(a) Eligibility. A motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle,
designed or used primarily for the transportation of property, including
any passenger car that has been reconstructed to be used, and is being
used, primarily for delivery purposes, with the exception of a passenger
car used in the delivery of the United States mails, must be registered
as a commercial vehicle.
(b) Commercial vehicle registration classifications.
(1) Apportioned license plates. Apportioned license
plates are issued in lieu of Combination, Motor Bus, or Truck license
plates to Texas carriers who proportionally register their fleets
in other states, in conformity with §217.56 of this title (relating
to Registration Reciprocity Agreements).
(2) City bus license plates. A street or suburban bus
shall be registered with license plates bearing the legend "City Bus."
(3) Combination license plates.
(A) Specifications. A truck or truck tractor with a
gross weight in excess of 10,000 pounds used or to be used in combination
with a semitrailer having a gross weight in excess of 6,000 pounds,
may be registered with combination license plates. Such vehicles must
be registered for a gross weight equal to the combined gross weight
of all the vehicles in the combination, but not less than 18,000 pounds.
Only one combination license plate is required and must be displayed
on the front of the truck or truck tractor. When displaying a combination
license plate, a truck or truck tractor is not restricted to pulling
a semitrailer licensed with a Token Trailer license plate and may
legally pull semitrailers and full trailers displaying other types
of Texas license plates or license plates issued out of state. The
following vehicles are not required to be registered in combination:
(i) trucks or truck tractors having a gross weight
of less than 10,000 pounds or trucks or truck tractors to be used
exclusively in combination with semitrailers having gross weights
not exceeding 6,000 pounds;
(ii) semitrailers with gross weights of 6,000 pounds
or less, or semitrailers that are to be operated exclusively with
trucks or truck tractors having gross weight of less than 10,000 pounds;
(iii) trucks or truck tractors used exclusively in
combination with semitrailer-type vehicles displaying Machinery, Permit,
or Farm Trailer license plates;
(iv) trucks or truck tractors used exclusively in combination
with travel trailers and manufactured housing;
(v) trucks or truck tractors to be registered with
Farm Truck or Farm Truck Tractor license plates;
(vi) trucks or truck tractors and semitrailers to be
registered with disaster relief license plates;
(vii) trucks or truck tractors and semitrailers to
be registered with Soil Conservation license plates;
(viii) trucks or truck tractors and semitrailers to
be registered with U.S. Government license plates or Exempt license
plates issued by the State of Texas; and
(ix) vehicles that are to be issued temporary permits,
such as 72-Hour Permits, 144-Hour Permits, One Trip Permits, or 30-Day
Permits in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.094 and §502.095.
(B) Converted semitrailers. Semitrailers that are converted
to full trailers by means of auxiliary axle assemblies will retain
their semitrailer status, and such semitrailers are subject to the
combination and token trailer registration requirements.
(C) Axle assemblies. Various types of axle assemblies
that are specially designed for use in conjunction with other vehicles
or combinations of vehicles may be used to increase the load capabilities
of such vehicles or combinations.
(i) Auxiliary axle assemblies such as trailer axle
converters, jeep axles, and drag axles, which are used in conjunction
with truck tractor and semitrailer combinations, are not required
to be registered; however, the additional weight that is acquired
by the use of such axle assemblies must be included in the combined
gross weight of the combination.
(ii) Ready-mixed concrete trucks that have an auxiliary
axle assembly installed for the purpose of increasing a load capacity
of such vehicles must be registered for a weight that includes the
(D) Exchange of Combination license plates. Combination
license plates shall not be exchanged for another type of registration
during the registration year, except that:
(i) if a major permanent reconstruction change occurs,
Combination license plates may be exchanged for Truck license plates,
provided that a corrected title is applied for;
(ii) if the department initially issues Combination
license plates in error, the plates will be exchanged for license
plates of the proper classification;
(iii) if the department initially issues Truck or Trailer
license plates in error to vehicles that should have been registered
in combination, such plates will be exchanged for Combination and
Token Trailer license plates; or
(iv) if a Texas apportioned carrier acquires a combination
license power unit, the Combination license plates will be exchanged
for Apportioned license plates.
(4) Cotton Vehicle license plates. The department will
issue Cotton Vehicle license plates in accordance with Transportation
Code, §504.505 and §217.45 of this title (relating to Specialty
License Plates, Symbols, Tabs, and Other Devices).
(5) Forestry Vehicle license plates. The department
will issue Forestry Vehicle license plates in accordance with Transportation
Code, §504.507 and §217.45 of this title.
(6) In Transit license plates. The department may issue
an In Transit license plate annually to any person, firm, or corporation
engaged in the primary business of transporting and delivering by
means of the full mount, saddle mount, tow bar, or any other combination,
new vehicles and other vehicles from the manufacturer or any other
point of origin to any point of destination within the State. Each
new vehicle being transported, delivered, or moved under its own power
in accordance with this paragraph must display an In Transit license
plate in accordance with Transportation Code, §503.035.
(7) Motor Bus license plates. A motor bus as well as
a taxi and other vehicles that transport passengers for compensation
or hire, must display Motor Bus license plates when operated outside
the limits of a city or town, or adjacent suburb, in which its company
is franchised to do business.
(8) Token Trailer license plates.
(A) Qualification. The department will issue Token
Trailer license plates for semitrailers that are required to be registered
(B) Validity. A Token Trailer license plate is valid
only when it is displayed on a semitrailer that is being pulled by
a truck or a truck tractor that has been properly registered with
Forestry Vehicle (in accordance with Transportation Code, §504.507),
Combination (in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.255),
or Apportioned (in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.091)
license plates for combined gross weights that include the weight
of the semitrailer, unless exempted by Transportation Code, §502.094
(C) House-moving dollies. House-moving dollies are
to be registered with Token Trailer license plates and titled as semitrailers;
however, only one such dolly in a combination is required to be registered
and titled. The remaining dolly (or dollies) is permitted to operate
unregistered, since by the nature of its construction, it is dependent
upon another such vehicle in order to function. The pulling unit must
display a Combination or Apportioned license plate.
(D) Full trailers. The department will not issue a
Token Trailer license plate for a full trailer.
(9) Tow Truck license plates. A Tow Truck license plate
must be obtained for all tow trucks operating and registered in this
state. The department will not issue a Tow Truck license plate to
tow trucks that are not registered in compliance with Transportation
Code, Chapter 643.
(c) Application for commercial vehicle registration.
(1) Application form. An applicant shall apply for
commercial license plates through the appropriate county tax assessor-collector
upon forms prescribed by the director and shall require, at a minimum,
the following information:
(A) owner name and complete address;
(B) complete description of vehicle, including empty
(C) motor number or serial number.
(2) Empty weight determination.
(A) The weight of a Motor Bus shall be the empty weight
plus carrying capacity, in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.055.
(B) The weight of a vehicle cannot be lowered below
the weight indicated on a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin unless
a corrected Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin is obtained.
(C) In all cases where the department questions the
empty weight of a particular vehicle, the applicant should present
a weight certificate from a public weight scale or the Department
of Public Safety.
(3) Gross weight.
(A) Determination of Weight. The combined gross weight
of vehicles registering for combination license plates shall be determined
by the empty weight of the truck or truck tractor combined with the
empty weight of the heaviest semitrailer or semitrailers used or to
be used in combination therewith, plus the heaviest net load to be
carried on such combination during the motor vehicle registration
year, provided that in no case may the combined gross weight be less
than 18,000 pounds.
(B) Restrictions. The following restrictions apply
to combined gross weights.
(i) After a truck or truck tractor is registered for
a combined gross weight, such weight cannot be lowered at any subsequent
date during the registration year. The owner may, however, lower the
gross weight when registering the vehicle for the following registration
year, provided that the registered combined gross weight is sufficient
to cover the heaviest load to be transported during the year and provided
that the combined gross weight is not less than 18,000 pounds.
(ii) A combination of vehicles is restricted to a total
gross weight not to exceed 80,000 pounds; however, all combinations
may not qualify for 80,000 pounds unless such weight can be properly
distributed in accordance with axle load limitations, tire size, and
distance between axles, in accordance with Transportation Code, §623.011.
(4) Motor number or serial number. Ownership must be
established by a court order if no motor or serial number can be identified.
Once ownership has been established, the department will assign a
number upon payment of the fee.
(5) Accompanying documentation. Unless otherwise exempted
by law, completed applications for commercial license plates shall
be accompanied by:
(A) prescribed registration fees;
(B) prescribed local fees or other fees that are collected
in conjunction with registering a vehicle;
(C) evidence of financial responsibility as required
by Transportation Code, §502.046 if the applicant is a motor
carrier as defined by §218.2 of this title (relating to Definitions),
proof of financial responsibility may be in the form of a registration
listing or an international stamp indicating that the vehicle is registered
in compliance with Chapter 218, Subchapter B of this title (relating
to Motor Carrier Registration);
(D) an application for Texas Title in accordance with
Subchapter A of this chapter, or other proof of ownership;
(E) proof of payment of the Federal Heavy Vehicle Use
Tax, if applicable;
(F) an original or certified copy of the Certificate
of Registration issued in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter
643, if application is being made for Tow Truck license plates; and
(G) other documents or fees required by law.
(6) Proof of payment required. Proof of payment of
the Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax is required for vehicles with a
gross registration weight of 55,000 pounds or more, or in cases where
the vehicle's gross weight is voluntarily increased to 55,000 pounds
or more. Proof of payment shall consist of an original or photocopy
of the Schedule 1 portion of Form 2290 receipted by the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS), or a copy of the Form 2290 with Schedule 1 attached
as filed with the IRS, along with a photocopy of the front and back
of the canceled check covering the payment to the IRS.
(7) Proof of payment not required. Proof of payment
of the Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax is not required:
(A) for new vehicles when an application for title
and registration is supported by a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin;
(B) on used vehicles when an application for title
and registration is filed within 60 days from the date of transfer
to the applicant as reflected on the assigned title, except that proof
of payment will be required when an application for Texas title and
registration is accompanied by an out-of-state title that is recorded
in the name of the applicant;
(C) when a vehicle was previously wrecked, in storage,
or otherwise out of service and, therefore, not registered or operated
during the current registration year or during the current tax year,
provided that a non-use affidavit is signed by the operator; and