Chapter 1. General Provisions of California Vehicle Code >> Division 15. >> Chapter 1.
The provisions of this division refer exclusively to the
size and weight of, and loads upon, vehicles when operated upon the
The provisions of this division, except those requiring a
permit for overweight loads, do not apply to motor trucks equipped
with snow removal devices.
(a) (1) This division does not apply to an authorized
emergency vehicle owned or operated by a governmental agency while
being used in responding to and returning from emergency fire calls,
while being moved from place to place in anticipation of emergency
fire calls, when used during training in any fire service application
or during fire prevention activities, or when vehicles ordinarily
used for those purposes are necessarily transported for vehicle
maintenance, repair, or service. This subdivision only applies to
vehicles purchased prior to January 1, 1994. Vehicles purchased on
January 1, 1992, to and including December 31, 1993, shall meet the
applicable requirements of Standards 1901 to 1904, inclusive, of the
National Fire Protection Association, as those standards were in
effect on December 31, 1991.
(2) All vehicles described in paragraph (1) first purchased on or
after January 1, 1994, shall comply with the applicable permit
requirements adopted by the Department of Transportation.
(3) For purposes of this section, "purchased" means the date that
the operating agency enters into a contract to purchase the vehicle.
(b) All vehicles described in subdivision (a) purchased on or
after January 1, 1994, shall meet the following requirements:
(1) It shall be the responsibility of the manufacturer to provide
a gross axle weight rating (GAWR), gross combined weight rating
(GCWR), and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), adequate to carry a
full water tank with the allowance for personnel and miscellaneous
equipment, including hose load, shown in the table below:
lbs. 2,000 lbs.
apparatus 600 lbs. 900 lbs.
Water towers 1,200
lbs. 1,500 lbs.
ladders lbs. 2,500 lbs.
Aerial ladders with
ladders lbs. 2,500 lbs.
Fire apparatus shall be weighed and certified by the manufacturer to
determine compliance with the table above prior to acceptance by the
purchaser. Apparatus and chassis manufacturers shall furnish
certification of the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), gross
combined weight rating (GCWR), and gross axle weight rating (GAWR) on
a nameplate affixed to the apparatus.
(2) A fire apparatus exceeding 31,000 pounds gross vehicle weight
rating (GVWR) shall be equipped with a retarder.
(3) For purposes of this section, a "fire apparatus" is a vehicle
designed, maintained, and used under emergency conditions to
transport personnel and equipment, or for the suppression of fires or
mitigation of other hazardous situations, consistent with the 2009
edition of Standard 1901 of the National Fire Protection Association.
(4) Notwithstanding the weight exemption provided for in Chapter 7
of Division 2 of Title 21 of the California Code of Regulations,
effective on July 2, 2010, nor any other provision of law, a fire
apparatus vehicle is prohibited from towing or hauling any other
vehicle or equipment while operating under an overweight permit.
(5) This chapter and Chapter 7 of Division 2 of Title 21 of the
California Code of Regulations do not limit the discretion of the
department or a local government to deny an application for an
overweight permit on the basis of good cause.
(c) A vehicle owned, operated, or rented by a public agency that
is being used in responding to or returning from an emergency, may be
operated as required, if a reasonable effort is first made by the
agency to obtain verbal permission from an authorized officer or
employee of the agency having jurisdiction of the highways used, and,
upon termination of the emergency, when the vehicle is returning
from the site of the emergency, the public agency either obtains a
permit at the location of the emergency or makes a reasonable effort
to obtain verbal permission from an authorized officer or employee of
the agency having jurisdiction of the highways used, and obtains a
written permit for that use pursuant to Section 35780 not later than
three days after the date of the emergency. As used in this
subdivision, "emergency" means a condition that poses an imminent
threat of loss of property or a hazard to life, as determined by the
public agency charged with responsibility to respond thereto.
(d) A governmental agency operating an authorized emergency
vehicle or other vehicle subject to this section is liable to the
governmental agency having jurisdiction of a state or county highway
for the damage to the highway or a highway structure caused by the
operation of the vehicle of a size or weight of vehicle or load
exceeding that specified in this division. The cost of repair of the
damage is a proper charge against the support fund of the
governmental agency operating the oversize or overweight vehicle.
(e) Neither the state nor an agency thereof is liable for damage
to a highway or highway structure caused by vehicles operated,
pursuant to this section, by or on behalf of a local authority or any
other local governmental entity.
For the purpose of this division, booms, masts, machinery or
other equipment which is not attendant to the efficient operation of
the body of the vehicle but which may be attached to the body or
chassis or connected with the driving mechanism, shall be regarded as