2013 Maryland Code
TRANSPORTATION
§ 24-104 - Height of vehicles and loads


MD Transp Code § 24-104 (2013) What's This?

§24-104.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the height of any vehicle and its load may not exceed 13 feet 6 inches.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, any person responsible for the operation of a vehicle that collides with any bridge having a clearance of less than 13 feet 6 inches shall save the owner of the bridge harmless from any liability for damages proximately caused by the low clearance.

(c) (1) While a vehicle combination is transporting farm equipment, the overall height of the vehicle combination and its load may extend up to 16 feet if:

(i) The vehicle combination is traveling on a highway for a distance not exceeding 75 miles; and

(ii) The load cannot readily be reduced in height.

(2) Any person responsible for the operation of a vehicle combination described in paragraph (1) of this subsection that collides with any bridge, overhead wire, traffic control device, or light, having a clearance of less than 16 feet, shall save the owner of the bridge, wire, traffic control device, or light harmless from any liability for damages proximately caused by the low clearance.

§ 24-104 - 1. Length of vehicles and loads

(a) Definitions. --

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) "Automobiles" means all assembled motor vehicles:

(i) Capable of being operated on a highway; and

(ii) Authorized under this article to be operated on a highway.

(3) "Maxi-cube vehicle" means a nonarticulating straight truck:

(i) In combination with a semitrailer which does not exceed 34 feet, and is designed to be loaded and unloaded through the semitrailer; or

(ii) In combination with a trailer that does not exceed 28 feet.

(4) "Saddle-mount and full-mount combinations" means a truck tractor or unloaded truck towing one or more other truck tractors or unloaded trucks in combination.

(5) "Stinger-steered automobile transporter" means a truck tractor and semitrailer combination:

(i) Designed for and engaged exclusively in the transportation of automobiles or boats; and

(ii) In which the fifth wheel is located on a drop frame behind and below the rear axle of the power unit.

(b) How length to be measured. --

(1) For purposes of this section, the length of a vehicle includes its front and rear bumpers and any part of its load that extends beyond the vehicle, but is exclusive of nonload bearing safety and energy conservation devices, such as marker lamps, steps and handholds for entry and egress, front-mounted refrigeration units, and front-mounted air compressors.

(2) The measurement of a combination of vehicles engaged in the transportation of automobiles or boats shall not include the overhang of the transported vehicles or boats or any retractable device on the rear of the combination when in use to support a transported vehicle.

(c) Exceptions for certain loads. --

(1) This section does not apply to any vehicle or combination of vehicles carrying:

(i) Piling, poles, or mill logs that do not exceed 75 feet in length; or

(ii) Crew or racing shells.

(2) This section does not prohibit the use of a combination of vehicles to carry an indivisible load if the load is not over 70 feet long.

(d) Bus, single unit truck, or Class M motor home. -- Except as otherwise provided in this section:

(1) A bus, single unit truck, or Class M motor home may not be over 40 feet long; and

(2) A publicly owned rigid bus may not be over 41 feet long.

(e) Publicly owned rigid buses; buses on interstate or primary roads systems. --

(1) This subsection does not apply to a publicly owned rigid bus.

(2) A bus or a Class M motor home may be over 40 feet long but may not be over 45 feet long:

(i) When operated on an interstate highway or any part of the State highway system designated by the Secretary in conjunction with the United States Department of Transportation; or

(ii) When operated on a highway that is not specified in item (i) of this paragraph if the bus or motor home is using the highway to travel the shortest practical route between a highway specified in item (i) of this paragraph and:

1. The point of origin or destination of the bus or motor home on a particular day;

2. A bus terminal; or

3. For a distance not to exceed 1 mile, facilities for food, fuel, repairs, or rest.

(f) Publicly owned articulated three-axle buses. -- Except as otherwise provided in this section, a publicly owned articulated three-axle bus may not be over 60 feet long.

(g) Other vehicles. -- Any other vehicle may not exceed a length of 35 feet.

(h) Semitrailer and trailer operated in combination with truck tractor. -- When a semitrailer and a trailer (double) are being operated in combination with a truck tractor, the combination of vehicles shall not be subject to an overall length limitation. This combination may only be operated on any part of the interstate system or other State system highways that are designated by the Secretary in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation, or on a highway that is the shortest practical route between a designated highway and a truck terminal, or point of origin/destination for cargo, or for a distance not to exceed 1 mile, facilities for food, fuel, repairs, or rest. A semitrailer or trailer being operated in this combination may not exceed 28 feet in length for each unit.

(i) Semitrailer operated in combination with truck tractor. -- When a semitrailer (single) is being operated in combination with a truck tractor, the combination of vehicles shall not be subject to an overall length limit, however, the semitrailer may not exceed 48 feet in length.

(j) Exceptions. -- Except as otherwise provided in this section:

(1) In a combination of vehicles with a power unit that is a cargo-carrying vehicle, the overall length of the combination may not exceed 62 feet;

(2) Any other combination of vehicles may not exceed 55 feet; and

(3) (i) 1. A truck or truck tractor and semitrailer combination designed for and engaged exclusively in the transportation of automobiles or boats may not exceed 65 feet in length;

2. A stinger-steered automobile transporter may not exceed 75 feet in length;

3. A. A maxi-cube vehicle described in subsection (a)(4)(i) of this section may not exceed 65 feet in length; and

B. A maxi-cube vehicle described in subsection (a)(4)(ii) of this section may not exceed 60 feet in length; and

4. Saddle-mount and full-mount combinations may not exceed 97 feet in length;

(ii) No other length requirements may be applied to the combinations of vehicles described in item (i) of this item; and

(iii) The combinations of vehicles described in item (i) of this item may only be operated on any part of the interstate system or other State system highways that are designated by the Secretary in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation, or on a highway that is the shortest practical route between a designated highway and:

1. A truck terminal;

2. A point of origin/destination for cargo; or

3. For a distance not to exceed 1 mile, facilities for food, fuel, repairs, or rest.

(j-1) Exceptions -- Semitrailers transporting explosives and munitions for use by Department of Defense. -- Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (j) of this section, when a semitrailer is being operated in combination with a power unit that is equipped with a dromedary box being used to transport explosives and munitions classified under 49 C.F.R. Part 173.50 that are intended for use by the United States Department of Defense, the combination of vehicles is not subject to an overall length limit, but the semitrailer may not exceed 48 feet in length.

(k) Permissible combinations operated prior to December 1, 1982. --

(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (h) of this section, nothing shall prevent the operation of a combination of vehicles in which the semitrailer (single) does not exceed 481/2 feet in length or a combination of vehicles in which the semitrailer or trailer (double) does not exceed 281/2 feet in length for each unit; provided, the combination has been lawfully operated on the highways of this State prior to December 1, 1982.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (j)(1) of this section, nothing shall prevent a power unit, which was equipped with a dromedary box, deck, or plate and was legally operated in Maryland prior to December 1, 1982, in combination with a semitrailer or trailer from exceeding the overall length limit of 55 feet.

(l) Limitation on number of vehicles to be combined. --

(1) In this subsection, "vehicle" means:

(i) A semitrailer as defined in § 11-158 of this article; or

(ii) A trailer as defined in § 11-169 of this article.

(2) Notwithstanding the overall length of the combination, a truck tractor may not be operated on a highway in the State in combination with more than 2 vehicles.

(m) Noncommercial power unit and travel trailer combination. --

(1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, a combination of noncommercial vehicles consisting of a power unit and a travel trailer may not exceed 65 feet in length.

(2) The combination of vehicles exceeding 55 feet but authorized under this subsection may only be operated on:

(i) Any part of the interstate system or other State system highways that are designated by the Secretary in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation; or

(ii) A highway that is the shortest practical route between a designated highway and:

1. A point of origin or destination on a particular day; or

2. For a distance not to exceed 1 mile, facilities for food, fuel, repairs, or rest.

§ 24-104 - 2. Length of semitrailer operated in combination with truck tractors

(a) In general. -- Notwithstanding any other provision of this title and subject to subsections (b), (c), and (d) of this section, a person may operate a semitrailer (single) in combination with a truck tractor that exceeds 48 feet in length up to a length not to exceed 53 feet.

(b) Restrictions on operation. --

(1) A vehicle combination described under subsection (a) of this section may be operated only on:

(i) Those parts of the national interstate highway system and those State highways that are designated by the Secretary, after consultation with either the county executive, the county commissioners, the County Council of Talbot County or Wicomico County, or the Mayor of Baltimore City, or their designees, as appropriate;

(ii) Except in Baltimore City, a highway, authorized by the Secretary, that is the shortest practical access route between a highway designated under item (i) of this paragraph and:

1. A truck terminal;

2. A port;

3. A point of origin or destination; or

4. For a distance not to exceed one-half mile, facilities for food, fuel, repairs, or rest; or

(iii) In Baltimore City, a street authorized by the Mayor or the Mayor's designee in conjunction with the Secretary that is the safest practical route between a highway designated under item (i) of this paragraph and:

1. A truck terminal;

2. A port facility;

3. A point of origin; or

4. A point of destination.

(2) The Secretary shall adopt regulations establishing designated highways, a method for approving access routes, and other criteria necessary to implement this subsection.

(c) Conditions. -- A vehicle combination operating under this section may operate in this State only under the following conditions:

(1) The wheelbase of the semitrailer, measured as the distance from the kingpin to the center of the rear tandem axles, may not exceed 41 feet in length.

(2) The kingpin setback, measured as the distance from the kingpin to the front of the semitrailer, may not exceed 4 feet in length.

(3) The rear overhang, measured as the distance from the center of the rear tandem axles to the rear of the semitrailer, may not exceed 35 percent of the wheelbase of the semitrailer.

(4) (i) The width of the semitrailer shall be at least 96 inches and not more than 102 inches.

(ii) The distance between the outside edges of the semitrailer's tires shall be equal to the width of the semitrailer.

(5) The semitrailer shall be equipped with:

(i) Vehicle lights which comply with or exceed federal standards; and

(ii) After December 31, 1993, or a date established by the Secretary that is at least 6 months after the effective date of the applicable federal standards, whichever is later, reflective material that is consistent with the standards for conspicuity promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(6) The semitrailer shall be equipped with a rear underride guard of sufficient strength to prevent a motor vehicle from penetrating underneath the semitrailer. The rear underride guard shall extend across the rear of the semitrailer to within 4 inches of the lateral extremities of the semitrailer, and placed at a height not exceeding 22 inches from the surface as measured when the semitrailer is on a level surface.

(7) Conspicuous warnings shall be displayed on the semitrailer, in a manner prescribed by the Administration, indicating that the vehicle combination has a wide turning radius.

(d) Special permit -- In general. -- Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, if the Secretary determines that the provisions of subsection (b) or (c) of this section are violated by a substantial number of persons or if specific provisions of subsection (b) or (c) of this section are held invalid by a binding determination of the Federal Highway Administration or a court of competent jurisdiction:

(1) The Department, after a public hearing, may issue a special permit to allow a semitrailer (single), when operating in combination with a truck tractor, to exceed 48 feet in length up to a length not to exceed 53 feet;

(2) A person may not drive or permit to be driven on any publicly maintained highway a semitrailer (single), when operating in combination with a truck tractor, that exceeds 48 feet in length up to a length not to exceed 53 feet, unless a valid special permit issued under paragraph (1) of this subsection or a facsimile of a valid special permit is carried in or on the vehicle combination; and

(3) The Secretary may adopt regulations:

(i) That are consistent with the standards established in this section, for the issuance of permits for vehicle combinations described under subsection (a) of this section; and

(ii) That exempt from the requirements of, or provide alternative requirements to, subsection (c) of this section for a vehicle manufactured before July 1, 1991, if the vehicle cannot meet the requirements.

(e) Special permit -- Conditions. -- A special permit issued under subsection (d) (1) of this section:

(1) May be issued without a fee;

(2) May be a renewable blanket permit; and

(3) Shall expire on a date determined by the Secretary.

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