Code Section Group

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 15. SIZE, WEIGHT, AND LOAD [35000 - 35796]

  ( Division 15 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

CHAPTER 2. Width [35100 - 35111]
  ( Chapter 2 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )


(a) The total outside width of any vehicle or its load shall not exceed 102 inches, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, safety devices which the Secretary of Transportation determines to be necessary for the safe and efficient operation of motor vehicles shall not be included in the calculation of width as specified in subdivision (a).

(c) Any city or county may, by ordinance, prohibit a combination of vehicles of a total width in excess of 96 inches upon highways under its jurisdiction. The ordinance shall not be effective until appropriate signs are erected indicating the streets affected.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1452, Sec. 5. Effective September 28, 1988.)


For purposes of subdivision (a) of Section 35100, the following apply:

(a) The metric equivalent of 102 inches, 2.6 meters, meets the requirement of Section 35100.

(b) The width measurement of any vehicle with side walls shall be made from the outside wall of the two opposite sides of the vehicle.

(Added by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1452, Sec. 6. Effective September 28, 1988.)


The total outside width of a cotton module mover operated on the highways pursuant to Section 35555 and the load thereon shall not exceed 130 inches in width. However, a county board of supervisors, with respect to any or all county highways within its jurisdiction or any portion thereof, may by resolution prohibit or limit the operation of cotton module movers exceeding the maximum width specified in Section 35100.

(Added by Stats. 1984, Ch. 270, Sec. 3. Effective July 3, 1984.)


When any vehicle is equipped with pneumatic tires, the maximum width from the outside of one wheel and tire to the outside of the opposite outer wheel and tire shall not exceed 108 inches, but the outside width of the body of the vehicle or the load thereon shall not exceed 102 inches.

Vehicles manufactured, reconstructed, or modified after the effective date of amendments to this section enacted during the 1983 portion of the 1983–84 Regular Session of the Legislature, to utilize the 102 inch maximum width dimension, shall be equipped with axles, tires, and wheels of sufficient width to adequately and safely stabilize the vehicle. The Department of the California Highway Patrol shall conduct tests relating to the dynamic stability of vehicles utilizing body widths over 96 inches, up to and including 102 inches, to determine the necessity for establishing performance standards under the authority of Section 34500. Such standards if established shall be consistent with width standards established by or under the authority of the United States Department of Transportation.

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 145, Sec. 2. Effective June 28, 1983.)


When any vehicle carries a load of loosely piled agricultural products such as hay, straw, or leguminous plants in bulk but not crated, baled, boxed, or sacked, such load of loosely piled material and any loading racks retaining the same shall not exceed 120 inches in width.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)


(a) A vehicle used for recreational purposes may exceed the maximum width established under Section 35100 if the excess width is attributable to an appurtenance, excluding a safety device, that does not exceed six inches beyond either sidewall of the vehicle.

(b) For the purposes of subdivision (a), an appurtenance is an integral part of a vehicle and includes, but is not limited to, awnings, grab handles, lighting equipment, cameras, and vents. An appurtenance may not be used as a load carrying device.

(Added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 222, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2004.)


The limitations as to width do not apply to the following vehicles except that these vehicles shall not exceed a width of 120 inches:

(a) Special mobile equipment.

(b) Special construction or highway maintenance equipment.

(c) Motor vehicles designed for, and used exclusively to, haul feed for livestock that are exempted from registration by subdivision (c) of Section 36102, except when operated on a highway during darkness.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1021, Sec. 1.)


Any city organized under a freeholders’ charter may by ordinance permit a total outside width of vehicle and load in excess of the limits set forth in Sections 35100, 35101, 35102, 35104, and 35106 when the vehicle is used exclusively within the boundary limits of the city.

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 145, Sec. 4. Effective June 28, 1983.)


(a) Motor coaches or buses may have a maximum width not exceeding 102 inches.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), motor coaches or buses operated under the jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission in urban or suburban service may have a maximum outside width not exceeding 104 inches, when approved by order of the Public Utilities Commission for use on routes designated by it. Motor coaches or buses operated by common carriers of passengers for hire in urban or suburban service and not under the jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission may have a maximum outside width not exceeding 104 inches.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 538, Sec. 665. Effective January 1, 2007.)


“Urban and suburban service” means a service performed in urban or suburban areas, or between municipalities in close proximity, except that:

(a) The one-way route mileage of the service shall not be more than 50 miles.

(b) Designated motor coach routes over state highways outside limits of incorporated cities where the one-way route mileage is over 25 miles, but does not exceed 50 miles, shall be approved by the Department of Transportation.

(Amended by Stats. 1974, Ch. 545.)


Lights, mirrors, or devices which are required to be mounted upon a vehicle under this code may extend beyond the permissible width of the vehicle to a distance not exceeding 10 inches on each side of the vehicle.

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 145, Sec. 7. Effective June 28, 1983.)


(a) Door handles, hinges, cable cinchers, chain binders, aerodynamic devices, holders for the display of placards warning of hazardous materials, and a tarping system and all nonproperty carrying devices or components thereof, may extend three inches on each side of the vehicle.

(b) For purposes of this section, “aerodynamic device” means a device that uses technologies that minimize drag and improve airflow over an entire tractor-trailer vehicle. These include gap fairings that reduce turbulence between the tractor and trailer, side skirts that minimize wind under the trailer, and rear fairings that reduce turbulence and pressure drop at the rear of the trailer, provided that these devices shall not adversely impact the vehicle’s swept width and turning characteristics and that the primary purpose of the device is not for advertising.

(c) (1) For purposes of this section, “a tarping system” means a movable device used to enclose the cargo area of flatbed semitrailers or trailers.

(2) Subdivision (a) applies to all component parts of a tarping system, including the following:

(A) The transverse structure at the front of the vehicle to which the sliding walls and roof of the tarp mechanism are attached, provided the structure is not also intended or designed to comply with Section 393.106 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The transverse structure may be up to 108 inches wide if properly centered so that neither side extends more than three inches beyond the structural edge of the vehicle.

(B) The side rails running the length of the vehicle.

(C) The rear doors, provided the only function of the rear doors is to seal the cargo area and anchor the sliding walls and roof.

(D) The “wings” designed to close the gap between a headerboard designed to comply with Section 393.106 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations and the movable walls and roof of a tarping system, provided they are add-on pieces designed to bear only the load of the tarping system itself and are not integral parts of the load-bearing headerboard structure.

(d) For purposes of this section, a “headerboard designed to comply with Section 393.106 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations” is load bearing and does not exceed 102 inches in width.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 133, Sec. 1. (SB 469) Effective January 1, 2015.)


No passenger vehicle shall be operated on any highway with any load carried thereon extending beyond the line of the fenders on its left side or more than six inches beyond the line of the fenders on its right side.

(Amended by Stats. 1961, Ch. 120.)

VEHVehicle Code - VEH