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Adhering to The Illinois Vehicle Code for commercial vehicles

Adhering to The Illinois Vehicle Code for commercial vehicles


In 2010, The University of Illinois at Chicago released its annual report on traffic stops in Illinois. The report stated that over 2.3 million traffic stops were made in the state.

About 20 percent of those stops were for equipment issues such as a non-working taillight, window tint that was too dark or the vehicle was in violation of the state’s code.

For owners of commercial fleets, an equipment violation could mean thousands of dollars in fines, the necessity of pulling the vehicle from the fleet, the additional loss of revenue from the grounded vehicle and the costs associated with the legal system. To protect themselves from unnecessary hassles, businesses should make sure they understand the Illinois Vehicle Code as it pertains to commercial vehicles.

Size and length

State law is extremely precise when discussing how long and how large a commercial vehicle can be. For instance, truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer or truck tractor semitrailer-semitrailer, which are essentially the large semi trucks that haul containers, are allowed to be no larger than 60 feet in dimensions overall. The same is true for commercial vehicles designed to transport other vehicles like boats and cars.

A truck tractor, which looks closer to a passenger truck except that it has a great deal more power and is often used to pull large trailers containing horses or industrial equipment, is limited to an overall dimension of 55 feet. This does not including the length of the trailers themselves.


If commercial trucks are used for hauling trailers, equipment or products, it is important to make sure that the loads they are pulling are in adherence with the vehicle code. A towing truck company is not allowed to connect trailers to their trucks – only cars that cannot be driven. A commercial truck or van must be outfitted with a hitching ball or a fifth wheel hookup and is only allowed to tow trailers with the same setup.

Trucking companies also need to be aware that there may be some roads their vehicles are not allowed to travel on. A large tractor-trailer is generally not allowed to drive through residential neighborhoods while a service repair truck would be able to travel on any road in the state. In addition to these rules, there are guidelines for commercial vehicles in regards to the types of brakes they are allowed to have, whether they need rotating or flashing warning lights and other safety features.

Trying to adhere to the vehicle code can be confusing. Therefore, companies may find it helpful to enlist the advice of a transportation law attorney.

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