Rodeo participants might need CDLs

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo starts in less than two weeks – and people driving trucks in to show their livestock, or even some who have a certain-sized RV, say they’re being ticketed along the way.

The stated reason: They don’t have a DPS commercial driver’s license (CDL).

State law requires a CDL if you are working "for hire" and drive any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight exceeding 26,000 pounds.

Rasy Forest, whose daughter will compete here as part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, said that’s unfair when applied to rodeo travel.

“With the ‘for hire’ being forced upon us, we will have to get commercial insurance and put DOT numbers on our trucks,” he tells Newsradio 740 KTRH.

The current CDL weight limit was enacted in 1986. Now, more than three decades later, most trucks now weigh 14,000 pounds -- much more than decades ago -- combined with gooseneck trailers which have a pair of axles weighing 8,000 pounds each. That puts the weight at 30,000 pounds.

The law is less specific when one places a horse, motorcycle or a car-hauling trailer behind a one-ton truck or an RV. 

TXDoT is about to enforce an electronic log book mandate that could put everyone who pulls a trailer with a “dualie” truck into a position of needing a commercial license.

The law also has a CDL mile restriction exemption – one that allows farmers to “transport agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies to or from a farm, not used in the operations of a common or contract motor carrier and used within 150 air miles of the person’s farm.”

Forest said people who show livestock for as a hobby -- not for profit -- often travel across state lines for different events and easily drive beyond the 150-mile radius, even within Texas. 

Forest said a simple fix to all of the confusion – to both the owner and officer – would be a new law.

He suggested “a Class A exempt, non-commercial, license offered for those who do not haul for hire."

He also thinks there should be new wording that winning any prizes or money at an event is still "not for profit.”

Forest said he has reached out to members of Congress because the problem is found all across the nation.

DPS said troopers issue a ticket when they stop someone and the driver cannot provide the correct class of license.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo tell KTRH it is unaware of attendees having such problems.

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