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Certain car haulers get reprieve from warning flag regs for overhanging loads

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Updated Feb 15, 2019
FMCSA has granted an exemption to stinger-steered car haulers from the warning flag requirement for overhanging loads. (Photo from Turbo Auto Transport)FMCSA has granted an exemption to stinger-steered car haulers from the warning flag requirement for overhanging loads. (Photo from Turbo Auto Transport)

Car haulers driving stinger-steered car transporter equipment are no longer required to place warning flags on overhanging loads of new cars. The exemption was granted to the American Trucking Associations’ Automobile Carriers Conference and is valid for five years through Feb. 15, 2024.

Stinger-steered tractor-trailers have a fifth-wheel hitch located on a drop frame behind and below the rearmost axle of the power unit.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will publish in the Federal Register Friday, Feb. 15, a notice that exempts these haulers from the warning flag regulations. The agency says the lack of warning flags on stinger-steered car hauler trailers would not negatively impact safety.

Federal regulations require any truck hauling a load that extends beyond the rear of the trailer by more than four feet to have the extremities of the load marked with red or orange fluorescent warning flags. The ACC, in its exemption request, stated that the 2015-passed FAST Act highway funding bill permitted stinger-steered car haulers an overhang allowance of at least six feet.

“The transportation of new motor vehicles poses a dilemma in adhering to the flag requirements,” the group said in its request. “Affixing flags or anything else to the surfaces of the vehicles is not allowed by vehicle manufacturers as it can lead to scratches and other damage to the vehicle. Auto transporters have attempted to adhere to the intent of the regulations by affixing flags at the end of the trailers. This in itself can still lead to vehicle damage by virtue of the flag rubbing on the vehicle surface. However, this attempt to comply with the regulatory intent does not adhere to the letter of the regulations and has resulted in carriers receiving numerous citations for being in violation of the flag requirements.”

Additionally, the group says cars are equipped with reflectors in the front and rear of the vehicles, adding to their visibility.

In its decision to grant the waiver, FMCSA says because the vehicles being transported extend across the entirety of the trailer and are easily identified as automobiles by the motoring public, the flags are not necessary. FMCSA adds that the car-hauling industry consists of approximately 16,000 tractor-trailers, and stinger-steered trailers are a subset of those 16,000 trucks.

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