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When a young person studies mathematics, he will invariably learn about the law of mutual exclusivity. You cannot turn left and turn right at the same time. A coin cannot land heads and tails simultaneously. As the same person begins to study truck law (who wants to study math?), he must learn that most parts of truck law are mutually exclusive too. When he fails to understand this concept, bad things happen.

The Illinois Vehicle Code is like a bunch of buckets representing each Chapter. Fill each bucket with water and you have generic law. Now add a different species of fish to each bucket and you have the legal topic for that Chapter.

Students who attend the ITEA 40-hour Basic Truck Enforcement course quickly learn that there are many different buckets in truck law. Weight, size, registration, CDLs, fuel tax, safety tests – all similar under the umbrella of “trucks”, but sections of laws which are mutually exclusive of each other.

For instance, there are many definitions of the term “commercial motor vehicle”. How one defines a CMV is in direct correlation to the Chapter of law they are referring to. A CMV defined under CDL law may have some similarities to the definition of a CMV under fuel tax law, but they are not the same. A universal application a CMV definition may be desirable, but it is not the reality.

Vehicle registration (Chapter 3) and driver’s license classification (Chapter 6) are 100% mutually exclusive. Registration never determines driver’s license classification. Never. Registered weight (Chapter 3) and vehicle weights (Chapter 15) have some similarities, but are mutually exclusive as well.

Except when they’re not.

Forget the bucket illustration for a minute, and picture the two weight chapters of the IVC as two milkshakes. Let’s say the police officer enforcing the vehicle weight milkshake (Ch 15) has a straw. His straw may reach across the IVC into the registered weight (Ch 3) milkshake, but can he drink up the whole milkshake? No. Can he take a few sips? Yes.

So what are these few limited connections between the two? Here is the list:

Grace Weights Generally speaking, trucks receive a 2,000 pound “grace” weight before an overweight citation may be issued. You can read more about that in the ITEA article called Mercy Weights. However, a vehicle registered for more than 77,000 pounds only receives 1,000 pounds of grace weight on gross (not axle or bridge formula).

Special Hauling Vehicles There are many ITEA articles about the complexities of the SHVs. The simple thing to remember is this: if the vehicle is going to receive higher than legal vehicle weights (Ch 15), it must register (Ch 3) as an SHV. Two identically configured trucks and with the same load may receive different vehicle weights because one truck did not register the same as the other.

Tow Trucks Picture two, 3-axle rotator wreckers, each weighing 52,000 pounds. One truck is registered with an Illinois R-plate for 54,999 pounds. The second truck is registered with Illinois tow truck (TW) plates for 54,999 pounds. The fees for both trucks are identical, $1942.

However, when the same trucks are towing an identical load on the wheel lift, the truck registered as a tow truck will receive 44,000 pounds on the drive tandem, whereas the truck registered with the R-plate will only receive 34,000 pounds.

Exempt Vehicles The Secretary of State cannot register (Ch 3) vehicles which do not conform to vehicle weight law (Ch15). If a truck is manufactured so heavy it cannot be legal weight, it cannot be registered. It will however, require overweight permits.

The SOS will issue “Exempt Vehicle” (EV) registration for these vehicles though. The EV plates are red and cost $13. If the owner of the truck elects (not required) to buy EV plates, he must submit weights and axle spacings to the SOS for review. If the SOS determines the vehicle is non-conforming, it will issue the EV plates. This means the vehicle is not required to have registered weight. The plates are meant for identification.

Understanding the limited relationship between the two weight chapters is imperative for both the truck enforcement officer and the truck owner. There may be blood otherwise.

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