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QUESTION: Do the weight limit of 26000 pounds include a load or just the truck an trailer empty

ANSWER: In determining if you need a CDL or not, it is based on the GVWR or actual weight of the truck.  If you exceed 26,000 lbs on a single truck, you need a B license.  But, as a non CDL driv, you can drive a 26,000 lb truck pulling up to a 10,000 lb trailer and be legal.  If that same trailer had a GVWR of 11,000 lbs, it would be a class A CDL truck.

The ultimate determination is how the vehicle is registered , not how much it may weigh.  A 33,000 lb class B truck that empty only weighs 22,000 lbs is still a CDL truck.


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QUESTION: So what would be the best way of registering my vehicle for a none cdl driver an still be legal to pull a 3car trailer


In order to stay under CDL requirements , you would need to have a combination that the GVWR and GCWR do not exceed 26,000 lbs.

You could use a F350 dually with a GVWR of 11,000 lbs pulling a trailer rated at not more than 14,000 lbs to do  this.   You would still need to have a GCWR registration on the truck for 26,000 lbs though.

While you would not need a CDL for this kind of combination , you would need ...

DOT number
MC authority if you will haul other people's property
DOT medical card
Are subject to all of the hours of service rules including logbooks depending where you go.

I am not convinced you can use a 14k trailer to haul 3 cars unless they are small cars.   The entire trailer loaded could not exceed 14,000 lbs.

Anytime your trailer is over 10,000 lbs, your truck and trailer together cannot exceed 26,000 lbs or you get into CDL territory.  I think the only realistic way to do this is to haul two cars at a time.



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Andy Blair


Commercial Trucking regulations. DOT inspection information. Data Q challenges PA Traffic and Equipment Regulations Out of service criteria.


Police Officer 1986-2011 Weighmaster 1990-2011 DOT Enforcement Certified 1999-2011 Haz-Mat Inspector 2007-2011 Class A CDL Holder CDL Instructor

Fraternal Order of Police ( life member)

American Association of Service Professionals Newsletter

Harrisburg Area Community College 35th Police Academy Community College of the Air Force PA certified 3rd party CDL tester.

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