails to follow in the Illinois Vehicle Code, and a person cannot simply flip pages and always arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. Similarly, when police officers erroneously believe one violation of the law magically makes a truck overweight on registration, costly mistakes happen.
Truck and trailer registration is a complicated mess, plain and simple. There are many exceptions to the rules based on vehicle configurations, commodities and politics. It’s not uncommon to find truck officers in the trap of “conditional logic” errors. An “if X” equation does not always yield a “then Y” solution.
This article will look at the litany of overweight on registration errors accumulated by the ITEA over the years. Hopefully by writing these, others will not make the same mistakes.
Failure to Display Steel Registration Plate Yes, there is a law requiring vehicles to have license plates mounted and visible, but no, it does not automatically make the vehicle overweight on registration. Using this same logic, if a driver forgot his plastic driver’s license at home, can he be arrested for the misdemeanor “No Valid Driver’s License”? No. There is a specific statute for not having the driver’s license on person, just as there is a specific statute for improper display of registration.
Failure to Display the Correct Registration Plate Sometimes truck owners and fleet managers (all humans) make the mistake of mounting the wrong plate on the wrong truck. A violation of the law for sure, but it does not make the truck overweight on registration. The police office must first determine the truck in question (using the VIN) does not have correct registration.
Failure to Display the Correct Registration Sticker Much like mounting the wrong plate on the wrong truck, sometimes people put the wrong sticker on the wrong plate. A ticket could be issued, but not an overweight on registration citation.
Exceeding the Weight Limits of Valid Registration This may yield a legitimate overweight on registration violation, but simply exceeding the weight limits does not invalidate or void the registration all together. This cannot be extended to weights north of 80,000 pounds either. A truck which weighs 85,000 pounds gross on the scale may very well be overweight in Chapter 15 of the IVC, but is not overweight on registration by 5,000. This is because an 80,000 pound registration plate is as big as they come.
No SHV Permit Voids Valid Registration Several configurations of trucks and trailers are eligible for protections of gross and axle weight laws (Chapter 15) if the owner elects to purchase a $125 “Special Hauling Vehicle” (or SHV), permit with the registration (Chapter 3). If a vehicle, which could opt for this protection yet chooses not to, is stopped, it does not mean the vehicle registration is void and only receives zero pounds of registered weight. It only means the vehicle does not receive the protections offered by the SHV status.
Suspended or Revoked Registration The IVC has special sections for registration which has been suspended or revoked. However, if the owner has paid the required fiscal tax to the Secretary of State to carry weight, the vehicle is not overweight on registration.
Not Having an Oversize/Overweight Permit A few weeks ago the ITEA published an article called “Milkshakes” discussing the limited correlations between Chapters 3 and 15 of the IVC. This is not one of them. If the truck does not have an OS/OW permit as needed, it is probably in violation of the laws in Chapter 15, but it has nothing to do with the registration.
Incorrect Registration on an Oversize/Overweight Permit Similar to the above paragraph, these two have nothing to do with each other. A violation of permit citation for listing the wrong registration may be issued, but the registered weight cannot be touched.
Foreign Municipal Plates Sometimes trucks with base plates from other states (aka “foreign”) are allowed to operate in Illinois, sometimes they are not. A 3-axle garbage truck owned by a waste company cannot carry weight in Illinois unless they apportion. The same 3-axle garbage truck owned by a municipality from across the state line has reciprocity may operate in Illinois on their municipal base plates.
No CDL, IFTA or Safety Tests While it is conceivable how an unrelated registration issue could be misinterpreted to be an overweight on registration violation, these examples of bad logic are egregious. Just because a legitimate violation of the law (specific only to trucks) does not render the registration invalid. That is the same logic as “the car was speeding, therefore I can arrest the driver for no driver’s license and no registration”.
Here’s some conditional illogic: If for decades the focus of truck enforcement has been heavily dominated by weight enforcement, then violations of other traffic laws somehow equal overweight on registration.
Sad, but true.
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