Do Racing Rigs Comply With Federal Regs?

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MOORESVILLE, N.C. — The racing season is here and many racers are making the final touches on race cars and preparing for the first race. All types of trailers and tow vehicles will be crossing the highways transporting race cars to ovals, road courses and drag strips across the nation.

While racers are all set to try out new cars and new parts, there is one item many may not even know they are required by law to have on tow vehicles. Is the new federally mandated Electronic Logging Device (ELD) installed on your tow vehicle?

What is an ELD?

The ELD mandate was enacted as part of the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, more commonly known as MAP-21. In short, the mandate is removing paper logs for commercial vehicles and replacing them with electronic devices. For the most part, racers only need to worry about the ELD Mandate if the tow rig is considered a commercial vehicle, which can require operators to maintain RODS or Record of Duty Status.

So that’s only for the top teams with big rigs to worry about, right? Think again.

Just because a motorhome, toterhome, pickup truck or whatever other vehicle is used to transport a race car has a “Not For Hire” decal on the side doesn’t mean it isn’t required to operate as a commercial vehicle under the law.

While many may consider a tow rig to be a “recreational” vehicle and at times it might be, when towing a race team to the track it may be considered a vehicle being used for commerce. It’s not about the type of vehicle/trailer combination as much as it is about the weight and primary use of the vehicle.

How the law reads…

According to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, motor vehicles used in commerce (primary business) to transport passengers or property with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, or a gross combination weight of 26,001 pounds or more, including a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,001 pounds is a commercial vehicle.

"It’s always good to be familiar with the laws regarding racing rigs."

- MIke Kerchner, Speed Sport (USMA Photo)

If my tow rig fits