Senate Bill No. 1175

CHAPTER 786

An act to amend Section 35401.5 of the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.

[Approved by Governor September 29, 2014. Filed with Secretary of State September 29, 2014.]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 1175, Walters. Vehicles: length limitations: motorsports.

Existing law generally prohibits a vehicle from exceeding a length of 40 feet, and a combination of vehicles from exceeding a total length of 65 feet, with various specific exceptions. Existing law, until January 1, 2016, exempts from these provisions a combination of vehicles consisting of a truck tractor semitrailer combination with a kingpin to rearmost axle measurement limit of not more than 46 feet, a trailer length of not more than 56 feet, and used exclusively or primarily in connection with motorsports, as defined.

This bill would extend the operation of that exemption indefinitely. In order to comply with the terms of that exemption, the bill would require a permit issued by the Department of Transportation for the operation of that combination of vehicles on a specific route. The bill would require the Department of Transportation to conduct field tests of the truck tractor semitrailer combination for motorsport trucks with a trailer length of 56 feet to evaluate their performance on transition routes connecting to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. The bill would require a permit to operate the above-described combination of vehicles on a specific route for a motorsport event, as specified. The bill would provide that the permit requirement for routes to or from the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the Sonoma Raceway, and the Auto Club Speedway at Fontana would only apply until field tests by the Department of Transportation determine that no additional projects need to be performed on that particular route for the respective raceway, or, if projects are required to be performed on the route, until those projects are completed. The bill would require the department to update the transition routes to reflect road projects completed since the 1990s and to update the transition routes every 5 years thereafter. The bill would require the department to develop new transition routes, as necessary, for the truck tractor semitrailer combination for motorsport trucks with a trailer length of 56 feet. The bill would require, no later than January 1, 2017, the department to submit a report to the Legislature that includes the results of the field tests for the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, the Sonoma Raceway, and the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, an overview of the related roadway improvements identified and made, and, in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, a recommendation as to whether the 56 foot trailer length should be reauthorized. The bill would also make technical, nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1.  

Section 35401.5 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

35401.5.  

(a) A combination of vehicles consisting of a truck tractor and semitrailer, or of a truck tractor, semitrailer, and trailer, is not subject to the limitations of Sections 35400 and 35401, when operating on the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways or when using those portions of federal-aid primary system highways that have been qualified by the United States Secretary of Transportation for that use, or when using routes appropriately identified by the Department of Transportation or local authorities as provided in subdivision (c) or (d), if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The length of the semitrailer in exclusive combination with a truck tractor does not exceed 48 feet. A semitrailer not more than 53 feet in length shall satisfy this requirement when configured with two or more rear axles, the rearmost of which is located 40 feet or less from the kingpin or when configured with a single axle which is located 38 feet or less from the kingpin. For purposes of this paragraph, a motortruck used in combination with a semitrailer, when that combination of vehicles is engaged solely in the transportation of motor vehicles, camper units, or boats, is considered to be a truck tractor.

(2) Neither the length of the semitrailer nor the length of the trailer when simultaneously in combination with a truck tractor exceeds 28 feet 6 inches.

(b) Subdivisions (b), (d), and (e) of Section 35402 do not apply to combinations of vehicles operated subject to the exemptions provided by this section.

(c) Combinations of vehicles operated pursuant to subdivision (a) may also use highways not specified in subdivision (a) that provide reasonable access to terminals and facilities for purposes limited to fuel, food, lodging, and repair when that access is consistent with the safe operation of the combinations of vehicles and when the facility is within one road mile of identified points of ingress and egress to or from highways specified in subdivision (a) for use by those combinations of vehicles.

(d) The Department of Transportation or local authorities may establish a process whereby access to terminals or services may be applied for upon a route not previously established as an access route. The denial of a request for access to terminals and services shall be only on the basis of safety and an engineering analysis of the proposed access route. If a written request for access has been properly submitted and has not been acted upon within 90 days of receipt by the department or the appropriate local agency, the access shall be deemed automatically approved. Thereafter, the route shall be deemed open for access by all other vehicles of the same type regardless of ownership. In lieu of processing an access application, the Department of Transportation or local authorities with respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions may provide signing, mapping, or a listing of highways as necessary to indicate the use of specific routes as terminal access routes. For purposes of this subdivision, “terminal” means either of the following:

(1) A facility where freight originates, terminates, or is handled in the transportation process.

(2) A facility where a motor carrier maintains operating facilities.

(e) Nothing in subdivision (c) or (d) authorizes state or local agencies to require permits of terminal operators or to charge terminal operators fees for the purpose of attaining access for vehicles described in this section.

(f) Notwithstanding subdivision (d), the limitations of access specified in that subdivision do not apply to licensed carriers of household goods when directly en route to or from a point of loading or unloading of household goods, if travel on highways other than those specified in subdivision (a) is necessary and incidental to the shipment of the household goods.

(g) (1) Notwithstanding Sections 35400 and 35401, a combination of vehicles consisting solely of a truck tractor semitrailer combination with a kingpin to rearmost axle measurement limit of not more than 46 feet, a trailer length of not more than 56 feet, and used exclusively or primarily in connection with motorsports, may operate on the routes identified in subdivision (a) as well as on any other routes authorized for that purpose by the Department of Transportation in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, when issued a permit as set forth in paragraph (3). As used in this subdivision, “motorsports” means an event, and all activities leading up to that event, including, but not limited to, administration, testing, practice, promotion, and merchandising, that is sanctioned under the auspices of the member organizations of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States.

(2) (A) The Department of Transportation shall conduct field tests of the truck tractor semitrailer combination authorized under paragraph (1) for motorsport trucks with a trailer length of not more than 56 feet to evaluate their performance on transition routes connecting to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

(B) (i) The Legislature finds and declares that the Department of Transportation established the existing transition routes described in subparagraph (A) based on records from the 1990s.

(ii) The Department of Transportation shall update the transition routes to reflect road projects completed since the 1990s and shall update the transition routes every five years thereafter.

(iii) The Department of Transportation shall develop new transition routes, as necessary, for the truck tractor semitrailer combination authorized under paragraph (1) for motorsport trucks with a trailer length of not more than 56 feet.

(C) The Department of Transportation shall, no later than January 1, 2017, submit a report to the Legislature, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, that includes the results of the field tests for the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, the Sonoma Raceway, and the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, an overview of the related roadway improvements identified and made, and, in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, a recommendation as to whether the maximum 56 foot trailer length should be reauthorized.

(D) Notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, the requirement for submitting a report under this paragraph is inoperative on January 1, 2019.

(3) Permits for a combination of vehicles consisting solely of a truck tractor semitrailer combination with a kingpin to rearmost axle measurement limit of not more than 46 feet, a trailer length of not more than 56 feet, for use exclusively or primarily in connection with motorsports, to operate on the routes identified in subdivision (a) as well as on any other routes authorized for that purpose, as provided in paragraph (1), shall be issued by the Department of Transportation, pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 35780) of Chapter 5. The permit requirement for travel on a specific route to or from the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, the Sonoma Raceway, or the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, shall apply only until field tests for each of those raceways by the Department of Transportation determine that no additional projects need to be performed on the specific route, or, if projects are required to be performed on the specific route, until those projects are completed.

(h) The Legislature finds and declares both of the following:

(1) In authorizing the use of 53-foot semitrailers, it is the intent of the Legislature to conform with Section 31111(b)(1)(C) of Title 49 of the United States Code by permitting the continued use of semitrailers of the dimensions as those that were in actual and legal use on December 1, 1982, and does not intend this action to be a precedent for future increases in the parameters of any of those vehicles that would adversely affect the turning maneuverability of vehicle combinations.

(2) In authorizing the department to issue special transportation permits for motorsports, it is the intent of the Legislature to conform with Section 31111(b)(1)(F) of Title 49 of the United States Code. It is also the intent of the Legislature that this action not be a precedent for future increases in the distance from the kingpin to the rearmost axle of semitrailers and trailers that would adversely affect the turning maneuverability of vehicle combinations.



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