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(Note: All abbreviations are defined at the end of page.)
53' Semitrailer: An otherwise legal truck tractor-semitrailer combination vehicle traveling to or from a qualifying motorsports venue may have a KPRA length of up to 46 feet and a semitrailer length of up to 53 feet if operating on the designated STAA Network, and motorsports access routes that were approved by Caltrans for this exemption with the 53' semitrailer. (For approved access routes, see table titled "Track List for Motorsports Exemption" below.)
56' Semitrailer: On January 1, 2013, a new law came into effect that allows a KPRA length of up to 46 feet and a semitrailer up to 56 feet if operating on the designated STAA Network, and authorized transition routes to the race tracks. The access routes for the 53' semitrailer have been authorized for the 56' semitrailers. The 56' semitrailer allowance will sunset on January 1, 2016 unless re-authorized. (For more details on the law, see subtopic "California Law" below.)
Height & Width: Vehicle basic height law in California is 14 feet. The basic width law is 102 inches.
Length: Basic length laws in California are as follows:
STAA Truck with
STAA Truck with
Semi-trailer = no limit
|Semitrailer = 48' max
KPRA = no limit
Combination length = no limit
|Semitrailer = over 48', but 53' max
KPRA = 40' max
Combination length = no limit
|Semitrailer = 53' max
KPRA = 46' max
Combination length = no limit
|Semitrailer = 56' max
KPRA = 46' max
Combination length = no limit
Access: virtually anywhere in California.
|Access: STAA Network only!||
Access: STAA Network only!
|Access: STAA Network plus approved motorsports routes only!||Access: STAA Network plus approved motorsports routes only!|
Truck Tractor: To qualify for the motorsports exemption, the power unit must meet the definition of a "truck tractor" per the California Vehicle Code (CVC) (with bolding added):
655. (a) "A 'truck tractor' is a motor vehicle designed and used primarily for drawing other vehicles and not so constructed as to carry a load, other than a part of the weight of the vehicle and the load so drawn. As used in this section, "load" does not include items carried on the truck tractor in conjunction with the operation of the vehicle if the load carrying space for these items does not exceed 34 square feet."
Dromedaries: As stated in the definition above, "droms" may carry only items required for the operation of the vehicle. If the "droms" carry other items, the vehicle converts to a California Legal combination with a maximum allowed overall length of 65 feet.Buses & Motorhomes: A bus or motorhome is not considered a truck tractor. If it is used as a power unit, it would not qualify for the motorsports exemption. However, a bus or motorhome can certainly travel to motorsports events if it is a legal vehicle on the required routes. The legal length of a single-unit vehicle in California is 40 feet. A bus or motorhome may exceed 40 feet up to a maximum of 45 feet, provided that they stay on designated routes. The routes for the over-40' buses and motorhomes are not related to motorsports routes. When a bus or motorhome tows another vehicle, the combination cannot exceed 65 feet in length. (Go to the 45' Bus & Motorhome web page with links to a map of designated routes, and to two web pages titled "45' Buses" and "45' Motorhomes.")
Commercial vehicles are subject to all motor carrier regulations. Many of these requirements are listed and summarized on the Legal Truck Access Branch web page under Topic 1 "Truck Operations."
Motorsports definition: In the context of this law, a motorsports event is any event sanctioned under the auspices of a member organization of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States. Those events are listed in the table below.
Exemption of event activities: This exemption also applies to all activities leading up to that event, including, but not limited to, administration, testing, practice, promotion, and merchandising.Events outside California: Vehicles registered in California and participating in a motorsports event outside of the state may use the STAA Network (National Network, Terminal Access routes, and Service Access routes) within California.
In the 1990's, the Department of Transportation (Caltrans) worked with local authorities to develop the following list of designated routes for the 53' semitrailers for each motorsports venue. The 56' semitrailers are also now allowed on these routes.
Note that some routes allow only California Legal vehicles, and one allows only STAA vehicles, which means that the motorsports exemption does not apply on those routes or at those events. (See abbreviations at end of page.)
TRACK LIST FOR MOTORSPORTS EXEMPTION
|2||Shasta||Redding Drag Strip||Redding||I-5 to SR 44, go east on SR 44, go south on Airport Road, then immediately left onto Old Oregon Trail to track. (DO NOT take Rancho Rd.)|
|3||Butte||Silver Dollar Speedway||Chico||SR 99 to Skyway, go west on Skyway (Park Ave), go north on Fair St. to entrance.|
|3||Glenn||Thunderhill Park||Willows||CALIFORNIA LEGAL ONLY (40' KPRA, 65' overall) - Exemption does not apply. I-5 to SR 162.|
|3||Sacramento||Cal-Expo||Sacramento||To track: From Capital City Freeway (Business 80), go east on Exposition Blvd.
From track: Go west on Exposition Blvd, and go east on 160 to I-80.
|3||Sacramento||Sacramento Raceway Park||Sacramento||Go east on U.S. 50 from Sacramento, go east on SR 16, and go north on Excelsior Rd.|
|4||Napa||Calistoga Speedway||Calistoga at Fairgrounds||CALIFORNIA LEGAL ONLY (40' KPRA/65' overall) - Exemption does not apply. SR 29 has a 30' KPRA advisory north of SR 128. From westbound I-80, take SR 12 west to 29. From eastbound I-80, exit at SR 29.|
|4||Sonoma||Sonoma Raceway||Sonoma||I-80 to SR 37, go west on SR 37, and go north on SR 121.|
|5||Monterey||Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca||Monterey||US 101 to Laurel Drive, go west on Laurel Drive, go south on Davis Road, go east on Blanco Road, go south on SR 68 to track. (On 101, DO NOT take Sanborn or Abbot exits.)|
|5||Santa Barbara||Santa Maria Speedway||Santa Maria||CALIFORNIA LEGAL ONLY (40' KPRA/65' overall) - Exemption does not apply. US 101 to SR 166 exit, west to frontage road, then north.|
|6||Kern||Auto Club Famoso Raceway||North of Bakersfield||To track: No access to track from southbound 99. From northbound 99, go east on Famoso Rd. to track.
From track: To go south from track, go east on Famoso Road, and go south on SR 65 to southbound 99. To go north from the track, go west on Famoso Rd. and go north on 99.
|6||Kern||Bakersfield Speedway||Bakersfield||From northbound SR 99, go north on 65 one mile, go east on 7th Standard Rd. (Merle Haggard Dr.), go north on Chester Ave. (James Rd.), then north on Chester Ave (Granite Rd./Bakersfield-Glennville Rd) to track.|
|6||Kern||Willow Springs Motorsports Park||Rosamond||To track: SR 14 to Rosamond Blvd., go west on Rosamond Blvd. to track.
From track to Southbound 14: Return same way as "to track" above.
From track to Northbound 14: Go east on Rosamond past SR 14, go north on Sierra Hwy, go west on Backus, go north on SR 14.
|6||Kings||Kings Chevrolet Speedway||Hanford||SR 198 to 10th Ave. exit, go south on 10th Ave.|
|6||Madera||Madera Speedway||Madera||SR 99 to Cleveland Ave, go west to the street with the green street sign "Fairgrounds" and go south to track.|
|7||Los Angeles||Auto Club Raceway in Pomona||Pomona||(Notify Pomona Dept of Public Works 909-620-2281.) I-10 to Fairplex Dr, go north on Fairplex Dr. to LA County Fairgrounds.|
|7||Los Angeles||Grand Prix of Long Beach||Long Beach||This "track" is a street circuit. I-710 to south end of Long Beach Freeway.|
|8||Riverside||Perris Auto Speedway||near Perris||I-215 to Ramona Expressway, go east on Ramona Expressway to the to Lake Perris Fairgrounds.|
|8||San Bernardino||Auto Club Speedway||Fontana||I-15 to 4th St., go east on 4th St. to participant's entrance east of Etiwanda Ave.|
|8||San Bernardino||Orange Show Speedway||San Bernardino||I-215 to Orange Show Rd, go east on Orange Show Rd. 0.25 mi, and go north on E street to track.|
|11||Imperial||Holtville Aerodrome Int'l Raceway||Holtville||STAA VEHICLES ONLY (48' trailer/no KPRA limit or up to 53' trailer/40' KPRA limit) - Exemption does not apply. I-8 to 115, north to Norrish Rd.|
The motorsports exemption was passed via federal legislation, H.R. 2539, effective January 1, 1996.
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): The CFR, Title 23, Section 658.13(g) states: "No State shall impose a limitation of less than 46 feet on the distance from the kingpin to the center of the rear axle on trailers or semitrailers used exclusively or primarily to transport vehicles in connection with motorsports competition events."
United States Code (USC): Title 49 USC Section 31111: (a)... (b) General Limitations. - 1) Except as provided in this section, a State may not prescribe or enforce a regulation of commerce that - ... (E) imposes a limitation of less than 46 feet on the distance from the kingpin to the center of the rear axle on trailers used exclusively or primarily in connection with motorsports competition events.
1997 Exemption for 46' KPRA: California Senate Bill 1463 codified the federal motorsports KPRA exemption in California law. The bill became law on January 1, 1997.
2013 Exemption for 56' Semitrailer: California Senate Bill 1174 allowed a KPRA length of up to 46 feet and a semitrailer length of up to 56 feet if operating on the designated STAA Network, and authorized transition routes to the race tracks in California beginning January 1, 2013. This law sunsets on January 1, 2016. The law requires that Caltrans perform a field test and submit a report to the Legislature by January 1, 2014 with recommendations on whether the exemption should be re-authorized.
California Vehicle Code (CVC): The State motorsports exemption is located in the CVC Section 35401.5(g) and (h)(2). The pertinent sections are copied below (bolding added):
35401.5 (g) (1) Notwithstanding Sections 35400 and 35401, a combination of vehicles consisting of a truck tractor semitrailer combination with a kingpin to rearmost axle measurement limit of not more than 46 feet, a trailer length of not more than 56 feet, and used exclusively or primarily in connection with motorsports, may operate on the routes identified in subdivision (a) as well as on any other routes authorized for that purpose by the Department of Transportation in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol. As used in this subdivision, "motorsports" means an event, and all activities leading up to that event, including, but not limited to, administration, testing, practice, promotion, and merchandising, that is sanctioned under the auspices of the member organizations of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States.
(2) (A) The Department of Transportation shall conduct a field test of the tractor truck semitrailer combination authorized under paragraph (1) for motorsport trucks with a trailer length of 56 feet to evaluate their performance on various segments of the National Network and transition routes. The Department of Transportation shall, no later than January 1, 2014, submit a report to the Legislature in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code that includes the results of the field test and a recommendation, in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, as to whether the 56 foot trailer length should be reauthorized.
(B) Notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, the requirement for submitting a report under this paragraph is inoperative on January 1, 2018. (3) This subdivision shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2016, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2016, deletes or extends that date.
|SB = Senate Bill
KPRA = kingpin-to-rear-axle
CA = California
CVC = California Vehicle Code
I = Interstate
SR = State Route
|STAA = Surface Transportation Assistance Act, federal legislation allowing larger trucks on the National Network. See the Caltrans web page: Truck Size & Routes for more details.||STAA Network = National Network, Terminal Access routes, and Service routes. For a map showing the STAA Network, see the Truck Route Map.|
Caltrans Legal Truck Access Branch
General number (916) 654-5741
E-mail: Legal Truck Access Branch.
Return to the Caltrans "Legal Truck Access" page.