Questions and Answers About Vehicle Size and Weight
23 CFR 658.19 Reasonable Access
23 CFR 658.19 Reasonable Access
What is reasonable access?
There are two kinds. (1) Under 23 CFR 658.19(a), States must allow commercial motor vehicles subject to Federal length and width requirements to have reasonable access between the National Network and terminals and facilities for food, fuel, repairs and rest, plus they must allow buses, household goods carriers using STAA vehicles, and under 23 CFR 658.13 (5)(iii), truck tractor and single beverage semitrailer combinations, to have access to points of loading and unloading.
(2) Under 23 U.S.C. 127(b) States must allow vehicles subject to Interstate System weight limits to have reasonable access between that system and terminals and facilities for food, fuel, repairs and rest. The FHWA has not adopted regulations to implement this requirement but access must be reasonably related to safety and highway and bridge capacities. Access under this requirement has not presented much of a problem since State weight limits are generally the same or higher than Interstate System weight limits, except in some Mississippi Valley States.
What access is reasonable for commercial motor vehicles subject to Federal length and width requirements?
States must allow access for one-mile (except for specific safety requirements) on individual routes and beyond one mile via any route that a test drive or application of vehicle templates to plans of the route show that a vehicle subject to Federal width and length requirements could safety negotiate. States must respond to a request for the designation of an access route within 90 day or the route is automatically approved.
Must States allow reasonable access routes to be used as through routes or shortcuts between National Network highways?
No. However, States may allow such use without violating Federal rules.
Does reasonable access require local authorities to allow a truck tractor to be parked at a driver's home?
No. Federal rules require States to allow Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) vehicles to have reasonable access between the National Network and terminals and facilities for food, fuel, repairs and rest. A truck tractor is not an STAA vehicle. In addition, there may be zoning restrictions against using a home as a terminal or a facility for food, fuel, repairs and rest.
What constitutes "reasonable" access between the NN and points of loading and unloading?
The same standards that determine whether access between the NN and terminals and facilities for food, fuel, repairs and rest is reasonable, i.e., can the route be safely traversed by the vehicle in question?
What kind of household goods carrier vehicles must States allow to have reasonable access between the NN and points of loading and unloading?
Only commercial motor vehicles with lengths and widths that States must allow to operate on the NN, but not including vehicles subject to the ISTEA freeze on length that may operate on the NN under provisions of Appendix C to 23 CFR 658.
What access must be allowed for a household goods carrier whose cargo includes one or more automobiles along with other household goods?
They must be allowed the same access as a household goods carrier whose cargo does not include automobiles.
What access must be allowed for a household goods carrier using an automobile transporter not over 65 feet in length (75 feet if stinger steered) to transport automobiles?
They must be allowed the same access as any other automobile transporters of those lengths, i.e., to terminals and facilities for food, fuel, repairs and rest.
Must States allow vehicles longer and wider than required by Federal law to have reasonable access between the NN and terminals and facilities for food, fuel, repairs, and rest?
No. States are not required to allow vehicles wider and longer than required by Federal law to operate on the NN and therefore they are not required to allow them to have reasonable access beyond it. This can produce anomalies, since a State with a grandfathered 53-foot semitrailer length must allow them to have reasonable access, whereas a State with a 48-foot minimum semitrailer length may determine what access they will allow for those 53-foot long.
May States require a permit as a condition for allowing reasonable access?
No. Access may be denied only on the basis of a safety and engineering analysis of an access route, usually by driving over it. Lack of a permit is not a permissible reason to deny access.
Must a State publish a list of reasonable access routes or erect highway signs showing such routes?
No. However, all States must make information regarding their reasonable access provisions available to commercial motor vehicle operators.
Would an automobile transporter configured to transport school buses be entitled to reasonable access between the National Network and terminals and facilities for food, fuel, repairs and rest?
Yes. However, access routes must be requested from a State in advance in order to allow time to determine if they are safe. Routes to schools may not have been evaluated for safety since they are not usual commercial destinations and therefore authority to use such routes may be delayed.
What is the maximum length that States may allow for semitrailers in a B-train combination?
They may allow semitrailers up to 28 feet (28.5 feet, if grandfathered) in length. If either is longer, they are subject to the ISTEA freeze on the overall length of the cargo carrying units, including the hitch between the semitrailers, as shown in Appendix C to 23 CFR 658.