49 U.S. Code § 31701. Definitions
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In this chapter—
(1) “commercial motor vehicle”, with respect to—
the International Registration Plan, has the same meaning given the term “apportionable vehicle” under the Plan; and
the International Fuel Tax Agreement, has the same meaning given the term “qualified motor vehicle” under the Agreement.
“fuel use tax” means a tax imposed on or measured by the consumption of fuel in a motor vehicle.
“International Registration Plan” means the interstate agreement on apportioning vehicle registration fees paid by motor carriers, developed by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
Operation of Trailers
“(a) Registration of Trailers.—A State that requires annual registration of container chassis and the apportionment of fees for such registrations in accordance with the International Registration Plan (as defined under section 31701 of title 49, United States Code) shall not limit the operation, or require the registration, in the State of a container chassis (or impose fines or penalties on the operation of a container chassis for being operated in the State without a registration issued by the State) if such chassis—
is registered under the laws of another State; and
is operating under a trip permit issued by the State.
“(b) Limitation on Registration of Trailers.—
“(c) Safety Regulation.—
This section shall apply to registration requirements only and shall not affect the ability of the State to regulate for safety.
No State described in subsection (a), political subdivision of such a State, or person may impose or collect any fee, penalty, fine, or other form of damages which is based in whole or in part upon the nonpayment of a State registration fee (including related weight and licensing fees assessed as part of registration) attributable to a container chassis operated in the State (and registered in another State) before the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 21, 1998], unless it is shown by the State, political subdivision, or person that such container chassis was not operated in the State under a trip permit issued by the State.
“(e) Container Chassis Defined.—
In this section, the term ‘container chassis’ means a trailer, semi-trailer, or auxiliary axle used exclusively for the transportation of ocean shipping containers.”