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FHWA Considers Revising Car Hauler Definition

The Federal Highway Administration Car Hauler Definition

What is the FHWA Considers Revising Car Hauler Definition?

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is currently considering the possibility of revising the definition of automobile transporter in order to reduce frustrating regulatory burdens on the industry.  Of course, this directly affects A1 Auto Transport, so we are very much vested in the outcome of this deliberation.  Current regulations define an “automobile transporter” as “any vehicle combination designed and used for the transport of assembled highway vehicles.”  The three main most common types of potential car haulers included in this general description are traditional, low boys, and stinger steered.  In addition, the regulations also state that car haulers must be able to carry vehicles as cargo on the truck tractor itself.  Up until now, the FHWA has taken that to mean that transporters that cannot haul cars on the tractor are not actually auto haulers.  Basically, the main category excluded by this interpretation is a traditional tractor pulling a car-hauling trailer.  This differentiation may be slightly confusing for those outside the industry, but this is a situation where a picture is worth a thousand words.

The top picture shows what is now unequivocally considered an auto transporter, and the bottom picture shows what is not.  There are several obvious differences between the two, but of course, the general purpose of each seems very similar.  The tractor-trailer rig (top) is able to transport up to twelve vehicles, so it is more often utilized to haul vehicles from manufacturing plants and rail terminals to dealerships; while the conventional tractor pulling a car-hauling trailer is limited to eight, and is most often used to move used cars for dealers, auction houses, and salvage yards.  With the current regulations not recognizing the conventional tractor as an auto transporter, there have been many cases of drivers hauling vehicles to be cited for exceeding the limit length of 53 feet allowed for traditional cargo hauling trailers.  Auto transporters are also allowed a certain amount of overhang due to their purpose, which could be extended to the tractor-trailer combination units if the definition were to be expanded.

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Although the verbiage in the current regulations has been scrutinized and pondered over for years now, it was the high demand for auto transporters because of the recent widespread hurricane damage in Texas and Florida that has brought the topic back up for debate.  The Owner-Operator Independent Driver's Association (OOIDA) is and always has been the chief proponent of instigating the change, claiming the FHWA's current interpretation of the regulation is incorrect.  The OOIDA believes that when Congress imposed the regulation, they gave permission for automobile transporters to carry vehicles on the power unit, but did not require it.  At this point in time, in an effort to avoid current congressional involvement, the FHWA is accepting comments and input from the public regarding the proposed change in regulation.  Anyone interested in weighing in on the topic has until October 16th to do so on the FHWA website here.  After the deadline, the input received from the public, along with independent studies of safety and impact will be reviewed and the FHWA will come to a decision regarding changing the definition of auto transporter or keeping it the same.

FHWA Considers Revising Car Hauler Definition

If the decision is made to update the definition, the verbiage would include “noncargo-carrying tractor-high mount automobile semi-trailer combinations” as a viable option for a car hauler.  This would mean that no one state would have the authority to subject auto transporters to standard length regulations applicable to non-car cargo.  Instead of a 53 foot limit, the allowable length would be 65 feet, same as traditional and low boy configurations.  There would also be an overhang allowance of 3 feet in the front and 4 feet in the back.  It is speculated by the executive vice-president, Todd Spencer, of the OOIDA, that the misinterpretation of the regulation could be costing the industry between “25%-50% reduction in efficiency and revenue.”  No time line has been set on the expected decision date of the proposed changes, but it is anticipated an informal ruling will be made by the end of the year.

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Amanda Williams is a mother, an author, and entrepreneur. Her pastimes include the San Diego Padres, anything and everything Disney related, reading for pleasure, running for fun, family trips to Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and Disneyland, and of course, spending quality time with her two beautiful daughters. 

Amanda is uniquely qualified to write on all things auto transport, working in the industry as a sales agent for over 10 years and also shipping cars herself on multiple occasions, all of which allowed her to learn the industry from both sides. Amanda also has a comprehensive knowledge of vehicles due to a budding passion and thirst for knowing all things automotive. 

Amanda was born and raised in the small town of Santa Cruz, California, but moved to San Diego at age 17 to pursue a degree in psychology at San Diego State University. She graduated in just 3 short years with a Bachelor's in Psychology with a Minor in Religious Studies, but chose instead to pursue a career in finance, working at multiple financial institutions before discovering her true passion for writing.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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