New Hauling Laws, Can They Get More Confusing? CDL, CMV, ELD Let Me Help.

New trailering laws are out there right now, swirling around, causing a ruckus.  First of all, from what I understand, they are not being enforced yet.  Also, as I go into this, I am not a law maker, lawyer, or a legal authority but, here are a few things that might help you understand.

To start with, the acronym GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) comes up.  “The wat?  I dunno what that is.”  Well a lot of people are seeing things like 10,000lbs for a truck.  “Oh yeah, I saw that, my truck doesn’t weigh anything like that, so I am good.”  Time to hold your horses.  GVWR is not the weight of your truck, it’s essentially the capacity of your truck.  My 2500HD diesel truck weighs about 6,500lbs, but its GVWR is 10,000 lbs.  “Well how do you know?  Where do I find this?”  There is a label usually inside the driver door or door frame.

The same goes for your trailer, the GVWR for my 2 horse bumper pull is 8,050 lbs.  There should be a plate or sticker on your trailer that has all the information you need.  With a bumper pull, it could be on the side of the trailer, mine was on the driver’s side.  Goosenecks usually have them up under the gooseneck

Let me discuss the average Joe, or Josefina, pulling their horse.  In reality, this is not about Josefina with a 2 horse bumper pull or Joe with his 3 horse gooseneck with a small tack room.  This is about Fred horse trainer with a 15 horse slant load on his way to a big show, and Tammy rodeo queen with a huge 4 horse living quarter trailer.

Nothing changes if:

  1. You are not driving more than 11 hours and have had 10 hours off since the last time you drove.
  2. You are only towing your horse/s
  3. The GVWR on your truck is 10,000lbs or LESS
  4. Your trailer GVWR is 15,000lbs or LESS
  5. You are not towing to a show where you might win money
  6. You are not a horse trainer or in the horse business.

Sooo #5 is a real pain in the butt…

To clear up the whole commercial vehicle (CMV) thing:

  • “So what about everyone that doesn’t fit into the 6 points above?”  Well if you write your truck or trailer off as a business expense, then you will probably have to register them as commercial vehicles. Samesies if you are a trainer hauling horses for clients and they are paying you, or if you are going to a show where you will win money.  “It’s all about the money isn’t it.  That’s all they care about, they don’t care about me, I feel so unloved.”  Yes, at the end of the day it’s all about money.
  • “I go to jumper shows all the time, I sometimes win money, does that mean I need to register my truck and trailer as a business expense?”  Depends.  “Oh thanks for clearing that up.”  Well we all know about those schooling hunter/jumper shows where if you win the class, you get $30!  Exciting until you remember you paid $4o for the class, and lets not start on the cost of stalls.  If you can make a profit, as in more than what you pay for the show, then you may need to register your truck and trailer as a commercial vehicle.  Really this is for people who make their living off of prize money, not the amateur who happens to make $1000 from their hobby shows that they go to (as long as you don’t have a horse business on the side, like breeding).  Good news for eventers for once, they rarely have cash prizes.
  • Oh and if you have sponsor logos on your truck or trailer, those become commercial vehicles too.  This probably counts if you have your business logo on your truck or trailer.
  • “What if I want to tow my friend’s horse?  That’s no longer allowed?”  It is allowed if you don’t accept money for it, even if it’s just to help pay for gas.  So make them fill up your truck, or buy lunch or something.
  • If you have a living quarter trailer you may be exempt using RV rules if you don’t use it for “making money” as listed in the points above
  • “So what do I have to do if I have a commercial vehicle?”  It’s all about the registration, you will have to contact TXDOT (or the Department of Transportation for your state) and it will probably be obnoxious but less obnoxious than getting pulled over, getting fines, and then still having to go through it anyhow.

What is this ELD thing?  Well it’s an electronic box that has to be installed on your truck that tracks how long/fast/far you drive.  It only allows you to drive 11 hours out of 14 hours, it doesn’t shut your engine down or anything but if you get pulled over and you are over your limit, get ready to pay $$$ for fines.   These are for long hauls, if you limit your drives to 11 hours or less then you don’t need one.  Or take your friend and make them drive after you reach the 11 hour limit.  Do your horse a favor though, limit your drives.

“I read about a CDL (Commercial Drivers Licence) do I need one of those?”  If your truck and trailer fit in #3 and #4 above then you are good.  It’s all about truck and trailer size.  If you have a freightliner, “Not For Hire” will not work anymore, time to up your game.

As I said before, this isn’t about the small trucks and trailers hauling across town, the cops are not after you.  I image come rodeo time in Houston, the police will be out waiting to pull people over and enforce the laws.  They did this a few years ago at Pin Oak Charity Horse show, here in Houston.  There were a bunch of cops waiting at the highway exit ramp for the show, pulling big rigs over, ensuring people had CDLs for their large rigs.

How will this affect your show plans for this year?

Disclaimer:  This is a guide to help, so verify your particular situation prior to hooking up.  Again, I am not a lawmaker, lawyer, or law enforcer, this information is just a way to help people further understand.

A few further sources of information:

Related Engineering Equestrian Articles:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *