Susan Bray, executive director/vice president of the Good Sam Club, released this letter to members of the RV consumer organization to mobilize support for a bill that would legalize the use of motorhomes longer than 40 feet in California.

The million-member Good Sam Club is a subsidiary of Affinity Group Inc., which publishes RVB.

As you may be aware from the articles published in Highways, California residents were recently restricted from driving any motorhome longer than 40 feet in our state. Likewise, visitors to our state who operate motorhomes of this size are not permitted to drive on our roads.

This is because the California Department of Motor Vehicles reinterpreted and started enforcing Section 35400 of the California vehicle code that has actually been in effect since 1989, and which states that no “house car” in California can exceed a length of 40 feet.

The odd part is that since 1989, motorhomes exceeding 40 feet have been manufactured, sold and registered in California. We RVers have paid the state millions of dollars in sales taxes and registration fees, and the state has had no problem collecting the money. There are no specific safety problems associated with motorhomes, including those longer than 40 feet. In fact, from 1994 through 1999 (the most recent statistics available), there has not been one fatal accident reported in the United States involving an over-40-foot motorhome.

These drivers have received support from the California legislature, which recently unanimously passed AB 67, a bill which would permit these rigs to be driven on our roads, with some limitations. First, California drivers of motorhomes longer than 40 feet would be required to take a driving skills test behind the wheel of their vehicle, a written test and complete a medical questionnaire. They would also be restricted to driving only on our major highways. Good Sam will also participate on a committee led by the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol to develop a driver education video and determine how to best inform drivers of motorhomes over 40 feet where the vehicle can be driven in the state. This bill is now awaiting Governor Gray Davis’ signature, and it must be signed by Oct. 15 in order to become law.

Most of us don’t own a motorhome longer than 40 feet. But even if you don’t, you can support your fellow RV owners’ rights to drive in our state. Last year, Governor Davis vetoed similar legislation, we believe because he received inaccurate information about the bill. We do not want this to happen again. We urge you to contact Governor Davis as soon as possible (the bill must be signed by October 15), and ask him to sign AB 67. In your e-mail or letter, please emphasize that these vehicles are safe and the negative impact the current situation is having on tourism in California. You can E-mail him at [email protected], or you can write to Governor Gray Davis, State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Your fellow Good Sam Club members appreciate your help in making our voices heard.


Susan Bray

Executive Director/Vice President

The Good Sam Club