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Operators from around the nation and world are converging on the International LCT Show in Las Vegas this month, where many will be eager to check out and order all types of vehicles on the show floor. Mini-buses and limo-buses have gained the primary sales momentum in the last five years, as operators expand their services to more group ground transportation and clients increasingly gravitate to buses and vans.
With so many operators focusing on vehicles this quarter, Show-time is also an ideal period to brush up on some rules for the road that can help you operate vehicles safely, avoid mishaps, and stay on good terms with law enforcement.
Gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) may not sound as exciting as other attractions at the Show, but knowing how to buy and maintain a vehicle that complies with legal weight guidelines should be on the to-do list of every savvy chauffeured vehicle shopper.
Remember, operators are ultimately responsible for the overall load weight of their vehicles once they are on the road and being chartered for commercial uses. Your goal is to maximize safety and minimize the risk of a vehicle being sidelined and cited for GVWR violations. Here are some general tips on what to look for and ask about.
What Is GVWR?
The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), or gross vehicle mass (GVM), is defined as the maximum operating weight/mass of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer including the vehicle’s chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers and cargo but excluding that of any trailers. Curb weight describes a vehicle which is “parked at the curb” and excludes the weight of any occupants or cargo.
It’s important to understand that GVWR does not measure how much a vehicle actually weighs. A vehicle’s actual weight is the gross vehicle weight, or GVW. The two numbers should not be confused — the GVW of a vehicle is always changing, depending how many people are on board at any time, but the GVWR will remain a constant.
The calculation of GVWR is regulated by a strict set of requirements which place a per-seat weight figure based on DOTs calculation of years of averages. Those weights factor in typical weights of people at all stages of life, shape and size. Here is a definition of GVWR from the Code of Federal Regulations: *49CFR571.4(g) [(3) “Gross Vehicle Weight Rating” or “GVWR” followed by the appropriate value in pounds, which shall not be less than the sum of the unloaded vehicle weight, rated cargo load, and 150 pounds times the number of the vehicle’s designated seating positions.