Cars and vans that are capable of off-loading or hauling off-highway cars are becoming increasingly popular, with companies like Rover and Xtreem leasing off-trailers or trailers for their own use.
But as the off-market rental market expands, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between a legitimate off-street rental and an illegitimate one.
“The question is whether the off road rental industry can effectively differentiate between legitimate off road use and illegitimate use,” said John Schulman, a lecturer in environmental law at the University of Bath.
“You have to differentiate between those people who are using a real vehicle, like a truck or SUV, and those who are renting a trailer or a van.
The latter are in a much less regulated way.”
As the off market has expanded, so has the threat of enforcement, which can mean that people may end up paying more to park on the highway than they would for an on-road vehicle.
In many states, including Florida, there are penalties for people who park illegally on the side of the road.
The state recently passed a bill that makes it a Class 3 felony to park illegally, with up to three years in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The same law also prohibits parking on the roadside without a vehicle license.
And if you’re caught parking illegally, you could end up in jail for up to six months.
The consequences of driving off-schedule, as well as the threat to your own safety, are also real.
“A lot of people will be more likely to drive off-Schedule, or to drive into an intersection,” Schulmen said.
“And they will also be more susceptible to the consequences of speeding or causing an accident.”
Rescue teams can be called in to help you avoid a crash, but they also need to be able to determine if a car is off-scheduled or off-prohibited, as the law requires.
In addition to the potential fines, a lot of the time people are not given clear information about the legality of their off-site rental.
“In most cases, the car rental company has to do a lot more to tell people the truth,” Schullman said.
“If the company doesn’t tell people what the legality is, people will drive on and they will get into trouble.”
The Department of Transportation recently issued a new off-vehicle safety guideline that states, “the safest way to drive a vehicle off-scale is in a controlled environment.”
But that’s not always possible in an off-ramp.
The off-board rental industry is a small but growing segment, according to Schulmans study.
It represents just 2% of the off track vehicle rental market.
“There’s been a lot in the off wheel transportation space that is growing over the last few years, but the size of that market is smaller than that of off track vehicles,” Schulz said.
There are also a number of new off track companies emerging.
For example, a company called Onyx offers rental cars with off-track technology.
The company claims to offer an “off-the shelf” solution for off-tracks.
But Schulms research has found that many of the companies offering off-drive vehicles have been created by individuals who are willing to make it clear to potential customers that they are not licensed to do business in their state.
“I think the reality is that these are not legally licensed businesses,” Schuall said.
A common tactic used by many of these companies is to make claims of the vehicle’s “safety” and “off roadability,” which can be misleading.
In the past, many companies have relied on deceptive marketing, which is why they can be hard to distinguish from legitimate companies.
For example, on-board vehicles are marketed as “off the grid,” but they are usually not.
“It’s a big marketing campaign, and they can’t tell you the difference,” Schulp said.
Many off-mobile rental companies claim that their vehicles are fully equipped to operate on-site, and therefore, they are legal.
However, Schulings research has also found that these companies often have not had enough experience with the off site market to verify their claims.
“These companies have had no real off-route experience,” Schuluis study found.
“I don’t think many people would be able recognize them for what they are.”
Reverse parkingFor many off-scene companies, a reverse parking arrangement is more convenient than the traditional off-lease model.
In most instances, a rental company will provide a permit for the vehicle, and the customer pays a deposit.
In return, the company will pay the driver for the time spent parking.
But some off-ride companies are not required to pay a fee for parking.
In some cases, these companies may also charge the driver a flat fee, and