Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

Driver Education illustration

Section 14 of 38

Chapter 13: Commercial Vehicles

13.020 Commercial Vehicle Registration Act of (CVRA) Weight and Weight Codes

The fees for commercial motor vehicles registered on or after December 31, 2001, are based either on the unladen weight, the declared gross vehicle weight, or the combined gross vehicle weight. Owners of commercial motor vehicles with an unladen weight of 6,001 pounds or more except pickups must complete, date, and sign a Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (REG 4008) form to declare the maximum operating weight of their vehicles with a load.

Declared GVW—The weight that equals the total unladen weight of the vehicle plus the weight of the heaviest load that will be transported on the vehicle. (Vehicles that haul a load but do not pull another vehicle).

Declared CGW—The weight that equals the total unladen weight of the combination of vehicles (motor vehicle and trailer), plus the heaviest load that will be transported by that combination (vehicles that pull another vehicle).

Motor vehicles with a GVW/CGW of 10,001 pounds or more are assessed CVRA fees rather than a weight fee (the vehicle is still subject to the registration fee, vehicle license fee, and any city/county fees). The law enforcement and county fees are higher for vehicles operating at 10,001 pounds or more, as shown in Appendices 1A and 1F.

Excluded Vehicles—The following vehicles are excluded from the CVRA:

  • Pickup trucks continue to be registered by the unladen weight and assessed a weight fee regardless of the vehicle’s GVW. The unladen weight of a pickup cannot exceed 8,000 pounds and its GVW rating must be less than 11,500 pounds.
  • Light-weight trucks, vans, taxis, and rental limousines (including charter-party carriers operating limousines that pick up and deliver airport passengers) are registered by the unladen weight only if the vehicle’s GVW is 10,000 pounds or less.
  • Commercial motor vehicles issued Special Equipment (SE) license plates or exempt license plates. These vehicles are not subject to a weight fee or CVRA fees.
  • Electric commercial vehicles and electric passenger vehicles transporting passengers for hire are subject to electric vehicle weight fees based on the unladen weight of the vehicle (refer to Appendix 1F for electric vehicle weight fees).

Original Registration and Transfer Requirements—In addition to the usual registration/transfer requirements, the following must be submitted:

  • The unladen weight, which may be estimated for commercial vehicles, including vehicles subject to the CVRA.
  • For commercial vehicles with an unladen weight of 6,001 pounds or more, complete a REG 4008 with the operating weight of the vehicle, even if the new owner will be operating the vehicle at the same weight.
  • Exception: A REG 4008 is not required for pickups with an unladen weight of 8,000 pounds or less. The registration, city, county, vehicle license fee ( VLF), and:
    • Weight fees based on the vehicle’s unladen weight for pickups with an unladen weight of 8,000 pounds or less and commercial vehicles with a gross operating weight of 10,000 pounds or less.
    • CVRA fees and the CVRA weight decal fee for commercial vehicles with a gross operating weight of 10,001 pounds or more.

Refer to Appendix 1A for City/County Fees and Appendix 1F for all other fees.

CVRA Weight Decals and CVRA Year Stickers—All CVRA-registered vehicles are issued CVRA weight decals and year stickers in addition to the regular (ACTM) year sticker. CVRA weight decals are issued once upon initial CVRA registration with CVRA year stickers. On subsequent renewals only CVRA and ACTM year stickers are issued unless the vehicle changes weight or duplicate decals are requested (CVRA and ACTM year stickers will be the same color).

  • A CVRA weight decal fee is due on each original, renewal, or change of declared GVW application. Do not waive this fee.
  • Check the newly-issued registration card for the GVW code to determine the correct decals to issue (see the chart below). The decal indicates the highest GVW/CGW at which the vehicle may be operated.

Weight and Weight Codes

Exception: Decals showing “54” are valid for a vehicle operating up to 54,999 pounds GVW/CGW.

Weight CodeGVW RangeDecal # Issued
  • Issue the CVRA weight decals and the CVRA and ACTM year stickers.
    Issue CVRA weight decals and year stickers on completed transactions only.

The CVRA weight decals and year stickers must be displayed on the right and left sides of the vehicle.

Refer to CVRA for duplicate weight decals and/or CVRA weight stickers section in this Chapter.

Multiple New Vehicle Sales—One REG 4008 (and a supplemental listing, if necessary) showing the vehicle identification number (VIN) and operating weight of each vehicle is acceptable for multiple identical new vehicles sold to the same owner on an Application for Registration of Multiple New Vehicles (REG 397A) form or on an Application For Registration Of New Vehicle (REG 397) form provided the separate REG 397 forms are submitted together to DMV with the make and VIN of the vehicle that has the REG 4008 attached, noted in the upper
portion of each REG 397.

Auxiliary Dolly/Tow Dolly—Tow dollies or auxiliary dollies are not required to be registered. The owners can opt to register tow dollies in the Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) program, as explained in Chapter 14.

Body Changes—When a body change occurs on a commercial vehicle that operates at 10,001 pounds or more, a REG 4008 must be submitted with the application to correct the body type, etc.

New CVRA weight decals and stickers must be issued if there is a vehicle weight change on completed transactions only.

California Certificate of Title/Registration Card Weight Information

  • The California Certificate of Title will display only the unladen weight.
  • The registration card will display the unladen weight if the truck is operated at 10,000 pounds or less unladen and will display the maximum declared GVW/CGW for vehicles paying CVRA fees.

Changes in Declared Operating Weight—If the declared operating weight of a vehicle:

  • Increases during the registration period, additional CVRA fees are due for the remainder of the year.
  • Decreases during a registration period, CVRA fees are not refundable. One day of operation at the higher weight causes fees to be due at that weight.

New CVRA weight decals and stickers must be issued when there is a vehicle weight change on completed transactions only.

CHP and County Fees—Vehicles subject to CVRA fees pay additional fees for SAFE, Fingerprint, Auto Theft, Abandoned Vehicle, and CHP, as shown in the Appendix 1A.

Equipment Excluded From Unladen Weight—Certain equipment is excluded when determining the unladen weight of a vehicle and is not excluded when calculating the GVW/CGW of the vehicle and its load (VC §§288 and 289).

Equipment Excluded From Weight Declaration (Implements of Husbandry)—The declared GVW of a vehicle subject to CVRA may exclude the GVW of the towed vehicle when all of the following are true:

  • The vehicle is owned by a farmer, operated by the farmer or their employees, and used only for conducting agricultural business.
  • In that business, the vehicle tows an implement of husbandry or an SE-plated vehicle.

Tow Trucks—Tow trucks used to assist the motoring public or to tow or carry impounded vehicles are subject to CVRA fees, based on the tow truck’s declared GVW, not a CGW.