Vehicle Definitions

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An “automobile” is a passenger vehicle that does not transport persons for hire. This includes station wagons, sedans, vans, and sport utility vehicles. California Vehicle Code (CVC) §465.

A “commercial vehicle” is a vehicle which is used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property (for example, trucks and pickups). CVC §260.

An “off highway vehicle” is a vehicle operated exclusively off public roads and highways on lands that are open and accessible to the public, and includes racing motorcycles, trail bikes, mini bikes, dune buggies, all-terrain vehicles, jeeps, and snowmobiles. More specific off highway vehicle information.

A “motorcycle” is generally any motor vehicle with a seat or saddle for the rider, with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, and weighing less than 1,500 pounds. CVC §400.

A “trailer coach” is a vehicle, other than a motor vehicle, designed for human habitation or human occupancy for industrial, professional, or commercial purposes, for carrying property on its own structure, and for being drawn by a motor vehicle. CVC §635.

A “park trailer” is a trailer designed for human habitation for recreational or seasonal use only that contains 400 square feet or less of gross floor area, excluding loft area space. A park trailer cannot exceed 14′ in width at the maximum horizontal projections. Health & Safety Code §18009.3 (a).

All trailers, except trailer coaches and park trailers, are registered under the “Permanent Trailer Identification” (PTI) program. For example, PTI trailers include semi-trailers, boat trailers, utility trailers, flat bed trailers, box trailers or horse trailers. CVC §468.

A “vessel” is over eight feet in length and sail-powered or motor-driven (regardless of length) that is not documented by the U.S. Coast Guard. This includes motorboats, amphibious vehicle/vessels, and inflatable vessels with motors, shuttlecraft, jet skis or wet bikes. More specific vessel information.