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Specialized Enforcement Section (SES)

Since its inception, the Specialized Enforcement Section (SES) has been comprised of specially selected, highly trained and dedicated motor personnel. They are responsible for a myriad of motor-related responsibilities deemed critical by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).  As such, the requirements and expectations required to be a member of SES, either as an officer or supervisor are exceptionally high.  Currently, SES consists of:

•    One (1) motorcycle lieutenant;
•    One (1) motorcycle sergeant; and,
•    Eleven (11) motorcycle officers.  

The Section is responsible for several functions related to commercial vehicle enforcement and motorcycle related training for LAPD, including outside allied law enforcement agencies throughout California and consists of two Units and a liaison representative:

•    Motorcycle Training Unit (MTU)
•    Specialized Enforcement Unit (SEU)
•    Motor Garage Liaison

Specialized Enforcement Unit (Commercial Vehicle Complaints)
Police Administration Building
100 West First Street, 4th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90012
(213) 486-0777

Motorcycle Training Unit
Edward M. Davis Training Facility
12001 Blucher Avenue
Granada Hills, California 91344
(818) 832-3795

Motor Garage Liaison
Central Motor Garage
519 South Wall Street
Los Angeles, California 90013
(213) 833-3788


SPECIALIZED ENFORCEMENT UNIT (Commercial Enforcement)

MISSION

A primary mission for the LAPD’s SES is to ensure the safe and efficient operation of commercial vehicles on roadways within the City of Los Angeles.  


BACKGROUND

Personnel assigned to SES have Citywide jurisdictional responsibility for the enforcement of all California Vehicle Code (CVC), Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC); and other local, State, and Federal regulations governing the safe and efficient movement of commercial vehicles within City limits.  This level of enforcement requires our officers to have successfully completed extensive and comprehensive specialized training in code enforcement, weights and measures, hazardous materials, CVC regulations and commercial terrorism.  Our officers are also certified as Weight Masters by the County of Los Angeles.  

Personnel assigned to SES regularly participate in scheduled Multi-Agency Strike Force Operations (MASFO) in the Port of Los Angeles in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), United States Coast Guard, Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), Torrance, Long Beach and Port Police Departments.  The MASFOs are designed to target commercial vehicle violations and to prevent potential terrorist attacks using large trucks and/or shipping containers.  

In concert with their commercial enforcement responsibilities, SES personnel assist members of the Department’s Multi-Disciplinary Collision Investigation Team (MDCIT) and respond to assist with all investigations involving commercial vehicles that result in fatal or serious injuries.  Additionally, SES personnel assist with all motor officer involved traffic collisions involving fatal or serious injuries on a 24-hours basis for on-scene response.  They act as expert witnesses on behalf of the Department and the City of Los Angeles regarding criminal as well as civil litigation involving commercial vehicles and motorcycle accidents.

The Sections takes pride in that all laws and regulations pertaining to size, weight, driver, and vehicle safety are administered fairly and impartially focusing upon the ultimate goal of safer streets.

OBJECTIVES

In support of the program mission, the following objectives have been identified:
1.    The prevention of traffic collisions and incidents attributed to mechanical defects or excessive driving hours involving vehicles and drivers subject to California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 34500.
2.    The prevention of incidents and catastrophes during, or as a result of, hazardous materials transportation.
3.    Dedicate a rigorous enforcement program to the application of California's various commercial vehicle safety regulations and those nationally adopted laws and rules applicable to commercial vehicle operation.
4.    Ensuring the safety of the motoring public by vigilant inspection and regulation of specific loads and commodities; conducting inspections of commercial vehicles; enforcement of commercial hours of service and driving under the influence (DUI) laws.
5.    Minimizing damage to the City’s roadway system by operating mobile commercial vehicle weight regulation and monitoring sites.
6.    Educating both the motor carrier industry and the public in areas that will positively impact and promote greater commercial vehicle safety.

The commercial enforcement objectives for SES are accomplished through:

Road Patrol:
•    Roadway Inspections - Safety inspections focusing on size, weight and load laws related to commercial vehicles;
•    Enforcing the City of Los Angeles oversize vehicle trip permits.
•    Investigating and responding to community concerns regarding commercial vehicles.
•    Investigating specific commercial vehicle violation complaints.
•    Enforcing the provisions of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations and Vehicle Code pertaining to commercial vehicle violations.
•    Selective enforcement of all traffic laws Citywide.
•    Monitoring all types of commercial trucking activity on City streets.
•    Enforcing Section 80.36.1 of the LAMC for 6,000 pound weight limit on restricted streets.
•    Recommending routes of travel at “dirt haul” construction projects and coordinating the enforcement of available CVC and LAMC laws.
•    Providing instruction to companies on proper maintenance of commercial vehicle safety equipment and proper loading techniques to comply with weight laws.
•    Providing certification of correction service on Los Angeles issued commercial equipment violations for local industry.
•    Conducting routine checks for permit violations pertaining to overweight, size, and route restrictions by permit holders.
•    Maintaining liaison with the Street Use Department in order to coordinate permit enforcement and compliance with dirt haul routes.
•    Responding Citywide, all hours, to major accidents involving large trucks where death or serious injury occurs for the purpose of providing technical expertise on faulty equipment.
•    Appear in court and provide expert testimony when required.
•    Administering LAPD’s commercial vehicle Owner’s Responsibility citation program, which also requires the maintaining and storage of commercial vehicle traffic complaint files.
•    Serving complaint summons and notifications to companies for failure to appear on commercial enforcement equipment violations involving owner’s responsibility.
•    Providing instructors upon request to teach traffic enforcement, “commercial policy,” and procedures to Department personnel.
•    Maintaining liaison with various government agencies, including the CHP and LASD for the purpose of providing a uniformed commercial enforcement program Countywide.
•    Participating in monthly MASFO operations in the Post of Los Angeles to conduct:
•    Homeland security through traffic management and commercial truck safety inspections (i.e., Level I, II and III);
•    Container inspections with the assistance of the United States Coast Guard; and,
•    Working closely with Port, Long Beach and Torrance Police Departments, including CHP, LASD, United States Coast Guard and the City Attorney’s Office.
Education:

The LAPD works in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) Commercial Industry Education Program (CIEP), which is a continuous educational program designed to provide information and safety awareness to everyone operating commercial vehicles.  In a team teaching environment, LAPD and CHP commercial enforcement personnel provide informational seminars on many specific topics.  In addition to these specific information seminars, all CIEP classes include general information anyone in the commercial trucking industry should be aware of.  To learn more, call (707) 648-4180, or click on the following link:

http://www.chp.ca.goc/programs/ciep.html


Training can be held at your office, shop, or your nearest CHP inspection facility.


Associated Links with Commercial Vehicle Complaints:

•    Federal Regulations (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/)

•    California Code of Regulations (http://www.oal.ca.gov/)

•    Air Resource Board (http://www.arb.ca.gov/homepage.htm)

•    DMV - Commercial Driver Handbook (http://www.dmv.ca.gov/commercial/commercial.htm)

For frequently asked questions related to commercial vehicle complaints, click on attached link (See attached document)


SPECIALIZED ENFORCEMENT UNIT (Motorcades and Motor Escorts)
•    Coordinating all motorcycles escorts and motorcades involving dignitary movements within the City of Los Angeles, which requires liaison with the United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Metropolitan Division.
•    Coordinating all funeral escorts and motorcades for deceased sworn personnel at the request of the Employee Assistant Unit, Employee Assistance Unit.
•    Deploying less lethal equipped motor personnel for motor strike team operations.

MOTORCYCLE TRAINING UNIT (Motorcycle Instruction and Related Motor Activities)
•    Compiling the motor officer candidate list and tracking all candidates to ensure the required training has been completed within the established guidelines. Maintaining motor officer examination results who have requested assignment to traffic enforcement duties.
•    Conducting 200-hour Peace Officer and Standards Training (POST) certified Basic Motorcycle Riding School.
•    Conducting annual 16-hour POST certified In-Service Motor Schools for all active full duty motor riding personnel.
•    Conducting 40-hour Motorcycle Undercover Riding School for members of the Department’s vice and narcotics units, including the FBI special agents.
•    Conducting eight-hour recertification ride-a-longs with prior Department motor personnel who are returning to a riding assignment.
•    Conducting BMW two-day transition schools for motor personnel assigned a BMW motorcycle.
•    Assisting Motor Transport Division (MTD) in the testing and evaluation of two-wheel motorcycles in order to insure those submitted for bid meet the specified technical performance requirements prior to purchase by the City.
•    Participating in LASD’s annual and nationally recognized motorcycle testing program, which serves as a major source of information relative to police motorcycles and their use for all law enforcement agencies.
•    Providing motorcycle riding certification to mechanics assigned to MTD’s motorcycle repair shops.
•    Inspecting all City issued motor officer safety equipment (i.e., helmets, gloves, glasses, boots and breeches) prior to replacement by Supply Section.
•    Reviewing and approving requisitions for new motor officer safety equipment and forwarding approved requisitions to Supply Section.
•    Administering the Department’s motor officer Safe Riding Award Tie Bar program.
•    Providing motor officers as instructors to Areas and divisions conducting training days.
•    Field testing all new motorcycle equipment and motor officer safety equipment and maintaining a list of acceptable modifications in conjunction with MTD.
•    Maintaining liaison with other POST certified motorcycle training schools throughout California in order to insure standardized training and minimum acceptable performance levels.
•    Coordinating the policies, procedures and training for LAPD’s Motor Strike Team (MST) concept and maintaining documentation defining such tactics.
•    Coordinating and conducting MST cross-training with motor personnel from the CHP, Los Angeles and Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and other local allied law enforcement agencies.
•    Conducting quarterly Motor Rapid Response Preparedness (MRRP) impromptu inspections of Department motor personnel at undisclosed locations within the geographic bureaus to determine response readiness for MST operations, motorcades and motor escorts.
•    Providing personnel for Command Posts when motor resources are involved.

MOTOR GARAGE LIAISON
The Motor Garage Liaison officer works closely with the mechanics and supervisors at Motor Transport Division’s (MTD) Central Motor Garage Facility to identify and resolve mechanic failures or concern expressed by motor personnel regarding the Department’s fleet of motorcycles. Other duties include:
•    Maintaining LAPD’s motorcycle issuance lists and assigning all two-wheeled Department-issued motorcycles.
•    Maintaining liaison with MTD’s Fleet Services Manager.
•    Road testing all motorcycles after a traffic accident.
•    Assisting Motor Transport Division in developing motorcycle specifications and road testing new products.
•    Ensuring Department motorcycles are not altered or modified by motor personnel without proper authorization.
•    Maintaining motor personnel deployment, assignment of motorcycles, and spare motorcycles operated by the Department.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ~ COMMERCIAL VEHICLE COMPLAINTS

Q.    When do I need an Oversized Load Permit from the City of Los Angeles?

A.    Anytime you are moving an Oversized Load (Width, Length, Height or Weight) off of the State Highway system and you are traveling within the City of Los Angeles.


Q.    How do I obtain an Oversized Load Permit from the City of Los Angeles?

A.    You may contact the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services Permit Office by calling (213) 847-6000, or you may obtain a permit directly from their website at:

http://bsspermits.lacity.org/overloads/index.cfm


Q.    What are the California’s laws regarding the length of commercial vehicles and where can I find this information?

A.    The basic laws in California regarding legal length of commercial vehicles are codified in the California Vehicle Code (CVC) in Division 15, section(s) 35400 and 35401.  A single vehicle may not exceed 40’, a combination of tractor and trailer may not exceed 65’ and a combination of a tractor, semi-trailer and semi-trailer may not exceed 75’.  There are conditions and exceptions to the law.  Please follow the link below for entire law.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/vctoc.htm


Q.    What are California’s laws regarding the weight of commercial vehicles and where can I find this information?

A.    The laws regarding legal weight limits for commercial vehicles in California are codified and defined in the CVC under Division 15, Sections 35550 and 35551.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/vctoc.htm


The defined limits for axle groups can be found here:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d15/vc35551.htm


The penalties for exceeding the legal limits can be found here:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d18/vc42030.htm


Q.    What is a CA number?  What is the Motor Carrier Permit Program (MCPP)?  How do I obtain a CA number and enroll in the MCPP?

A.    A Carrier Identification number or “CA#” is an identification number issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and registered with the CHP as a means of tracking a motor carrier permit.  The permit is issued to the motor carrier as evidence of the registration with the DMV of their CA#, as required by CVC Section 34620.  Additionally, the permit verifies the motor carrier has met all of the statutory requirements to commercially operate motor vehicles on California's highways.  The permit contains information specific to the motor carrier (e.g., name, mailing address, CA#, and effective/expiration dates of the permit).  
    
For more information about the application process and registration please visit the CHP website:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vehindustry/mcp/mcpinfo.htm


Q.    What are weight restricted streets in the City of Los Angeles?

A.    Within the City of Los Angeles and many other jurisdictions in California there are streets that have been posted with regulatory signs (i.e., white with black lettering) that restrict the use of those streets by vehicles at or over a particular weight (usually 6000 pounds or three tons).  The use of these streets by vehicles exceeding the designated weight limits is prohibited unless that vehicle has specific legal business on that street and there is no alternate route available.


Q.    What are Terminal Access Routes?  Where are these routes?

A.    Federal law requires that States allow Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) trucks reasonable access to terminals.  In the 1980's, California evaluated all State routes and allowed STAA vehicles on those routes that could accommodate them.  These are called Terminal Access (TA) routes.  State routes are continuously re-evaluated as improvement projects are completed.  Local governments also evaluate local roads for STAA access to create local TA routes.

    A map of these routes as well as in depth rules and laws regarding the transportation of oversize loads, highway safety can be found at the California Department of Transportation.

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/trucks/

Citations

Q.    I was cited for size and equipment violations by an LAPD officer.  I asked for “Owner Responsibility” and showed the CHP Form.  The officer refused and wrote me the citation.  Is this right?

A.    California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 40001(a) allows for Owner Responsibility citations to be directed to the employer or owner of a commercial vehicle.  The CHP has an “Owner Responsibility” Form (CHP form 279 and available online at http://www.chp.ca.gov/publications/index.html), which is filled out by the employer or registered owner of a vehicle and carried on the truck.  When inspected by an officer and the form indicates the owner will accept that type of violation, it will be issued to the owner by CHP Policy.  Additionally, officers have discretion on the issuance of Owner Responsibility citations.

However, this is an agreement between the CHP and the owner.  Other law enforcement agencies, such as LAPD are not bound to this agreement between the CHP and the owner.  One of the criteria for making this decision is whether the driver should have discovered the problem during a pre-trip inspection and what was done to correct the issue.


Q.    I’m from out of state and my trucking company is also based out of state.  The citation was for equipment violations and my truck was too long.  All of these are my boss’s responsibility.  Why did I get the ticket in my name and not Owner Responsibility?

A.    California Vehicle Code Section 40001(e) only allows California owners to be cited under “Owner’s Responsibility.”

SIZE AND WEIGHT

Size

There are many conditions and exceptions to the law. Please follow the link below for Division 15 Vehicle Code sections.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/vctoc.htm

Length


Q.    What are California’s laws regarding the length of commercial vehicles and where can I find this information?    

A.    CVC Section 35400(a) - A single vehicle may not exceed 40’.

CVC 35401(b)(4) & 35401.5(a)(1) - Allows a semitrailer up to 53’  IF the kingpin to rear axle is 40’ or less.

CVC 35401(a) - Combination of tractor and trailer may not exceed 65’.

CVC 35401(X) CVC - Combination of a tractor, 28.5’ semi-trailer and 28.5’ semi-trailer may not exceed 75’.


Exceptions:

Tractor trailer combinations are unlimited in length on U.S. Interstate freeways and designated State roads under federal regulations (23CFR, Part 658) and CVC Section 35401.5.  Federal law requires that states allow Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) trucks reasonable access to terminals. In the 1980's, California evaluated all State routes and allowed STAA vehicles on those routes that could accommodate them.

Q.    Where are these routes?

A.     Maps of these routes as well as in depth rules and laws regarding the transportation of oversize loads, highway safety can be found at the California Department of Transportation.

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/signtech/trucks/

Q.    How do I deliver or pickup cargo off of the US Interstate freeways and designated state roads if my truck is STAA legal?

A.    You may use any designated and signed Terminal Access (TA) route. State routes are continuously re-evaluated as improvement projects are completed. Local governments also evaluate local roads for STAA access to create local TA routes.

The only places you are allowed to go off of these “STAA” roadways are via a “Terminal Access Route” which is designated by signage.  If your load requires a longer vehicle a Los Angeles oversize permit may be issued.  However, if the cargo does not require the longer vehicle it will not be issued a permit.

Generally, a split axle 53’ trailer with a 43’ kingpin to rear axle will not be permitted unless the load actually requires this type of tractor-trailer combination.  Also, a 53’ trailer with a sleeper or extended tractor which measures over 65’ will not be permitted.  It is suggested that you use a non-sleeper tractor with a 53’ trailer.

Finally, you may not leave the signed “Terminal Access Route” for any reason including delivery or pickup.  Only the street(s) on the designated route are available to your use.

At this time there are only six (6) terminal routes in the City of Los Angeles.

There are no “Service Access Routes” in the City of Los Angeles.


Width


Q.    What is the maximum width for a vehicle in California?

A.    California Vehicle Code Section 35100 gives the maximum width as 102’.  Not included in the measurement are, but not limited to, the following:

California Vehicle Code Sections 35109 and 35110 allows mirrors, tire bulge, tie-downs, certain safety items, door handles, hazmat placard holders, etc. to exceed 102’ width by 10’ or 3’ depending on the equipment.  There are several exceptions, please see the Vehicle Code.

Height

Q.    What is the maximum height of a vehicle in California?

A.    California Vehicle Code Section 35250 restricts the height of a vehicle to 14’.

Q.    I transport a back hoe with a hydraulic front and rear bucket.  Do I only need to secure the body?

A.    No, you also need to secure both hydraulic appendages that would exceed 14’ or more when extended on the trailer or truck body (CVC Section 35251).


Weight

Weight in California is regulated in several different methods.  The major methods are bridge, axle (i.e., axle rating and statute maximum), axle group and tire weight.


Q.    What are California’s laws regarding the weight of commercial vehicles and where can I find this information?

A.    The laws regarding legal weight limits for commercial vehicles in California are             codified and defined in the CVC under Division 15, Sections 35550 and 35551.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/vctoc.htm

The defined limits for axle groups can be found here:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d15/vc35551.htm

The penalties for exceeding the legal limits can be found here:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d18/vc42030.htm

In addition to the axle, axle group and gross weight explained above, other weight limits are tire maximum weight and manufacture’s gross axle weight rating.

If you exceed the weight rating marked of your tire sidewall you may be cited and put out of service.  See CVC Section 27501(b), 13 CCR 1085(d) ~ Exceeding tire load limits.

The same applies to exceeding the vehicle manufacture’s axle weight indicated on the vehicle manufacture’s data plate for each axle.


Weight Restricted streets

Q.    What are weight restricted streets in the City of Los Angeles?

A.    Within the City of Los Angeles and many other jurisdictions in California there are streets that have been posted with regulatory signs (white with black lettering) that restrict the use of those streets by vehicles over the posted GROSS weight (total weight of truck, load and driver) usually 6000 lbs or 3 tons.

The use of these streets by vehicles exceeding the designated weight limits is prohibited unless that vehicle has specific legal business on that street and there is no alternate route available. If the pick up or delivery is on an adjacent street, you cannot use the restricted street for access unless there is no other way to that location. In addition, you must use the shortest route in and out from a non-restricted street.  Operating convenience is not an acceptable reason for using the restricted roadway.

The current list of weight restricted streets is found in the LAMC under section 80.36.1.

https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/city/ca/LosAngeles/Municipal/chapter08.pdf

Oversize Permits

Q.    What if my vehicle or load is larger than these dimensions or is heavier than allowed?

A.    Anytime you are moving an Oversized Load (Width, Length, Height or Weight) off of the State Highway system and you are traveling within the City of Los Angeles in addition to any other permit issued for the vehicle or load, you will require a City of Los Angeles oversize permit.

Q.    I have a Caltrans Permit.  Doesn’t this permit work throughout California?

A.    No.  The Caltrans Permit is for Interstate freeways, State Routes and some other roadways.  It does not permit an oversize vehicle or load in the City of Los Angeles except on roadways controlled by Caltrans. Once you exit the freeway or state route onto a city street the city permit is immediately required.  There is NO grace period or distance.


Q.    How do I obtain an Oversized Load Permit from the City of Los Angeles?

A.    You may contact the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services Permit Office by calling (213) 847-6000 or you may obtain a permit directly from the website at

http://bsspermits.lacity.org/overloads/index.cfm


Q.    My permit has only one page.  Is that acceptable?

A.    Perhaps, but not likely.  If the box indicating “attachments” is checked, you will need ALL pages to accompany the permit.


Q.    I’m missing the additional pages, outside of the dates and or times, I’m off the route indicated on the permit or other information is incorrect such as size or weight.  What do I do?

A.    First – DO NOT MOVE THE LOAD!  Any deviance from the permit terms renders the permit invalid.  A permit violation is a misdemeanor.  You, along with your company, can be issued citations.  You will not be permitted to move the load until the permit violation is corrected by adjusting the load or modifying the permit through the Los Angeles City Permit Office.


State Operating Permits

Q.    What is a CA number? What is the Motor Carrier Permit Program (MCPP)?

A.    A Carrier Identification number or CA# is an identification number issued by the DMV and registered with the CHP as a means of tracking the motor carrier permit.  The permit is issued to the motor carrier as evidence of the registration with the DMV of their (CA#), as required by CVC Section 34620.  Additionally, the permit verifies the motor carrier has met all of the statutory requirements to commercially operate motor vehicles on California's highways.  The permit contains information specific to the motor carrier (e.g., name, mailing address, CA#, and effective/expiration dates of the permit).

The CA# must be displayed on both sides of the vehicle in contrasting color.


Q.    How do I obtain a CA number and enroll in the MCPP?

A.    For more information about the application process and registration please visit the CHP website:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vehindustry/mcp/mcpinfo.htm

and

http://www.chp.ca.gov/publications/pdf/chp800e.pdf

Q.    I have a USDOT number, do I need CA #?

A.    No, the USDOT permit is acceptable.


Pick-Up Trucks Used in Commercial Applications

Q.    What is a pickup truck?

A.    Several things must exist to meet the definition of a pickup truck under 471 CVC.  The truck must have a manufacture’s maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 11,500 pounds, have an unladen weight (660 & 661 CVC) of less than 8,001 pounds and equipped with an open box type bed not to exceed 9’ in length.  

If your truck exceeds any one or all of these parameters, then it is a motor truck (CVC Section 410) and not a pickup truck.  Typically, if the truck has a flat or stake bed, a utility body or has been changed for some fifth wheel trailers by modifying the bed, then it must be registered with DMV as a motor truck. You also may be subject to Motor Carrier registration and CA Identification numbers covered elsewhere in these FAQs.

Q.    Do I have to stop at CHP inspections?

A.    Generally, no you do not have to stop unless there are signs posted or you are directed to by any police officer or CHP officer. But if your truck exceeds the definition of a pickup above, then you must stop and submit to the inspection.

Q.    I tow a large trailer with my pickup truck, is there anything I need to know?

A.    Yes, if your trailer exceeds a manufacture’s maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or the gross weight exceeds 10,000 pounds, you need a Class “A” driver’s license and medical certificate.  The requirement for a Class “A” license applies to any vehicle with a trailer over 10,000 pound GVWR except a recreational trailer with has different requirements.

Q.    I do not use my truck for hire.  I only use it for my job and I do not haul anything for anyone else, am I exempt from the above?

A.    No, the above is based on size and definitions and has nothing to do with usage.

Tow Trucks and Other Tow Vehicles

Q.    What is the definition of a tow truck?

A.    California Vehicle Code Section 615 describes a tow truck as a motor vehicle altered, designed and equipped for, and primarily used to transport vehicle or render assistance to other vehicles and:

•    Roll back (slide back) designed to carry up to two vehicles is a tow truck.
•    A trailer “for hire” being used to transport a vehicle is a tow truck.
•    “Tow truck” does not include dismantler or repossesor’s (repo) tow vehicle:
•    Dismantlers registered to a dismantler (CVC Section 11500) AND used exclusively to tow vehicle OWNED by dismantler in the course of the business.
•    Repo tow vehicle is used exclusively in repo operation and registered to repo company or licensee

Q.    What signage is required?

A.    A tow truck, dismantler’s tow vehicle and repossesor’s tow vehicle must have the name, address and telephone number on the left and right sides of the tow truck.  The lettering must be at least 2” high and in contrasting color per CVC Section 27907.

A repossesor’s tow vehicle may display the Consumer Affairs registration number (RA#) in lettering that must be at least 2” high and in contrasting color on the left and right sides of the vehicle in lieu of name, address and phone number.

Q.     What equipment is required on a tow truck?

A.    At a minimum the following equipment must be on a tow truck:
    California Vehicle Code Section 27700 CVC Required Equip [not repossesors]
(a) equipment and actions:
(1) Broom – SHALL remove debris
(2) Shovel – SHALL spread dirt to cover oil/grease on roadway
(3) Extinguisher- 4BC


Q.    What lighting equipment is required or permitted during the tow?


A.    CVC Section 24605 Required Lights

(a)    Tow/dismantler shall be equipped (with or without towed vehicle) SHALL carry a tail, stop and turn lamp and a portable electric extension cord or wireless lights

(b)    During tow -if towed vehicles lamps cannot be lighted then display “A” stop lamp and turn signal lamps. During darkness “A” tail lamp must be displayed. No other lamps must be displayed on the towed vehicle.

(c) EXCEPT – If the tow truck’s stop lamp and turn signals on each side are plainly visible.  The tail lamp requirement is still applied at night.

CVC Section 25253 WARNING LAMPS (towing disabled vehicles)

(a) must be equip flashing amber lamps [avail 24/7]
(b) MAY display while service vehicle, MAY display while towing @ speed slower than traffic flow

CVC Section 25110 Utility / Loading lamps
(a)(1) tow trucks may use loading lights, but only during period of preparation for towing at the location

Q.    How must I secure a towed vehicle to my tow truck, dismantlers or repossesor’s tow vehicle?


A.    California Vehicle Code Section 29004 (a)(2) requires, in addition to the primary towing system, two safety chains are to be attached to towing vehicle and towed vehicle – not attached to sling, lift, under-reach equip or plastic bumpers on towed vehicle.

CVC Section 29004 (b) safety chains must have sufficient strength & positive securement which means closed hooks.

CVC Section 29004 (c) safety chains must have no more slack than needed

CVC Section 29004 (e) Repossesor tow vehicles need one safety chain for the first mile from pickup location.  After one mile, two are required.

Q.    I use a roll back tow truck, are the rules different for securement?

A.    Yes, CVC Section 29004 (a)(3) requires roll back tow trucks to use 4 tie downs – not including winch line.  Above tow truck securement rules apply if you are using a stinger also.

Q.    I do not use my tow truck for hire.  I only use it for my shop, I don’t charge for the tow and I do not haul anything for anyone else.  Am I exempt from the above?

A.    No, the above is based on the definition of a tow truck and has nothing to do with usage or payment.


Parking

Q.    Can I park my commercial vehicles on the street in the City of Los Angeles?


A.    The City of Los Angeles controls commercial parking under several sections. Commercial vehicles may not park in residential zones unless making a pickup, delivery or is performing a service such as lawn care, plumbing or construction (i.e., where building permit has been issued).  This is a summary of the commercial parking rules and may not be all inclusive.  Fines range from $73.00 to $500.00 depending on type and repeat violation history.  Please read LAMC section for full details.

•    Trailers over 22’ [not in use] exceptions        80.69(a) LAMC
•    Vehicles over 6’ high, signs posted            80.69(d) LAMC
•    Unattached trailer                     80.69.1(c) LAMC
•    Commercial Vehicle parked in residential area    80.69.2 LAMC
•    Catering vehicle – Distance                80.73(b)(2)(a) LAMC
•    Catering vehicle – Exceed time limit            80.73(b)(2)(f) LAMC
•    Parking mobile billboard                87.53 LAMC

https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/city/ca/LosAngeles/Municipal/chapter08.pdf

Additionally, a vehicle transporting hazardous materials may not park unattended or overnight when placarded in residential zones (CVC Section 515).  The violation is a misdemeanor and the penalty may not exceed $1,000 (CVC Section 31303(d))

Q.    Can I park my truck in a two-way left turn lane to eat, get directions or to make a delivery or pickup?

A.    No, the two-way left turn lane is to merge in or out from private property or to make a left turn.  You may be cited for misuse of the two-way left turn lane (CVC Section 21460.5 -a point offense) or for parking over 18” from curb (CVC Section 22502(a)).

Q.    Can I leave my truck parked with the engine running on the street while I go get lunch or deliver a package?

A.    No vehicle, truck or car, can be left running while unattended (CVC Section 22515(a)).

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