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Old 10-05-2017, 06:17 AM   #1
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Has anyone used their skoolie for business purposes, even tangentially?

If we do a skoolie, it'll be used to transport us and our musical equipment to our shows. Seems that that enters a gray area of the law, and I wondered if anyone had experience with it.

When we had our motorhome, we didn't have to register it commercially nor get commercial insurance because we didn't have clients inside the motorhome at any time. However, its GVWR was only about 14,000 pounds. The last thing I'd want is to find that I'm afoul of the law for using a 26,000+ pound bus as a transport vehicle from show to show (which is how we make our living).

Anyone have experience with using their bus as a business vehicle? If yes, what are the added expenses we can expect, and how much would they likely cost? Along these lines, does anyone have experience using their bus as merely a transport vehicle from job to job as a self-employed businessperson? If yes, did you have to register it and insure it as a commercial vehicle? (If "no" to that last question, why not?)
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:50 AM   #2
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heres what I ghave done with my DEV bus.. and my business attorney said it was perfectly legal..

im a tech Guy and i wanted a mobile DEV lab .. if I had put the bus in my business's name then it couldve been fully written off as a a business expense and would be a business asset.. it could be depreceated.. yada yada just like any other asset..

BUT!!

it wouldve fallen completely under the rules of a commercial vehicle.. CDL required to drive , DOT number (logbooks, service hours, inspections, taxes) etc..

OR

I keep it in my personal name as a personal vehicle.. how can I travel in it and do anything business related?

as a tech guy what if I took my personal pickup truck and stopped in front of a starbucks to write code - it isnt required to be a business vehicle to do that... what if I take my personal pickup truck on a business trip.. same thing.. the bus is registered and insured as a motorhome (in ohio).. and its in my personal name...

now.. that said.. the only write-off i can get is what any other personal vehicle can get.. I can write the federal mileage rate off on my taxes.. thats it..

because my hobbies are also computers, home automation, etc.. a really solid case could be made if anyone qwuestioned.. that its my "hobby bus" and toy.. esp since i have taken it to classic-car shows, bus rallies, etc.. and have the fuel receipts to prove it..

chances are you likely have hobbies that coincide with your business dream.. so you could make a case that its your hobby camper and you chose to drive it to the show..

any different than a guy commuting to work in his personal car with his work laptop on the back seat??

-Christopher
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
heres what I ghave done with my DEV bus.. and my business attorney said it was perfectly legal..

im a tech Guy and i wanted a mobile DEV lab .. if I had put the bus in my business's name then it couldve been fully written off as a a business expense and would be a business asset.. it could be depreceated.. yada yada just like any other asset..

BUT!!

it wouldve fallen completely under the rules of a commercial vehicle.. CDL required to drive , DOT number (logbooks, service hours, inspections, taxes) etc..

OR

I keep it in my personal name as a personal vehicle.. how can I travel in it and do anything business related?

as a tech guy what if I took my personal pickup truck and stopped in front of a starbucks to write code - it isnt required to be a business vehicle to do that... what if I take my personal pickup truck on a business trip.. same thing.. the bus is registered and insured as a motorhome (in ohio).. and its in my personal name...

now.. that said.. the only write-off i can get is what any other personal vehicle can get.. I can write the federal mileage rate off on my taxes.. thats it..

because my hobbies are also computers, home automation, etc.. a really solid case could be made if anyone qwuestioned.. that its my "hobby bus" and toy.. esp since i have taken it to classic-car shows, bus rallies, etc.. and have the fuel receipts to prove it..

chances are you likely have hobbies that coincide with your business dream.. so you could make a case that its your hobby camper and you chose to drive it to the show..

any different than a guy commuting to work in his personal car with his work laptop on the back seat??

-Christopher
I don't want to demean your experience, because you're one of the most venerated bus experts on this forum... but I want you to look at the following link:

http://publicsafety.ohio.gov/links/HSY7605.pdf

Look at page 5.

I don't see what's ambiguous or unclear about how you must have a CDL to operate "Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more."

That's "ANY" vehicle. It made no exceptions for how the vehicle was titled or used.

Now check this out: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/part/383

The text appears clear to me that if the vehicle is being used in any business capacity whatsoever, and it weighs 26,001 pounds or more, you have to have a CDL to drive it. The answer to question 3 shows that the personal motorhome exemption ONLY applies if the vehicle is used STRICTLY for non-business purposes.

Even if you are right and your lawyer (and, presumably, any other Ohio-based lawyer I could find who does business and vehicle law) says that it'd be okay to use a >26,000lb bus as a transport vehicle for business purposes if you aren't allowing clients into the vehicle, I don't want to be sitting on the cusp of legality such that I'd have to argue a very narrow interpretation of the laws with some cop who has an axe to grind against humanity and happens to be taking it out on me for whatever reason. (I'm a generally clean-nosed guy, but for a clean-nosed guy, I have some of the worst luck with cops.) Cops don't always know the laws they try to enforce - let's face it, to study those laws to much depth would require law school, and if they graduated law school, why work as a cop when you can get at least three times as much money (and a lot less on-the-job danger) working as a lawyer?

You asked if there was a difference between this and a guy commuting to work in his personal car with his laptop on his seat. I say yes there is, and according to the law as I understand it, the difference has to do with the weight of the vehicle. I could drive a <26,001lb vehicle for business purposes as long as I wasn't transporting 15 or more people in addition to myself, without a CDL. But when the weight is 26,001 pounds or more, now it has to be used strictly for personal purposes lest it fall under the purview of CDL law.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:15 PM   #4
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:53 PM   #5
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Romani look up CDL exemptions and you'll find RV listed.

Now I m guessing commerce is likely a bit gray as I noted.. that's where hobby RV comes into play and also why I mentioned the pickup and laptop.. RVs are clearly spelled out as CDL exempt in Ohio law..
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:59 PM   #6
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You may want to look at a cost comparison between getting a CDL and commercial registration vs no cdl and rv registration. If registered to your business you could deduct the cost of the bus, the build, maintanance and the fuel off your income tax. Commerial registration and insurance may cost more than rv but maybe not. If registered as an RV you could still get the deductions but would have to separate business and personal use. Business deductuons for an RV could be a red flag for an audit to our friends at the irs.

I dont know about Ohio but here in South Dakota a CDL is not that hard to get. You take a written test at the DMV. Then you hire an examiner for pretrip inspection and driving test.
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:32 PM   #7
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You may want to look at a cost comparison between getting a CDL and commercial registration vs no cdl and rv registration. If registered to your business you could deduct the cost of the bus, the build, maintenance and the fuel off your income tax. Commercial registration and insurance may cost more than rv but maybe not. If registered as an RV you could still get the deductions but would have to separate business and personal use. Business deductions for an RV could be a red flag for an audit to our friends at the IRS.
Professional driver here.

Are you nuts? There's no way I would recommend a couple of touring artists/musicians even *CONSIDERING* commercial insurance or licensing!!! This is exempt on so many levels. Besides ...

Commercial insurance will cost you somewhere upward of $4000 per year. You read that right, over $80 per week. That doesn't include cargo insurance, nor general liability. It also doesn't include obtaining USDOT operating authority (which issues the USDOT numbers), IFTA fuel tax, eLogs (which will be mandatory very soon), and countless other commercial carrier headaches. Did I forget, *EVERY* driver and "employee" *MUST* have an application for employment on file at the "company headquarters" (and yes, you must have a permanent address for this). Yes, even the owner must have an application on file. Let's not forget your DOT physicals and drug/alcohol tests.

All this is a reality for companies hauling goods (or passengers) from point A to point B. My insurance agent tells me that hauling a few friends to the game (and even asking for some fuel money) does *NOT* constitute commercial use of a bus. The same applies hauling a couple instruments to gig (if I were a musician, which I am not), which in all reality would be no different in a personal car. Move that up to an RV, traveling from gig to gig, and the usage really isn't any different. Make that RV a converted bus (titled/registered as an RV), and still the usage is essentially the same.
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Old 10-06-2017, 05:21 AM   #8
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:00 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
All this is a reality for companies hauling goods (or passengers) from point A to point B. My insurance agent tells me that hauling a few friends to the game (and even asking for some fuel money) does *NOT* constitute commercial use of a bus. The same applies hauling a couple instruments to gig (if I were a musician, which I am not), which in all reality would be no different in a personal car. Move that up to an RV, traveling from gig to gig, and the usage really isn't any different. Make that RV a converted bus (titled/registered as an RV), and still the usage is essentially the same.
When I had my class C RV (~14,000 lbs GVWR), the insurance company said that I didn't need commercial insurance as long as clients weren't coming into the RV. Okay, check. I still don't intend for that to be the case.

However, I DO intend for whatever traveling rig we get (bus or otherwise) to be used PRIMARILY for transporting us from show to show. We don't make much money (who really does, as an artist of any kind, unless you're one of the extremely few "big guys"?), so whenever we travel much distance, almost all the time we book a sufficient number of shows along the way and/or around our destination so that we can write the trip off on our taxes. We don't travel just for personal pleasure - we book shows in a certain area and then in the in-between times, we enjoy whatever the area might bring as "personal pleasure".

It seems that CDL laws have two tiers - one which requires you to have a DOT number, physicals, IFTA registration, logs, adherence to "reset laws", etc, etc, etc... and one that does not. I imagine that what we're intending to do, even if we had to get CDLs, would not require all of that fancy stuff. But I am still concerned about the cost of insurance and the cost of getting and maintaining that CDL. If I had to have a CDL to operate a vehicle for its primary purpose, surely I would be bumped to some higher tier of insurance, making it both much more difficult to find someone willing to insure me, and much more expensive to get that insurance. I relish the thought of neither condition.

And again, even if it would be legal to drive a >26,000lb bus (titled and registered as an RV) for this purpose, I think I would find myself having to go through a lot of unwarranted hassle at the hands of cops and insurance companies who don't know the laws and aren't inclined to give me the benefit of the doubt. (After all, even people on this forum, who have a vested interest in knowing the laws about this one subject, don't seem to agree on them!) Do you reject this claim?
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
Professional driver here.

Are you nuts? There's no way I would recommend a couple of touring artists/musicians even *CONSIDERING* commercial insurance or licensing!!! This is exempt on so many levels. Besides ...

Commercial insurance will cost you somewhere upward of $4000 per year. You read that right, over $80 per week. That doesn't include cargo insurance, nor general liability. It also doesn't include obtaining USDOT operating authority (which issues the USDOT numbers), IFTA fuel tax, eLogs (which will be mandatory very soon), and countless other commercial carrier headaches. Did I forget, *EVERY* driver and "employee" *MUST* have an application for employment on file at the "company headquarters" (and yes, you must have a permanent address for this). Yes, even the owner must have an application on file. Let's not forget your DOT physicals and drug/alcohol tests.

All this is a reality for companies hauling goods (or passengers) from point A to point B. My insurance agent tells me that hauling a few friends to the game (and even asking for some fuel money) does *NOT* constitute commercial use of a bus. The same applies hauling a couple instruments to gig (if I were a musician, which I am not), which in all reality would be no different in a personal car. Move that up to an RV, traveling from gig to gig, and the usage really isn't any different. Make that RV a converted bus (titled/registered as an RV), and still the usage is essentially the same.
again why my attorney said "think hobby RV" and "laptop on the seat of a guy's pickup"

perhaps my case is easier.. but when I drive my pickup im allowed to carry my tools... it doesnt matter what vehicle I show up to work in.. my *WORK* is the server rack im installing, the phone system im programming, etc.. the attorney states that im allowed to carry my Tools to work.. whether or not you need a CDL is according to the vehicle and class - in ohio an RV is exempted so its essentially no different than a silverado truck...

I see thousands of guys carrying their tools to work on the various apartment projects every day..

their trucks are in their personal name.. not a business..

once you get Big.. ie a major travelling band with lots of members and gear.. then an LLC or S-corp is formed.. and their bus (a big prevost) is an asset of the BUSINESS not an individual member.. as the band itself is a business.. the bus carries themselves and their employees.. as well as their tools.. (guitars, speakers, amps).. *AND* merchandise for sale (commerce).. (CD's T-shirts, coffee cups, bling).. thus they carry DOT numbers and a hired CDL driver to run their bus..

2 people, one who owns the bus as a personal vehicle, neither are employees of a cmpany (if you form an LLC you both can be owners, on the board, partners, and yet not employees).. carrying your Tools (guitars, amps, speakers).. ship your box od CD's and bling to the venue if you are worried about good for commerce...



now am I allowed to bring with me the server rack and phone system to the job site? im sure this one is debatable as im carrying goods for the purpose of Commerce... then again im allowed to do so in my personal vehicle..

romani is right in the sense that someone COULD try to create hastle if they wanted to.. have I ever carried a server rack in my pickup truck? yep.. have I ever carried a couple cases of polycom phones in my Bus? yep.. was i illegal in doing so?? does anyone really know?

drive so you dont get noticed and you dont have any issues.. be cordial, polite, and forthcoming to any officer and you likely hop back on the road if stopped..

many forum members drive their fully painted, fully outfitted Yellow school busses across the country.. safely, quietly, and unnoiticed by authorities..


its up to you to run your business as you see fit, and you should have a meeting with your attorney who set up your band business and have these discussions with them. ive gone through it with my business and determined best how to handle it when I want to drive my bus to a customer's site..

-Christopher
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:38 PM   #11
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CadillacKid, I do believe that your situation is easier. Nobody gave us any hassle going from show to show with our Class C, but that's because it was only 14,000 pounds. Nobody would care if we used a pickup truck either - and we have. (Full size diesel crew cab long bed, weighed almost 8,000 pounds empty. Nobody cared.)

Who would care? It's under 26,000 pounds.

It really doesn't matter how well we drive. I fancy myself a really good driver - I've gone well over a half million miles thus far with no at-fault accidents and the only two times I've ever gotten speeding tickets were when I did not see a speed limit sign. (Both times, I had good reasoning, I wasn't speeding that much, and the speed at which I was clocked matched a reasonable assumed speed limit. First time - 55 in a 45. Saw no sign, four lanes one way, interstate access road, figured 55 was reasonable. Second time - 51 in a 35. Previous limit was 50, saw no sign. Didn't matter either time. Got a ticket both times. That's my luck with cops.)

The rest of my luck with cops goes like this:

-First time I was ever pulled over, age 19: Blown rear license plate light in my parents' car. Didn't get a ticket, but man, did that guy ever hassle me. "I've heard that last name before, have you ever had your license revoked?" "No sir, I've never even been pulled over before." (Yeah, sure, you heard my name before, okay.)

-Pulled over for swerving within my lane when someone called to report me. Cop said he noticed me swerving a little bit but never did I touch either lane boundary. (I was eating... maybe that had something to do with it... but really!) No ticket.

-Pulled over for my right passenger-side tire briefly entering the bike lane at the side of the road as I executed a left turn. (Look, it's midnight. Nobody was on the road but me... and you. I checked both sides before turning, as well as both bike lanes. My car (the '72 Caddy) is 20 feet long and 7 feet wide. There's a median that I had to avoid, so I had to turn wide. I couldn't help the tire briefly entering the empty bike lane.) No ticket.

-Twice have I been nailed for an expired registration on the day after it expired - as in, it expired on like 8/31 and I got a ticket on 9/1. I wasn't even intentionally driving on an expired registration.

-Got pulled over for an expired inspection sticker, AT NIGHT, while driving... TWICE!! How a cop could see my expired sticker in the dark while driving the opposite way at a relative speed of at least 70 mph (we were both going ~35) still mystifies me. First time, the cop was tailgating me without the cherries and berries on, so I turned off onto a side street. He followed and then put his lights on. No ticket, but he asked why I pulled off. "Well, you were following me really closely, figured you had somewhere to be so I got out of your way." (Okay, that was a lie. The truth would have been "Who wants a cop following them?") The second time, the cop was a jerk. While hassling me, he said that my manner suggested that I was going to jump him or something. "No sir, you have a gun and I don't. Why would I do such a thing?" I got a ticket that time, but someone who was that much of a jerk was going to give me one anyway.

-Got ticketed for failing to change lanes (while in Texas with Pennsylvania license plates) when a cop was pulled over at the side with his lights on. I didn't think I could move over in that traffic, and it turned out that he was lying in wait for people. I managed to get out of that ticket ex post facto by writing the cop a letter, explaining why I had no idea that that was the law. Fortunately, he agreed that there was inadequate roadside signage indicating this law, especially since that law was not universal across all states, and many states with that law provided many large roadside signs stating so.

-Got rousted by a cop when sleeping in my car in a pull-off at the side of the road. Still don't know why - I think the guy just wanted to see if I was drunk. No ticket.

-Got hassled for making out with my girlfriend in a parked car, a total of three times - once each in three entirely different jurisdictions. No tickets.

-Got pulled over because my wife's car, which I was driving, was sporting a license plate cover which obscured the left half of "T" and the right half of "S" in the word "TEXAS" at the top of the plate. (She got the cover in Ohio. And, like the Texas-shaped dot between the first three characters and the last four, as well as the phrase "The Lone Star State" at the bottom, coupled with what could be seen of "TEXAS", wouldn't have been enough of a clue to anyone who was curious!) No ticket.

-Got the cops called on me, twice, because I was expressing displeasure at being treated in what I felt was an unprofessional manner, in a vocal volume not exceeding "normal conversational". (Once was at the DMV - really, you never encounter people who are displeased with your service? Other time was after having left a private business. AFTER HAVING LEFT. Just when I thought people couldn't stoop any lower. And really - it's that unreasonable that I would be displeased with y'all when you told me on the phone that you could do the job I specified, and then you told me when I got there that you never do that job? I'm supposed to accept that with a smile? It's not like I threatened you or anything. I was displeased, I made you aware of that, I walked out, I drove off at a reasonable speed without peeling away nor kicking up stones.) No tickets, no trouble.

-Skidded on black ice and slid across the road onto the grass on the other side... IN FRONT OF A COP. No, I wasn't speeding. Yes, I got a ticket.

Are you adequately convinced? For a guy with zero criminal history ever, and zero at-fault accidents ever, I have the worst luck with cops. And really, it's not just cops. If I CAN get into trouble for something, bet your money that I WILL, because most of the time that's what happens. (I guess it serves to help me keep my nose clean, but it's still a real nuisance. How those barbaric criminals manage to get away with doing what they do, and a good guy like me keeps getting hassled and busted, I may never know.)

Plus, I wasn't intending to keep the bus yellow. I want to paint my traveling rig in bright colors, or at least whatever my wife and my artistic leanings dictate at the time. I'm a hippie, she's at least somewhat hippie... so an "invisible big yellow bus" it wouldn't be. It'd be more like "Furthur" from Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. (Watch the movie "Magic Trip", or look up pictures of "Furthur" to see what I mean. Yeah, a hippie bus.) The point of that is because I WANT our traveling rig to attract attention. Yes, we're musical performers, but I have a much deeper desire... to change the world, or more specifically the entire system of human interaction that most of us know. It's the source of incalculable negativity and it will have to change at some point - I just want to see the change happen in a relatively peaceful manner, as opposed to the calamitous manner that would be the outcome of permitting the current system to exist until it (inevitably) collapses under the weight of its own impossible aspirations. I have written a book about this.

Oh, ya know what else? We got dropped by State Farm for having too many comprehensive insurance claims. We had three claims, and actually four incidents... since they were all comprehensive, that means that none of them was legally considered our fault... but we still ended up in the body shop three times (twice on account of animals, once on account of a near-miss when a guy cut across the road in front of us and the panic stop required to avoid a collision made a speaker stand fly forward and shatter the touch-screen on our radio). Naturally, if I had been driving a bus when that guy cut across the road, I wouldn't have been able to stop in time to avoid hitting him. I've never once had a liability claim, and my one and only collision claim - for maybe $400 - was more than made up for, in increased premiums... and it happened like 11 years ago. Yet, I got dropped.

There is NO WAY that I am going to be able to drive so as to avoid being noticed. Not only is that seemingly not my lot in life, but I intend to embrace it for the furtherance of my real dream.

This is why I MUST be well within the law, even when broadly interpreted, so that I don't have trouble.

We don't have a business attorney. Our "band business" is simple self-employment. That's worked so far and I see no reason to change it.
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:49 PM   #12
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Weight of the RV is not an issue in the majority of states, my blue bird wanderlodge weighs 28,000 pounds empty, no cdl needed, just do not paint your band name on the side as advertisement
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
CadillacKid, I do believe that your situation is easier. Nobody gave us any hassle going from show to show with our Class C, but that's because it was only 14,000 pounds. Nobody would care if we used a pickup truck either - and we have. (Full size diesel crew cab long bed, weighed almost 8,000 pounds empty. Nobody cared.)

Who would care? It's under 26,000 pounds.

It really doesn't matter how well we drive. I fancy myself a really good driver - I've gone well over a half million miles thus far with no at-fault accidents and the only two times I've ever gotten speeding tickets were when I did not see a speed limit sign. (Both times, I had good reasoning, I wasn't speeding that much, and the speed at which I was clocked matched a reasonable assumed speed limit. First time - 55 in a 45. Saw no sign, four lanes one way, interstate access road, figured 55 was reasonable. Second time - 51 in a 35. Previous limit was 50, saw no sign. Didn't matter either time. Got a ticket both times. That's my luck with cops.)

The rest of my luck with cops goes like this:

-First time I was ever pulled over, age 19: Blown rear license plate light in my parents' car. Didn't get a ticket, but man, did that guy ever hassle me. "I've heard that last name before, have you ever had your license revoked?" "No sir, I've never even been pulled over before." (Yeah, sure, you heard my name before, okay.)

-Pulled over for swerving within my lane when someone called to report me. Cop said he noticed me swerving a little bit but never did I touch either lane boundary. (I was eating... maybe that had something to do with it... but really!) No ticket.

-Pulled over for my right passenger-side tire briefly entering the bike lane at the side of the road as I executed a left turn. (Look, it's midnight. Nobody was on the road but me... and you. I checked both sides before turning, as well as both bike lanes. My car (the '72 Caddy) is 20 feet long and 7 feet wide. There's a median that I had to avoid, so I had to turn wide. I couldn't help the tire briefly entering the empty bike lane.) No ticket.

-Twice have I been nailed for an expired registration on the day after it expired - as in, it expired on like 8/31 and I got a ticket on 9/1. I wasn't even intentionally driving on an expired registration.

-Got pulled over for an expired inspection sticker, AT NIGHT, while driving... TWICE!! How a cop could see my expired sticker in the dark while driving the opposite way at a relative speed of at least 70 mph (we were both going ~35) still mystifies me. First time, the cop was tailgating me without the cherries and berries on, so I turned off onto a side street. He followed and then put his lights on. No ticket, but he asked why I pulled off. "Well, you were following me really closely, figured you had somewhere to be so I got out of your way." (Okay, that was a lie. The truth would have been "Who wants a cop following them?") The second time, the cop was a jerk. While hassling me, he said that my manner suggested that I was going to jump him or something. "No sir, you have a gun and I don't. Why would I do such a thing?" I got a ticket that time, but someone who was that much of a jerk was going to give me one anyway.

-Got ticketed for failing to change lanes (while in Texas with Pennsylvania license plates) when a cop was pulled over at the side with his lights on. I didn't think I could move over in that traffic, and it turned out that he was lying in wait for people. I managed to get out of that ticket ex post facto by writing the cop a letter, explaining why I had no idea that that was the law. Fortunately, he agreed that there was inadequate roadside signage indicating this law, especially since that law was not universal across all states, and many states with that law provided many large roadside signs stating so.

-Got rousted by a cop when sleeping in my car in a pull-off at the side of the road. Still don't know why - I think the guy just wanted to see if I was drunk. No ticket.

-Got hassled for making out with my girlfriend in a parked car, a total of three times - once each in three entirely different jurisdictions. No tickets.

-Got pulled over because my wife's car, which I was driving, was sporting a license plate cover which obscured the left half of "T" and the right half of "S" in the word "TEXAS" at the top of the plate. (She got the cover in Ohio. And, like the Texas-shaped dot between the first three characters and the last four, as well as the phrase "The Lone Star State" at the bottom, coupled with what could be seen of "TEXAS", wouldn't have been enough of a clue to anyone who was curious!) No ticket.

-Got the cops called on me, twice, because I was expressing displeasure at being treated in what I felt was an unprofessional manner, in a vocal volume not exceeding "normal conversational". (Once was at the DMV - really, you never encounter people who are displeased with your service? Other time was after having left a private business. AFTER HAVING LEFT. Just when I thought people couldn't stoop any lower. And really - it's that unreasonable that I would be displeased with y'all when you told me on the phone that you could do the job I specified, and then you told me when I got there that you never do that job? I'm supposed to accept that with a smile? It's not like I threatened you or anything. I was displeased, I made you aware of that, I walked out, I drove off at a reasonable speed without peeling away nor kicking up stones.) No tickets, no trouble.

-Skidded on black ice and slid across the road onto the grass on the other side... IN FRONT OF A COP. No, I wasn't speeding. Yes, I got a ticket.

Are you adequately convinced? For a guy with zero criminal history ever, and zero at-fault accidents ever, I have the worst luck with cops. And really, it's not just cops. If I CAN get into trouble for something, bet your money that I WILL, because most of the time that's what happens. (I guess it serves to help me keep my nose clean, but it's still a real nuisance. How those barbaric criminals manage to get away with doing what they do, and a good guy like me keeps getting hassled and busted, I may never know.)

Plus, I wasn't intending to keep the bus yellow. I want to paint my traveling rig in bright colors, or at least whatever my wife and my artistic leanings dictate at the time. I'm a hippie, she's at least somewhat hippie... so an "invisible big yellow bus" it wouldn't be. It'd be more like "Furthur" from Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. (Watch the movie "Magic Trip", or look up pictures of "Furthur" to see what I mean. Yeah, a hippie bus.) The point of that is because I WANT our traveling rig to attract attention. Yes, we're musical performers, but I have a much deeper desire... to change the world, or more specifically the entire system of human interaction that most of us know. It's the source of incalculable negativity and it will have to change at some point - I just want to see the change happen in a relatively peaceful manner, as opposed to the calamitous manner that would be the outcome of permitting the current system to exist until it (inevitably) collapses under the weight of its own impossible aspirations. I have written a book about this.

Oh, ya know what else? We got dropped by State Farm for having too many comprehensive insurance claims. We had three claims, and actually four incidents... since they were all comprehensive, that means that none of them was legally considered our fault... but we still ended up in the body shop three times (twice on account of animals, once on account of a near-miss when a guy cut across the road in front of us and the panic stop required to avoid a collision made a speaker stand fly forward and shatter the touch-screen on our radio). Naturally, if I had been driving a bus when that guy cut across the road, I wouldn't have been able to stop in time to avoid hitting him. I've never once had a liability claim, and my one and only collision claim - for maybe $400 - was more than made up for, in increased premiums... and it happened like 11 years ago. Yet, I got dropped.

There is NO WAY that I am going to be able to drive so as to avoid being noticed. Not only is that seemingly not my lot in life, but I intend to embrace it for the furtherance of my real dream.

This is why I MUST be well within the law, even when broadly interpreted, so that I don't have trouble.

We don't have a business attorney. Our "band business" is simple self-employment. That's worked so far and I see no reason to change it.

a) Only commit 1 (one) crime at a time.

b) Testing people with a fork has consequences.
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:18 AM   #14
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,817
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
for one, the bus in question in my posts is GVWR 27,500.. my original plan was to Lease a Brand new short bus from my local rush truck center.. I was actually already studying to get a CDL.. then I learned (yes from the attorney).. that id have had to get a DOT number and all that.. oh then said brand new bus broke down on the test drive....

anyway back on track.. I went to the trouble of consulting an attorney because they know such laws.. they deal with this kind of stuff or can research it as to pertains to all of our unique situations..

simple self employment is great for simple situations.. this is obviously something that both of us can agree is "grey" and you want to take the "grey" and make it more black and white (and i agree with that theory.. hence why I dug into it much deeper)..

my comment about the yellow bus wasnt to imply you keep your bus yellow.. it was simply to imply that we dont necessarily stand out as much as you think we do..

there seems to be a common theme with many of your police stops.. late at night and alone.. *YES* the cops have a hard-on for anyone alone late at night.. and yeah it sucks.. I used to be a club DJ in Gay Techno clubs in the 90s.. cops totally wanted to Bust people coming from gay bars.. I got stopped more than once .. never had a drop to drink (the drunk that hit me head on in 1989 cured me of drinking and driving before i ever thought about doing it).. and never got a ticket...

there ARE busses out there that are under 26000 lbs GVWR.. (my bluebird shorty is 17500). but again in ohio read the CDL exemptions.. and your converted school bus is essentially a class A at that point.. titled, registered as an RV.. and section 4501.X states this..

I cant state what works for you.. I know what worked for me, and having an attorney that backed it up was important to me should it have ever come to that.
-Christopher
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Old 10-07-2017, 09:41 AM   #15
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Lake geneva Wisconsin
Posts: 199
Year: 93
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 idi
I was told your rv could weight a million pounds and it doesn't matter. Cause its just an r.v. thats in illinois. When i titled my bus as a motorhome i asked if i needed air brake endorsement and cdl. Guy said no cause its for personal use. I looked and that seems to be the case all over the u.s.a canada i think you need air brake endorsement.
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Old 10-07-2017, 09:44 AM   #16
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Lake geneva Wisconsin
Posts: 199
Year: 93
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 idi
So not sure why it matters if its over 26000 lbs. Even when i registered it she asked if the weight was between 20,000 and 99,000 lbs i said yes. So guess my bus could be 99,000 lbs and I'd have zero issue while driving.
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Old 10-07-2017, 09:49 AM   #17
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Lake geneva Wisconsin
Posts: 199
Year: 93
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 idi
I'd say don't paint your band name on the side of the bus and don't offer up any information to police other than whats necessary. You'll be fine. Most regular cops don't know or care about d.o.t law.
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:47 AM   #18
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,950
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
It is my experience (and I remember reading this somewhere) that "cops are visual predators", they look for things "out of place". If you are driving with the flow of traffic, even if everyone is going 80, they can't stop everyone, and it all becomes "part of the scenery". However, that one car going 85, weaving in and out of traffic, that's the one that's going to draw attention, and guess who's getting a ticket?

Large buses, even those painted bright and wild colors, generally don't travel faster than the flow of traffic and most don't weave in and out aggressively. As such, they blend in and become part of the scenery, so to speak. Sure, some of the larger buses can easily get up to a pretty good speed, but they are usually driven by professional CDL drivers (I'm referring to Greyhound and charter/private buses here), they still can't be driven too aggressively as they're top heavy and can flip over if a hard turn is made. I rarely (if ever) see Greyhound type buses pulled over for traffic violations, if anything, it's usually for a breakdown.
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Old 10-07-2017, 12:28 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 342
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
I don't want to demean your experience, because you're one of the most venerated bus experts on this forum... but I want you to look at the following link:

http://publicsafety.ohio.gov/links/HSY7605.pdf

Look at page 5.

I don't see what's ambiguous or unclear about how you must have a CDL to operate "Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more."

That's "ANY" vehicle. It made no exceptions for how the vehicle was titled or used.

Now check this out: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/part/383

The text appears clear to me that if the vehicle is being used in any business capacity whatsoever, and it weighs 26,001 pounds or more, you have to have a CDL to drive it. The answer to question 3 shows that the personal motorhome exemption ONLY applies if the vehicle is used STRICTLY for non-business purposes.

Even if you are right and your lawyer (and, presumably, any other Ohio-based lawyer I could find who does business and vehicle law) says that it'd be okay to use a >26,000lb bus as a transport vehicle for business purposes if you aren't allowing clients into the vehicle, I don't want to be sitting on the cusp of legality such that I'd have to argue a very narrow interpretation of the laws with some cop who has an axe to grind against humanity and happens to be taking it out on me for whatever reason. (I'm a generally clean-nosed guy, but for a clean-nosed guy, I have some of the worst luck with cops.) Cops don't always know the laws they try to enforce - let's face it, to study those laws to much depth would require law school, and if they graduated law school, why work as a cop when you can get at least three times as much money (and a lot less on-the-job danger) working as a lawyer?

You asked if there was a difference between this and a guy commuting to work in his personal car with his laptop on his seat. I say yes there is, and according to the law as I understand it, the difference has to do with the weight of the vehicle. I could drive a <26,001lb vehicle for business purposes as long as I wasn't transporting 15 or more people in addition to myself, without a CDL. But when the weight is 26,001 pounds or more, now it has to be used strictly for personal purposes lest it fall under the purview of CDL law.
i once was stopped in Tennessee cop (hp) said i was speeding 5 mph over and could get a ticket for that then said that i should have been in the right lane (even tho i was taking a left exit off the interstate in less than 2 miles) and finally was going to give me a ticket for impeding traffic flow. so i said im being cited for going too fast and going too slow and not able to use a left exit ???? got lucky as he just said to watch myself and left
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Old 10-07-2017, 12:29 PM   #20
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 342
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
moral of the story is not all cops will like you
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