Now the DOT is messing
had a different article ready to send to Jeff for this month
but I deleted it after I made about 7 phone calls that pertained
to a situation that a friend of mine went through. What
I am about to write about could possibly affect EVERY RACER
who races for a cash purse or deducts the expenses and show
the incomes they get from racing.
I will start by telling you a short story
that involves a good friend and a guy who wouldn’t
have the “attitude” that might cause a Department
of Transportation enforcement officer to be an ass. If anything,
I would say this racer would probably accommodate the officer
and ask what he needed to be doing differently. The next
series of events came about as close to leaving me speechless
as the “contingency thing."
Here is this racer towing down the highway
minding his own business with his standard cab Dodge dually
and 30’ fifth-wheel enclosed trailer with a dragster
inside. The lights come on behind him and he pulls over.
Not sure why he is pulled over he just sits and waits, as
an excuse isn’t needed. The DOT Enforcement Officer
is polite enough and asks for his driver’s license
and registration. No big deal so far. A few minutes later
he asks for the trailer registration (no problem, got that),
a driver’s logbook (uh-oh!), a medical card and the
commercial registration for the truck (double uh-oh!). About
now he asks why all that stuff is needed. The response is
the part that scares me and should scare you as well.
Before I go into some more details…check
this part out. Since this racer had no logbook (do any of
us?) the DOT Officer informs him he had to park the trailer
for 10 hours since there is no way he can be sure this racer
has driven more than the allowed 14 hours that day.
He told the racer to follow him to the DOT scale area and
that he had to park the trailer, unhook and leave the area!!!
Let’s see, no insurance on the racecar and parts,
no security to keep an eye on it and the DOT told him they
are not responsible. You cannot stay there to protect it.
How often would you leave your race trailer, race car and
tools sitting at a weigh station for 10 hours and you not
be there? That bothers me more than meeting the requirements.
What do you think?
The DOT officer then goes into the whole deal
about commercial businesses and what determines them from
a hobby, etc, etc. Bottom line, towing your race car to
the races where you race for cash is now determined to be
a commercial enterprise. This occurred in Wisconsin and
I thought it might be a strange law there. I called the
Iowa DOT and they explained it the same way. If you weigh
over 10,000 pounds (truck, trailer and cargo) you are determined
to be a commercial enterprise if you race for money and
or deduct your racing expenses from your IRS taxes and show
the winnings on a an IRS #1099.
You can call it a hobby and probably lie to
the DOT officer about it being a hobby, but if he makes
the right calls you'd better not tell him you race for trophies
when he finds out where you are going or coming from. The
officer I talked to also said if they run into a hassle
they have the authority to make arrests, have trailers and
trucks towed, etc, etc. In other words, these guys have
all the power they need to enforce the law, as they or their
superiors understand it.
I also asked this officer if putting on labels
such as “Not For Hire” or “Recreational
Vehicle” made vehicles exempt. His answer was short,
“No." A vehicle is either going to be considered
a commercial vehicle or it isn’t.
I am pretty sure most states will be following
these same guidelines and at the very least you need to
check them out. Each state DOT should have a website or
be listed in the State Government Offices in your phone
Breaking it down: I received a 65-page document
via email from the Iowa DOT that outlined this whole scenario.
These are the basics as close as I can get to understanding
it all. I do feel it is important for each of you to look
into this in your state and be prepared. You may never be
checked but then again, YOU MAY BE NEXT!