Commercial Drivers' Licenses - Texas District & County Attorneys ...

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Commercial Drivers' Licenses - Texas District & County Attorneys ...

Commercial Drivers’ Licenses:A Prosecutor’s Guide to the Basicsof Commercial Motor VehicleLicensing and Violations


National District Attorneys Association44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 110Alexandria, VA 22314www.NDAA.orgScott Burns, Executive DirectorNational Traffic Law CenterA Program of the National District Attorneys AssociationJoanne Michaels, Program DirectorFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration1200 New Jersey Avenue, SESuite W60-300,Washington, DC 20590www.fmcsa.dot.govAnne S. Ferro, AdministratorThe National District Attorneys Association created this documentthrough financial support and assistance from the United StatesDepartment of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier SafetyAdministration (FMCSA), under grant number CD099913NDAAOP.NDAA is not a part of the U.S. Government, the U.S. Department ofTransportation (DOT), or the FMCSA. Therefore, NDAA does notrepresent the official position or policies of the FMCSA, the U.S.DOT, or the U.S. government.Particular points of view, opinions or legal interpretationsexpressed in this monograph are those of the authors and do notnecessarily represent the official position, policies or opinions ofthe National District Attorneys Association.


Commercial Drivers’ Licenses:A Prosecutor’s Guide to the Basicsof Commercial Motor VehicleLicensing and ViolationsLieutenant John Harmon, Tennessee Highway PatrolSergeant Ken Sellers, Texas Highway PatrolSenior Attorney Kristen Shea, National Traffic Law CenterTraffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Karen Wittman, State of Kansas


ContentsAcknowledgements...........................................................................................................................................iiiForeword................................................................................................................................................................vIntroduction ........................................................................................................................................................viiCOMMERCIAL DRIVERS’ LICENSE BASICS ...............................................................1CDLIS ......................................................................................................................................................................2Licensing Requirements.....................................................................................................................................2Skills/Knowledge Testing.........................................................................................................................3Medical Qualification ...............................................................................................................................5Drug and Alcohol Testing ........................................................................................................................6Background Check ...................................................................................................................................7Situations Requiring a Valid CDL......................................................................................................................8Classes of CDL ......................................................................................................................................................8Specialized Endorsements......................................................................................................................9Restrictions ..............................................................................................................................................11Exemptions to CDL Requirement..........................................................................................................11Learner’s Permit ......................................................................................................................................12DRIVER RESPONSIBILITIES ........................................................................................................13Safety Inspections .............................................................................................................................................14Records................................................................................................................................................................14Hours of Service.................................................................................................................................................15Out-of-Service Orders .......................................................................................................................................16OWNER/EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES....................................................................17PROSECUTORIAL CONSIDERATIONS ..............................................................................19CDL Violations and Consequences.................................................................................................................19Chart of Major Offenses and Penalties...............................................................................................20Chart of Serious Offenses and Penalties............................................................................................22Criminal Charges................................................................................................................................................24MASKING AND REPORTING ........................................................................................................25Masking...............................................................................................................................................................26Reporting .............................................................................................................................................................28INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL DRIVERS ...............................................................31Glossary ...............................................................................................................................................................35i iC O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


AcknowledgementsTHE NATIONAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION andthe National Traffic Law Center gratefully acknowledge the contributionsof all the people and organizations whose collaborative effortsmade this monograph possible. The funding for thismonograph was provided by a grant from the Federal Motor CarrierSafety Administration (FMCSA). FMCSA’s partnership madethis project possible.This monograph is the result of collaboration between trafficsafety professionals from all points in the criminal justice system.Most sincere thanks go to Lieutenant John Harmon, TennesseeState Highway Patrol, Sergeant Ken Sellers, Texas Highway Patrol,Senior Attorney Kristen Shea, National Traffic Law Center andKaren Wittman, Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor. Theseindividuals contributed their time, talents, and expertise to helpwrite this monograph and ensure its accuracy.Special appreciation goes to Mr. Robert (Bob) Redmond, SeniorTransportation Specialist, Commercial Driver’s License Divisionwith Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Given that Mr.Redmond wrote many of the federal regulations that this monographattempts to explain, his assistance with interpretation and willingnessto answer questions were invaluable. This monograph is anexample of what can be accomplished by like-minded state, local,federal, and non-profit traffic safety professionals working together.C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E Si i i


Traffic prosecutors across the countrydeal every day with the consequencesof these large vehicles that, by necessity,share our roads.i vC O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


ForewordON SEPTEMBER 13, 1899, Henry H. Bliss becamethe first American in recorded history to die ina motor vehicle collision when he stepped from aNew York City trolley and was struck and killed bya passing taxi. For the first time, a prosecutor decidedthat a traffic “accident” merited criminal prosecution.The driver, who was arrestedand later acquitted of manslaughter,laid the blame for the death on alarge truck that was blocking his lane,causing him to strike Mr. Bliss. 1 Thusbegan the long and often antipatheticrelationship between passenger andcommercial vehicles sharing thecountry’s roadways. Over a hundredyears later, traffic prosecutors acrossthe country deal every day with theconsequences of these large vehiclesthat, by necessity, share our roads.Commercial vehicles play a criticalrole in the nation’s economy withlarge trucks moving billions of tonsof goods each year. Commercialmotor vehicles (CMV) provide overtwo thirds of the shipping requiredeach year by American industry. 2 Motor coachestransport passengers across the nation and schoolbuses carry America’s children safely to school eachday. Millions of Americans work in the transportationand commercial vehicle industries with over 1.5million driving large trucks and buses. The majority1 Fatally Hurt by Automobile, N.Y. Times, Sept. 14, 1899.2 “American Industry Shipped 13 Billion Tons of Goods in 2007” Bureau ofTransportation Statistics (Research and Innovative Technology Administration).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E Sv


of these companies and individuals are committedto the safe operation of their vehicles. These carriersand their drivers do their best to follow state andfederal safety guidelines and regulations. They expectand deserve a level playing field where they cancompete with others in their business who are alsofollowing these rules. Unfortunately, as in any field,there are bad actors who refuse to “play by therules,” cutting corners and disregarding regulations.These carriers and drivers place others in jeopardythrough aggressive or negligent driving, drug use,poor maintenance and a host of other failures tocomply with government standards.Every year commercial trucks and buses log millionsof miles on the U.S. roads and each year, alongthe way, thousands of these vehicles are involved incrashes causing property damage, injury, and death.Although personal vehicles travel many more mileseach year than commercial vehicles, these heavytrucks and buses represent a disproportionatelylarge percentage of serious and fatal crashes. 3 A significantportion of these crashes are the fault of noncommercialdrivers, but many are caused bycommercial vehicle operators who are operating unsafevehicles or committing traffic violations. Often,these crashes are caused by CMV drivers who haverepeatedly violated safety regulations and who mayhave repeatedly avoided any real consequences fortheir violations.At a minimum, prosecutors must attain a workingknowledge of the commercial driver licensing lawsthat affect their cases. Although the terminologyand regulations might be unfamiliar or even intimidating,understanding the basics about commercialmotor vehicles (CMVs) and commercial drivers’ licensesis fundamental to effective enforcement,prosecution, and adjudication of these cases. Withoutproper local support, critical commercial trafficsafety legislation is ineffective. Given the size andpower of these vehicles, ensuring their safe operationwill save lives. Finding easily understandableand readily available information regarding thecommercial driver’s license (CDL) violations thatshow up on a morning docket is a challenge, but theprosecutors who handle these CDL cases have aduty to properly and accurately apply the law. Thismonograph addresses the need for a brief, to-thepoint,“instruction manual” that explains the basicsof the CDL. It is intended to present the essential,federally mandated elements of commercial driverlicensing, explain the special sanctions affectingCDL holders and to provide further informationabout other available resources. 43 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts2008, March 2010. The most recent statistics available indicate that althoughlarge trucks represent only 227,458,000, or 7.6%, of the 2,973,509,000 totalvehicles miles traveled in 2008, they represent a disproportionately high11.35% of total fatalities from vehicle crashes. The statistics do not includebuses.4 To the extent that there is a discrepancy between the regulations and thisguide, the regulations control. Additionally, prosecutors must always bemindful that federal regulations establish minimum standards for CDL controland commercial vehicle driver and carrier requirements. Each state hasthe right to create additional, potentially more stringent rules. Prosecutorsshould become familiar with both the state and federal laws that affect theirCDL cases. Traffic regulations will change as research, technology and scientificinnovations dictate. It is incumbent upon prosecutors to check for updatesregularly.v iC O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


IntroductionT H E I M P O R TA N C E of commercial motor vehiclesto the fundamental operation of the nation’seconomy cannot be over emphasized. A strongeconomy, based on the flow of commercial materials,supports all the essential functions of a country.Our lives run smoothly because of the daily uninterruptedprovision of goods and services. Thecommercial transportation industry provides the efficaciousdelivery of those goods and, more importantly,the safe transport of the people who providethose services from one location to another.In the United States, the transportation of goodsand services has evolved over the past several hundredyears. The first commercial transportation inAmerica was accomplished via rivers and other waterways.Later, man-made power replaced the naturalsystem of transport through the innovation ofthe railroad. Transportation was then further revolutionizedby the speed and convenience of the motorizedvehicle. Widespread transportation ofgoods, however, required an equally widespread,safe, and regulated system of transport. Althoughcars and trucks had become the primary mode ofpersonal transportation during the first half of the20th century, it was not until the federal governmentstepped in to create an organized and wellmaintainedsystem of roads across the entirecountry that motorized transport became the preferredmethod of industrialized shipping.When President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, creating the infrastructurefor a nationwide ground transport system, thefoundation for the modern trucking industry wasestablished. In addition to authority over the roadsthemselves, the government attained the authorityto regulate the transportation of goods and serviceson those interstate highways. The Interstate CommerceCommission had been given authority toregulate motor carriers and drivers by the MotorCarrier Act of 1935. Section 206 of the Act declaredthat “no common carrier by motor vehicle…shallengage in any interstate or foreign operation on anypublic highway… unless there is in force with respectto such carrier a certificate of public convenienceand necessity issued by the commissionauthorizing such operation.” 5Prior to 1986, little effective federal legislationexisted to govern the operation of large trucks andbuses on interstates. Individual states determinedtheir own methods of testing and ensuring the qualificationsof CDL applicants. Drivers could obtaina driver’s license in multiple states. There was verylittle communication between states regarding a driver’straffic violations. This resulted in drivers withlittle or no training or poor driving histories operatingon the nation’s roadways. The crash data5 Interstate Commerce Act: Part II (Motor Carrier Act, 1935) as amendedNovember 1, 1954, with legislative history, plus related statutes. UnitedStates Reprints from the collection of the University of Michigan.6 “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2008: Early Release” Analysis Division,Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA-RRA-09-052 October2009.C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E Sv i i


eflected the inadequacy of governance. Accurate The federal government not only established legislationto improve the safety of the commercialstatistics on crash data involving large trucks hasbeen collected by the federal government since the motor vehicle industry, it also responded to the needmid 1970s. From 1975 to 1985, there was an averageof 4.53 fatal crashes for every 100 million vehidustry’soversight. In 1999, Congress passed thefor an organization whose primary task was that inclemiles traveled by large trucks on U.S. roadways. 6 Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act and createdIn 1986, the U.S. Congress enacted the CommercialMotor Vehicle Safety Act (CMVSA) to improve (FMCSA). FMCSA is a separate administrationthe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrationthe safety of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driversthroughout the nation.erating with the mission of “improving the safety ofwithin the U.S. Department of Transportation op-The CMVSA was signed into law on October 27, commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and saving1986. One of the goals of this legislation was to increasehighway safety by removing unqualified tains a presence in all 50 states and the District oflives.” 9 It employs over 1000 individuals and main-commercial motor vehicle drivers from the roads. Columbia and US territories. Administration headquartersis located in Washington, D.C. There areThe CMVSA also standardized the minimum requirementsfor commercial driver licensing from also field offices including four regional service centersand a division office in each state, the District ofstate to state and prohibited drivers from holdingmore than one commercial driver’s license (CDL). Columbia and Puerto Rico. FMCSA seeks to improvecommercial vehicle safety through a multi-This helped to eliminate the practice of driversholding CDLs in multiple states. States retained faceted approach which includes regulation,their right to issue and control drivers’ licenses in education, and partnering with stakeholders such asaccordance with minimum national standards for federal, state, and local enforcement agencies, anddriver knowledge and skills competence. From the other traffic safety professionals. It conducts multiplesafety programs focusing on border and inter-time that the CMVSA was passed in 1986, the totalnumber of large trucks registered in the United national safety, commercial driver licensing, andStates has almost doubled, and the total number of safety and education outreach. The CDL programvehicle miles traveled by those trucks has nearly is among FMCSA’s key programs and serves to develop,monitor, and support compliance with fed-tripled. 7 This safety-oriented legislation has beensuccessful. Despite the significant increase in the eral commercial driver licensing standards fornumbers of large trucks on the road, the fatal crash drivers, carriers and states. 10rate per million miles traveled had fallen to 1.79 by2008. 87 “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2008: Early Release” Analysis Division,Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA-RRA-09-052 October2009.8 “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2008: Early Release” Analysis Division,Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA-RRA-09-052 October2009.09 FMCSA.dot.gov. 2009, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 13January 2009 .10 Information concerning other key FMCSA programs can be located athttp://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/what-we-do/keyprograms/keyprograms.htm.v i i iC O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


CDL BasicsB E G I N N I N G W I T H T H E C M V S A in 1986, thefederal government attempted to correct the lack ofuniformity in commercial driver licensing across thecountry. Logically, a driver licensed in Virginia whowants to drive through Texas should possess thesame basic skills and qualifications that the State ofTexas requires of its own CDL holders. Similarly, aCalifornia law enforcement officer should be ableto examine a CDL from Florida and find the samebasic information that appears on a CDL from hisown state. The federal regulations address this uniformityand require security measures that makefraudulent or forged CDLs easier to identify.While CDLs may vary somewhat in appearancefrom state to state, all CDLs are required to prominentlydisplay important identifying descriptorspursuant to 49 CFR 383.153. The license must providethe driver’s full name, mailing or residence address,and signature. The face of the license will alsodisplay a photograph of the driver as well as the driver’sCDL numberfrom the issuing state.The CDL must indicatethe group(s) of vehiclesthat the driver isauthorized to operateand any special endorsements,privilegesor restrictions. Finally,the CDL must clearlyshow if the holder is a“non-resident” CDLdriver. With very fewexceptions, drivers areprevented by federallaw from holding morethan one CDL at anygiven time. 1111 49 CFR 383.21 (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 1


CDLISOne of the many changes brought about by the1986 CMVSA was the inception of a more accuratemethod of keeping comprehensive driver historyrecords. The move was necessitated by the disjointedand often incomplete records kept by individualstates. Too often, conviction records wereavailable only in the state where the traffic violationoccurred and not transmitted to the driver’s state oflicensure. Enforcement of the federally mandated“one state-issued CDL per driver” limitation wasimpeded by the states’ inability to communicatewith each other to provide out-of-state convictionand withdrawal data. CMVSA addressed this communicationproblem through the creation of theCommercial Driver’s License Information System(CDLIS) which is a centralized pointer system providingan interactive information system. The driverlicensing authorities in each state can communicatewith CDLIS to check for information on new CDLapplicants. CDLIS works to assist states assessingCDL applicants by directing the licensing agencyto the driver’s current state of licensure so that acomplete driver history can be obtained.CMVSA did not create a federally-issued CDLsystem and CDLIS does not replace the individualstates’ licensing authorities. State licensing agenciesissue CDLs. CDLIS is an important tool that helpsto facilitate information sharing between states regardingdriver histories for CDL holders. Prior toissuing a CDL, states are required to run a CDLIScheck to determine whether the driver applicant alreadyhad a CDL, if his driver’s license is suspended,revoked or canceled and if he is otherwise disqualifiedfrom holding a CDL. 12 If a state has issued aprior CDL to the applicant, that state can provideall relevant history to the state requesting the informationon the driver. Each time a state issues aCDL it will add that record into the CDLIS centralsite.The type of information that should be reportedto CDLIS is governed by 49 CFR 383 and 384. Thereported record should include the driver’s name,address, physical description and Social Securitynumber 13 of any CDL holder. 14 Additionally, therecord should indicate the state of issuance of anyCDL, when it is valid, whether it or any prior driver’slicense has ever been suspended, revoked orcanceled and any periods of disqualification fromoperation of a CDL. The success of the CDLISprogram depends on the ability of the states’ licensingauthorities to promptly share accurate CDL information.LICENSING REQUIREMENTSBecause the safe operation of certain large vehiclesrequire specialized knowledge and skills, every stateand the federal government requires operators ofthose vehicles to possess a valid CDL. 15 For CDLpurposes, FMCSA defines a commercial motor vehicle(CMV) as one that is used for business purposes,involved in interstate or intrastate commerceand has any one or more of several specific characteristics.Those characteristics include a having aGVWR/GCWR 16 of 26,001 pounds or more, beingdesigned to transport 16 or more passengers in-12 F 49 CFR 383.205 (2010).13 The Social Security number must be part of the record but need not appearon the face of the CDL itself.14 49 CFR 383.151 (2010).15 49 CFR 383.23(a) (2010).16GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) and GCWR (gross combined weightrating) describe the weight rating established by the vehicle manufacturer.These terms are discussed further in this monograph.2 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


cluding the driver, or transporting enough hazardousmaterials to require placarding under federalguidelines (or any amount of materials designatedas special agents or toxins).If a vehicle meets the definition of a CMV, itsdriver will need (barring certain legal exemptionsdiscussed below) a state CDL issued in compliancewith federal regulations. Title 49 Code of FederalRegulations (CFR) Parts 383 and 384 deal specificallywith CDLs and driver requirements. The rulesestablish the requirement that all drivers operatingqualifying CMVs hold a valid CDL issued by a certifiedstate. 17 These regulations were developed “tohelp reduce or prevent truck and bus accidents, fatalities,and injuries by requiring drivers to have asingle commercial motor vehicle driver’s license andby disqualifying drivers who operate commercialmotor vehicles in an unsafe manner.” 18The same federal regulations detailed in 49 CFR383 place obligations on both drivers and employers.Drivers, for instance, are required to informcurrent and prospective employers regarding specifiedconvictions (having implications on their CDLstatus) and their employment history. Employersare required to allow only drivers with valid licensesto operate their vehicles. The federal regulationsensure that wherever a driver or carrier operates,they do so with a certain standard of behavior. It isimportant to remember, though, that the federalregulations serve only as the baseline for the minimumregulations each state must use for CDL issuanceand management. Individual states areallowed to craft legislation that is more stringentthan the federal guidelines. The basic standards arefairly uniform across the United States and makesure that drivers licensed in any state have the sameminimum level of knowledge, skills, and generalqualifications to drive a large truck or bus. Prosecutorsshould always check their own state code aswell as the federal regulations to determine the actualrequirements to apply in each case.Skills/Knowledge TestingFederal regulations establish minimum standards ofCDL drivers’ ability and proficiency. A primary requirementfor licensing is that a driver be able todemonstrate the requisite level of knowledge regardingthe rules of the road for CMVs. 19 Pursuantto the CFR, all commercial motor vehicle operatorsseeking a CDL must have “knowledge and skillsnecessary to operate a CMV safely.” 20 It is importantto note that, before being issued a CDL, alldrivers are required to become familiar with the safeoperation regulations governing the type of vehiclethey are operating or anticipate operating. Theseregulations cover “vehicle inspection, repair, andmaintenance requirements; procedures for safe vehicleoperations; the effects of fatigue, poor vision,hearing, and general health upon safe CMV operation;the types of motor vehicles and cargoes subjectto the requirements; and the effects of alcoholand drug use upon safe commercial motor vehicleoperations.” 21 Another requirement is that the drivers17 One exception to this rule is contained in 49 CFR 383.23(c) which allowsdrivers with valid “state’s learners’ permits” to operate commercial motorvehicles in order to obtain “behind-the-wheel” training.18 49 CFR 383.1(a) (2010).19 49 CFR 383.23(a)(1) states that as of April 1, 1992 “no person shall operatea commercial motor vehicle unless such person has taken and passedwritten and driving tests which meet the Federal standards” detailed withinthe CFR language.20 49 CFR 383.110 (2010). It should be noted that there are some limited exceptionswhere a driver’s prior history of vehicle operation may allow himto bypass skills testing.21 49 CFR 383.111(a) (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 3


Drivers must pass knowledge-based testing regarding the proper operationof a large truck or bus and the use of its safety systems...must pass knowledge-based testing regarding theproper operation of a large truck or bus and the useof its safety systems such as lights, horns, mirrors,and fire extinguishers. 22 This test should also coverthe symptoms and diagnosis of common systemmalfunctions (e.g., loss of braking ability or skidding)and the appropriate countermeasures. 23CDL applicants must also complete a three-parttest that includes components related to pre-trip inspection,basic vehicle control skills and on-theroadperformance. The test is designed to evaluatereadiness for real-life commercial motor vehicle operation.To succeed, the applicant should be wellable to control his 24 truck and show proper signaling,lane change, etc. Also, the applicant must beable to demonstrate appropriate pre-trip inspectionof the braking system. 25 The skills required for aCDL may vary depending on the type of vehicle thedriver will be operating (tank, hazardous material,passenger, double trailer, etc.). 26 In some instances,22 49 CFR 383.111(b) (2010).23 In cases involving potential CDL holder negligence or recklessness, a prosecutorshould consider that 49 CFR 383.111(b) requires these drivers tohave a knowledge of driving safety superior to that of a non-commercialvehicle driver. A commercial driver should be familiar with the basic operationsof his truck, trailer, and stopping systems. Additionally, he or she hasmost likely received instruction regarding extreme weather conditions,emergency maneuvers, and hazard perception.24Throughout this document the pronoun he is used as the proper, genderneutralform of reference to a non-specific individual. “He” or “his” is intendedto indicate both male and female drivers. See William Strunk, Jr. &E.B. White, The Elements of Style, The Penguin Press 89 (2005).25 49 CFR 383.113(c)(1) (2010).26 Specific requirements for all federal mandated endorsements can be foundin 49 CFR 383.115 through 49 CFR 383.123.4 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


a driver may “grandfather” into a CDL based ondriving experience gained prior to the passage of thefederal requirements. There are certain restrictionsplaced on this “waiver” procedure that are allowableat the discretion of individual state licensing authorities.Per FMCSA, this ability to waive certainlicensing requirements under the “grandfather”provision is scheduled to be eliminated from theregulations. For a sampling of the types of itemsthat states include on knowledge or skills test, see49 CFR 383, Subpart G. Appendix.Medical QualificationIn addition to demonstrating basic proficiency inthe operation of their vehicles, CDL applicantsmust also be in good health and free from any mentalor physical condition that would make them unableto safely operate the CMVs for which they arelicensed. The federal government has establishedminimum guidelines for physical qualifications. 27These regulations, in effect since 1971, are intendedto keep drivers with particular medical conditionsfrom interstate operation of commercial vehicles. 28Loss of limb, epilepsy, insulin-dependent diabetes,cardiovascular or respiratory problems, certain psychiatricillnesses, and other vision or physical limitationsare among the conditions that couldpotentially make a commercial driver medically unqualified.29An interstate CDL driver must provide proof thathe has undergone a medical examination by a licensedmedical examiner 30 and is in possession of amedical certificate from that medical examiner. 31Currently, this certificate must be kept on his personwhile he is on duty. 32 On December 1, 2008,FMCSA issued new rules intended to improve thequality of medical examinations given to CDL driversand to strengthen the ability of states to licenseonly medically qualified drivers. 33 Under the newrules, the CDL and the medical certificate wouldmerge into a single document, streamlining recordkeeping for states and allowing instant access to adriver’s medical certification by state or federal authorities.34 Between 2012 and 2014, a new systemwill be implemented to eliminate the need for driversto carry a physical copy of their medical certification.CDL drivers will no longer need to carrytheir certificate because a digital version will becomea part of the information in their permanentCDLIS record. Drivers must continue to carry thephysical copy during this two-year transition period.35 Federal law requires states to sanction CDLholders who do not follow the medical examinationrequirements. 36 There has been a recent shift towardsstricter control of who may be consideredqualified to perform physical examinations of CDLholders. Under a newly proposed FMCSA registry,states will be unable to accept medical certificatesfrom medical examiners who do not meet the requiredstandards.To be considered medically qualified, a drivermust not be taking any Schedule I controlled substance,amphetamine, narcotic, or any other habitforming drug. 37 If a driver does have a prescriptionfor a medication falling within that definition, hemay only be qualified under very limited circumstances.He must have no current diagnosis of alcoholism.Also, the prescription must be issued by a27 49 CFR 391.41 (2010).28 RONALD R. KNIPLING, PHD., SAFETY FOR THE LONG HAUL:LARGE TRUCK CRASH RISK, CAUSATION & PREVENTION 85(2009).29 Id.30 49 CFR 390.5 (2010) defines “medical examiner” as a state-licensed professionalallowed to perfom physical examinations. The term includes, butis not limited to, doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, physician assistants,advanced practice nurses, and doctors of chiropractic.31 49 CFR 391.41(a)(1)(i) (2010).3249 CFR 391.41(a)(2)(i) (2010).33 FMCSA Improves Medical Requirements for Commercial Truck and BusDrivers, The Guardian, First Quarter 2009, at 7.34 Id.35 49 CFR 391.41(a)(2)(i).36 FMCSA Improves Medical Requirements for Commercial Truck and BusDrivers, The Guardian, First Quarter 2009, at 7.37 49 CFR 391.41(a)(12)(i) (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 5


licensed physician familiar with the driver’s medicalhistory (including drug and alcohol use and othermedications) and assigned duties. 38 That same doctormust have advised the driver that the prescribeddrug will not adversely affect that driver’s ability tooperate a commercial motor vehicle safely. 39Under 49 CFR, part 391.45, subpart E, medicalcertificates are generally valid for two years fromdate of issuance. In some circumstances, a medicalexaminer may determine that a shorter time periodfor reevaluation is required and qualify the driverfor a period of time ranging from three months toone year. If, within the two-year period between requiredexams, a driver suffers any injury or physicalor mental illness that impairs his ability to performhis normal duties, he must submit to another medicalexamination. While a driver is not required toundergo a new examination simply because he ischanging employment, carriers are responsible formaking sure their drivers are medically certified. Incase of illness or injury, an employer may requireadditional testing to be certain the driver’s abilitiesare not impaired. It is the driver’s duty to make surehe submits to regular medical examinations in accordancewith federal and state regulation.Drug & Alcohol TestingWhile drivers are required to submit to a medicalexamination prior to licensing and within every subsequent24 month period (and in case of any interveningand potentially impairing illness or use ofdrugs/medicines), there is no requirement that doctorsperform any drug testing during the certificationphysical. The DOT-mandated Drug and Alcoholtesting regulations, contained in 49 CFR parts40 and 382, place the responsibility for drug testingon employers. Employers are, with few exceptions,required to screen potential CMV operators priorto employment through pre-employment drug testing.40 Each year employers must conduct randomtesting for prohibited drug and alcohol use amongtheir drivers. Testing must be done for alcohol on10% and for drugs on 50% of the average numberof driving positions in a given company. The percentageof drivers an employer is required to test isset by FMCSA and published in the Federal Register. 41Some commercial drivers will abuse illegal orDrivers are subject to a mandatoryperiod of disqualification foroperating a CMV with a BAC of.04% or higher.38 FMCSA will not consider a driver taking medically prescribed marijuana tobe medically qualified for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle.http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/medical/faqs.aspx?FAQTypeSub=1010&FaqQ=39 49 CFR 391.41(a)(12)(ii) (2010).40 CFR 382.301 allows for certain exceptions to the requirement of pre-employmenttesting, for instance, employee participation in a program thatrequires random drug screens.41 49 CFR 382.305 (2010).6 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


prescription drugs to increase alertness, prolongwakefulness or mask chronic pain conditions. Thereare currently, however, no federal requirements forfrequent, random, on-duty screens of commercialdrivers. 42 Most federal regulations are geared towardsalcohol detection and on-duty-use of alcoholdeterrence. Drivers may not report for duty withany measurable quantity of alcohol in their systempursuant to 49 CFR 392.5. Drivers are banned fromCMV operation or the performance of any safetysensitive function within four hours of consumingany alcohol at all. 43 On-duty drivers are not permittedto consume any alcoholic beverages, with thesame prohibition against employers knowingly allowingsuch use. 44 Drivers are subject to a mandatoryperiod of disqualification for operating a CMVwith a BAC of .04% or higher. 45 There is no suchmandatory period of disqualification for a driverwho tests positive for illegal or prescription drug usewhile on duty unless the driver is convicted of animpaired driving offense. 46 Employers are expectedto abide by these restrictions and enforce themamong their work force. Drivers are required tosubmit to alcohol and/or drug testing at the behestof their employers. 47Background CheckIn addition to assuring that all drivers to whomCDLs are issued are medically qualified and havethe skills necessary to drive their classification of vehicles,the states must also check the driving historyof applicants to screen for any offense that wouldindicate an unsafe driver. Federal regulations requirethat before issuing, renewing, upgrading, ortransferring a CDL to any person, the driver’s stateof record must check its own records. 48 Also, thestate must require the driver to provide a list of allother states where the driver has held a driver’s licenseof any type for the past 10 years. The issuingstate must then request the applicant’s driver recordfrom each of those states. 49 Each state is required tocheck the CDLIS record of the applicant and sendnotification to CDLIS of all CDLs issued. 50Multiple types of criminal convictions, even thoseunrelated to moving violations, can cause a CDLdriver to become disqualified (felony drug offensecommitted in a vehicle, felony committed in a vehicle,DUI, etc.). 51 Traffic safety professionals shouldbe mindful that there is no requirement that a generalcriminal history of a CDL applicant be performedprior to licensing. It is incumbent uponprosecutors and the criminal court system to makesure that potentially disqualifying offenses are reportedaccurately and promptly to relevant licensingauthorities (see section covering Prosecutorial Considerations).No assumption should be made that allrelevant traffic and criminal offenses have been reported.Prosecutors who notice an offense on acriminal history that does not appear on a driver’srecord should notify the licensing authorities aboutthe error. If prosecutors and court officials fail toreport relevant convictions, dangerous drivers willbe allowed to continue operating CMVs on publicroads.42 Prosecutors should not assume that truck or bus drivers are receiving regulardrug testing as part of their employment. Cases involving the misuseor abuse of drugs (including alcohol) may require drug and alcohol testingas part of probation.43 49 CFR 384.207 (2010).44 49 CFR 382.205 (2010).45 49 CFR 382.201 (2010).46 An employee testing positive for illegal drugs during a random employmentbased drug screen will have to abide by certain conditions prior toreturning to work pursuant to 49 CFR 832.309.47 49 CFR 382.211 (2010).48 49 CFR 384.206 (2010).49 Any states receiving requests from another state’s licensing authority mustsend the requested information within 30 days.50 49 CFR 384.205 (2010).51 49 CFR 383.51 (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 7


SITUATIONS REQUIRING VALID CDLThe determination of whether or not a CDL (andwhat class) is required depends on the nature of thevehicle and/or load it is hauling. Trucks and passengervehicles can require that a driver hold a CDLdepending on their size and passenger capacity.Given the applicability of federal and state regulations,it may be sometimes difficult for law enforcementofficers to determine who does and does notrequire a CDL. Familiarity with and adherence tothe regulations makes handling CDL violations easierfor officers and prosecutors. Generally, “everyperson who operates a commercial vehicle (CMV)in interstate, foreign, or interstate commerce” willrequire a CDL pursuant to 49 CFR 383.3 but somefederal exceptions apply. Even if there is no federalregulation requiring a CDL, a state rule may becontrolling. An official enforcing, prosecuting, oradjudicating CDL cases should make sure that allfactors are considered. Any questions can be referredto state CDL authorities for clarification. 52Because larger vehicles, multiple connected vehicles,and certain types of load materials pose a moresignificant potential danger to the public than others,there are different types of CDLs issued.CLASSES OF CDLFederal regulations divide commercial vehicles intogroups or “classes” based on size and type of load. 53Each class of commercial vehicle demands a separateknowledge and skill set. The varying classificationsof CDL require different levels of skill andknowledge testing prior to issuance. Any commercialdriver’s license allows a driver to operate vehiclesonly within his or her designated vehicle classor any of the lower levels of classification. There arethree basic classifications of CDL: “A,” “B” and“C.”A Class “A” CDL requires the most skill andknowledge testing and permits the holder to driveall vehicles allowed with the two lower classifications.54 Similarly, a Class “B” CDL would entitle theholder to operate both Class “B” allowable vehiclesand Class “C” allowable vehicles. A driver may onlyoperate the vehicles allowed within his own classificationand any lower classifications. 55Generally, CDL classifications are based on theweight rating of the vehicle, the type of the vehicleand the type of load or number of passengers a vehicleis designed to carry. The Gross VehicleWeight Rating (GVWR) is the value specified bythe manufacturer as the maximum safe loadedweight of a single vehicle. 56 As such this is not anactual weight, which would be difficult to obtain at52 In most states the Department of Safety or Department of Transportationis responsible for commercial driver licensing. Prosecutors should becomefamiliar with the licensing authorities in their own states.53 49 CFR 383.91 (2010).54 Id.55 Id.56 49 CFR 390.5 (2010).8 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


Federal regulations divide commercial vehicles into groups or“classes” based on size and type of load. Each class of commercialvehicle demands a separate knowledge and skill set.roadside, but an estimated weight pre-determinedby the manufacturer. Similarly, the Gross CombinationWeight Rating (GCWR) is a value establishedby the manufacturer as the maximum safeloaded weight of a combination or articulated vehicle(this includes the vehicle and any trailer(s) it ishauling). 57 The three classes of commercial license,therefore, can be defined by weight rating and vehicletype and function.Class A CDL—required for CMVs with aGCWR of 26,001 pounds or more includinga towed vehicle with a GVWR of morethan 10,000 pounds.Class B CDL—required for CMVs with aGVWR of 26,001 pounds or more or anysuch vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWRof 10,000 pounds or less.Class C CDL—required for the commercialoperation of a vehicle not meeting thedefinition of a Class A or Class B but designedto transport 16 or more passengers,or transporting hazardous materials requiredto be marked with a placard or carryingcertain agents/toxins.It is a violation of law in every state for a CMVdriver to operate a vehicle without a valid CDL oroutside his designated class of CDL or without theappropriate endorsements. Violations of these prohibitionsshould be strictly enforced because thesedrivers are operating vehicles without the necessarytraining, testing, or screening. Failure to obtain aproper license, however, is not a defense to prosecutionof moving violations while operating a CMV.A driver who should have held a CDL at the time ofthe violation may still be convicted for CDL violations.Some disqualifying offenses apply both to driverswho held a CDL and those who should have held aCDL based on the vehicle they were operatingwhen ticketed. Prosecutors should be aware thatthese drivers may still be cited and have that violationreported to licensing authorities. Driving aCMV without first obtaining a CDL, for instance,will cause a driver to become disqualified fromCDL operation from 60 to 120 days. 58Specialized EndorsementsIn addition to the three classes of CDL, operatorsmust also obtain special “endorsements” allowingfor the operation of specialized vehicles or transportationof dangerous materials. 59 Federal regulationsset minimum standards for specially endorseddrivers, but states may require more stringent standards.In order to obtain specialized endorsements,CDL drivers must undergo additional testing ordriver history screening. Drivers seeking to haulhazardous materials or tanker loads must receivetraining in addition to the standard CDL education57 Id.58 49 CFR 383.51(c)(6) (2010).59 49 CFR 383.93 (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 9


DOES THE DRIVER NEED A CDL?Is the GCWR/GVWR* ofthe vehicle or vehicles>26,001 lbs.?YesIs the driver operating avehicle that is acombination vehicle?YesNoNoIs the GVWR ofthe power unitalone>26,000 Lbs?NoIs the vehicle used totransport hazardous/toxic material(which is should be placarded)as classified by 49 U.S.C. 5103/49 CFR Part 172 or42 C.F.R. Part 73 or designed to transport 16 ormore passengers including the driver?YesNoNo CDL RequiredIs the total GVWR ofthe vehicle(s)being towed>10,000 lbs.?NoYesClass C CDLYesClass B CDLClass A CDL*All terms in bold face type are defined in the appendix of this monograph.1 0 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


pursuant to federal law. 60 Hazardous materials endorsementsalso require a security screening due tothe potential threat of terrorism. The TransportationSecurity Administration screens CDL operatorsseeking hazardous materials endorsements. If astate receives notices from TSA that a driver has notpassed this screening, they must revoke the endorsement.61 If granted, the following endorsementswill appear on the CDL itself:“T”—This designation allows the driver tohaul double or triple trailers.“P”—This allows the driver to operate passengervehicles commercially.“N”—This allows the driver to operate tankvehicles.“H”—This endorsement is required for alldrivers hauling hazardous materialcommercial loads.“X”—This indicates a driver with combined“H” and “N” designations that permitthe operation of tank vehicles containinghazardous materials.“S”—This is a designation for drivers ofschool buses.RestrictionsA CDL may also be issued with restrictions. AnyCDL will limit a driver to the operation of vehicletypes for which he has successfully tested. For instance,a driver may hold a Class B CDL permittinghim to operate Class B commercial vehicles. Whenhe goes in for his school bus endorsement, however,he tests only in a Class C bus. He will receive hisschool bus endorsement (“S” on his license) but thelicense will be issued with the restriction that he isonly allowed to operate Class C passenger vehiclesor school buses. Similarly, a driver may successfullypass CDL testing in a vehicle without air brakes. Hecan receive a CDL, but his CDL will restrict himto the operation of CMVs without air brakes (amore complicated system of braking than on a standardvehicle). This method of restriction ensuresthat only drivers with a demonstrated skill level foroperating a specific vehicle type will be on the roadin that vehicle. Enforcing restriction violations isimportant to supporting this safety measure.Exemptions to CDL RequirementsThe size or nature of a vehicle does not always determinewhether or not its driver needs a CDL forlawful operation. Vehicles used for recreational ornon-business purposes, for instance, do not requirea CDL under current federal regulations (state lawsmay be more restrictive). Also, some business operationsreceive waivers allowing their drivers to operatewithout a CDL (a valid driver’s license is stillrequired). Farm vehicles (run by the farm owner)that are used to transport agricultural products ormachinery to or from a farm, operating within a 150mile radius of that farm, will generally not requirea CDL for operation. 62 Firefighters operating lifesavingequipment that is well designated by emergencylights and sirens are not required by federallaw to hold a CDL (state law may differ). 63 TheState of Alaska may exempt certain CMV drivers. 64Drivers employed by eligible units of governmentand working with that jurisdiction in order to sandor plow roads may be exempt from the CDL requirementin certain circumstances. Military personnelare never required by federal law to hold aCDL in order to operate a CMV if that operation isfor military purposes. This exemption must be honoredby all states. 65In lieu of a full exemption, some drivers engagedin particular fields of employment may receive a60 49 CFR 177.816 (2010).61 49 CFR 1572.13 (2010).62 49 CFR 383.3(d)(1) (2010).63 49 CFR 383.3(d)(2) (2010).64 49 CFR 383.3(e) (2010).65 49 CFR 383.3(c) (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 1 1


‘restricted’ commercial driver’s license under thefederal regulations. A restricted license may waivesome of the licensing pre-conditions. For instance,some drivers working in agriculturally oriented jobsare not required to complete the same knowledgeand skills testing as other drivers. It is important toremember that states may not give restricted CDLsto drivers who have poor driving histories. RestrictedCDLs or CDL exemptions never functionto allow drivers whose licenses are suspended, cancelledor revoked to drive CMVs. To receive a restrictedCDL a driver must have a regular driver’slicense in good standing. A determination of whichdrivers are exempted or waived from all or part ofthe CDL requirements depend largely on the drivers’occupations, operating activities and state law,which may vary. Prosecutors should consult appropriatelicensing authorities if they have questions regardingwhether or not a CDL is required.Learner’s PermitUnder 49 CFR 383.23(c), non-CDL holders are allowedto operate CMVs with a learner’s permit. Adriver who holds a valid states driver’s license (orwho has passed the applicable vision, knowledgeand sign/symbol tests that are prerequisites for licensingin that state) may be eligible for a CDLlearner’s permit. A driver holding a learner’s permitmay only operate a CMV for the purposes of trainingand only when accompanied by a validly licensedCDL holder who is eligible for duty andpresent in the cab (not in the sleeper berth). 66 Driverswho operate CMVs with only a learner’s permitmay not transport any hazardous material that requiresa placard (as defined by 49 CFR 283.5). 67 Thefederal regulations, in 49 CFR 383.21, state that “noperson who operates a commercial motor vehicleshall at any time have more that one driver’s license.”It may not currently be considered a violationof the one-license rule for a driver with a CDLlearner’s permit to have a valid driver’s license froma different state, but the trend continues to be amovement towards restricting drivers to one driver’slicense at a time. Regardless, once a CDL is received,the driver is required to surrender the licensefrom the original state.66 49 CFR 383.23(c) (2010).67 Most drivers are familiar with the diamond shaped placard affixed to sometankers and trailers but are not aware that this placard signifies that thedriver is hauling hazardous materials.1 2 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


Driver ResponsibilitiesC D L D R I V E R S have a continuing duty to makesure that they and the vehicles they operate are fitfor operation. This ongoing duty requires that theyreport illness, drugs/medication use, or any injuriesthat could impair their physical ability. Drivers mustundergo a proper medical examination to make surethey are ready for the road. Similarly, drivers are requiredto ensure the safe condition of their vehicles.68 Drivers should decline to operate any unsafevehicle. In fact, there is nationwide motor carrierwhistle-blower protection for CMV drivers. Driverswho file a complaint, begin a proceeding, or whooffer testimony relating to a violation of commercialmotor vehicle safety regulation are federally safeguardedagainst being fired, disciplined or discriminatedagainst in terms of pay or privileges. Thisprotection is also afforded to a driver who refusesto operate a CMV if that operation would have violateda federal health or safety regulation and if thedriver (having reported an unsafe condition to anemployer who refused to correct the problem) reasonablythought that the operation of that vehiclecould have seriously injured or impaired himself oranother. Federal law, 40 U.S.C. 31105, protectsthese drivers who refuse to violate safety regulationsby prohibiting any retaliatory action of against themby their employers. The existence of this protectionshould be part of the training received by these drivers.To be certain that protected drivers are upholdingtheir responsibility to check the conditionof their vehicles, the federal government has createda roadside vehicle inspection program.68 Under both 49 CFR 392.7 and 49 CFR 392.8, drivers must inspect their vehicles’parts and accessories as well as the emergency equipment to legallyoperate those vehicles. CFR 383.21 (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 1 3


SAFETY INSPECTIONSRECORDSAccording to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance,the North American Standard InspectionProgram “focuses on commercial vehicle roadsideinspection efforts on vehicle and driver safety requirementsmost often associated with commercialmotor vehicle (CMV) crashes.” 69 Cooperating enforcementagencies agree to perform the inspectionsin accordance with the previously establishedstandards. Trucks passing the inspection receive decalsthat will generally (in the absence of other factors)allow them to bypass similar inspections forthree months. Decals, indicating that the vehicle haspassed inspection are placed in the lower right cornerof the windshield (on the outside). This systemhelps to prevent duplicate efforts by law enforcementand saves drivers and carriers valuable time.The safety inspections focus on critical items includingbrake systems, coupling devices, exhaustsystems, frames, fuel systems, lighting systems, securementof cargo, steering mechanisms, suspensions,tires, wheels, windshield wipers, certaincomponents in engine and battery compartmentsand emergency exits. The safety inspection processis nationally standardized. These inspections are notonly uniform within the United States but throughoutall of North America. 70 If a safety inspection revealsvehicle defects, its driver can be cited and thevehicle may be placed out of service until it is repaired.Drivers are also responsible for maintaining manydifferent records relating to their vehicles, the loadthey are carrying, their CDL privileges and howlong they have been on the road. State and localregulations also govern which documents must bemaintained and produced upon demand by law enforcement.With certain exceptions, drivers are requiredto prepare a written report at the end of eachshift that summarizes the functionality of the servicebrakes, parking brake, steering mechanism,lighting devices and reflectors, tires, horn, windshieldwipers, mirrors, coupling devices, wheels andrims, and emergency equipment. This report mustbe presented to their employers. 71 The drivers arerequired to identify any mechanical defect they detectedwhile operating the CMV. A driver takingover a CMV must review the inspection report preparedby the last driver of that vehicle before operatingit. The report should be checked forcorrective action on any previously noted defectsand signed by the new driver prior to operation. 72Drivers may decline to operate any defective or dangerousCMV and are protected from retaliatory dismissalor punitive actions by their employers. 7369 Understanding the North American Standard Inspection Program. CVSAPublication.70 Prosecutors dealing with crash cases should determine if a recent inspectionwas performed on any CMV involved and if any problems were identified.71 49 CFR 396.11 (2010).72 49 CFR 396.13 (2010).73 The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA), 49 USC Section 31105,prohibits retaliatory action by carriers against drivers who refuse to violateHOS or operate a CMV in a manner that violates federal regulations.1 4 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


HOURS OF SERVICEGenerally, commercial motor vehicle drivers operatingin interstate commerce are subject to Hoursof-Service(HOS) regulations set forth in 49 CFRPart 395. These rules govern when and how longCMV drivers may drive. Many states have enactedsimilar or identical regulations for allowable hoursof service for drivers operating in intrastate commerce.The rules governing hours of service differslightly depending on whether a driver is hauling aload of materials 74 or carrying passengers. 75 Factorssuch as consecutive days of service and rest periodsare also considered in determining which drivers aretoo fatigued to operate a CMV safely. The FMCSAProperty-CarryingCMV DriversHOURS-OF-SERVICE RULES 7611-Hour Driving LimitMay drive a maximum of 11hours after 10 consecutivehours off duty.14-Hour LimitMay not drive beyond the 14thconsecutive hour after comingon duty, following 10 consecutivehours off duty. Off-dutytime does not extend the 14-hour period.60/70-Hour On-Duty LimitMay not drive after 60/70 hourson duty in 7/8 consecutivedays. A driver may restart a 7/8consecutive day period aftertaking 34 or more consecutivehours off duty.Passenger-CarryingCMV Drivers10-Hour Driving LimitMay drive a maximum of 10hours after 8 consecutive hoursoff duty.15-Hour On-Duty LimitMay not drive after havingbeen on duty for 15 hours, following8 consecutive hours offduty. Off-duty time is not includedin the 15-hour period.60/70-Hour On-Duty LimitMay not drive after 60/70 hourson duty in 7/8 consecutivedays.provides the following table of hours-of-serviceguidelines.It is important to look at the multiple exceptionsto hours-of-service limitations allowed in the federaland state regulations. Severe weather, emergencyconditions, the content or the load, or ashort-haul operating radius may all provide exemptionsto HOS statutes. 77 Each driver and situationmust be examined on a case-by-case basis. Driversrequired to abide by HOS statutes must keep accuratelog books in their vehicles for inspection by lawenforcement officers. 78OUT-OF-SERVICE ORDERSIf a safety inspection or other investigation revealsa serious issue with either a vehicle or its driver, theinspector may issue an out-of-service order. Onlyan agent designated by FMCSA has the authorityto issue an out-of-service order (but all law enforcementmay enforce the driving prohibition).Law enforcement officers can obtain the authorityto enforce federal safety regulations if certain requirementsare met. These officers, who must workfor jurisdictions that have adopted the federal regulations,receive specialized training regardingproper enforcement of the federal regulations.Some city or county law enforcement officers mayhave this authority but it is generally found in eitherfederal inspectors or state commercial vehicleenforcement units. Officers who are not designatedFMCSA agents may and should cite CMV driversSleeper Berth ProvisionDrivers using the sleeper berthprovision must take at least 8consecutive hours in thesleeper berth, plus a separate2 consecutive hours either inthe sleeper berth, off duty, orany combination of the two.Sleeper Berth ProvisionDrivers using a sleeper berthmust take at least 8 hours in thesleeper berth, and may split thesleeper-berth time into two periodsprovided neither is lessthan 2 hours.74 The hours-of-service regulations have been the focus of industry-wide reviewand are subject to change. This chart is intended to demonstrate generalprinciples of restricting the time a driver may drive and how muchtime, proportionally, he should rest. Prosecutors must check state and federalguidelines for the most recent HOS restrictions. See FMCSA’s ProposedRule changing the hours of service requirements in 49 CFR Parts385, 386, 390, et al., issued January 4, 2010.75 49 CFR 395.1 (2010).76 49 CFR 395.8 (2010).77 49 CFR 395.1 (2010).78 49 CFR 395.8 (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 1 5


for standard traffic infractions such as speeding orfailure to obey traffic control devices. Suspected violationsof federal regulations should be referred tothe proper authority for that state.A driver who has been issued an out-of-serviceorder is prevented from any operation of a CMVfor any reason whatsoever. 79 Drivers will be placedout of service for critical safety violations such asdriving over their legally allowable hours of service.80 A driver’s vehicle may also be placed out ofservice if a safety inspection reveals that a criticalmechanical or loading flaw exists that could cause acrash or injury. 81 Federal law requires regular compliancereviews of motor carriers to verify compliancewith regulations and safety standards. Whencarriers receive an unsatisfactory inspection or whencritical safety violations are discovered, an entirecarrier may be placed out of service if those violationsare not speedily corrected (for example, criticalmaintenance issues with fleet trucks that are notrepaired appropriately). 82Driving a CMV in violation of such an order willresult in a 180-day to one-year disqualification for afirst conviction (this period increases to 180 days totwo years if the driver’s violation involves the transportof placardable hazardous material or a vehicledesigned to carry 16 or more passengers includingthe driver). A second conviction of an out-ofserviceorder results in a CDL disqualification oftwo to five years (this period increases to three tofive years if the driver’s violation involves the transportof placardable hazardous material or a vehicledesigned to carry 16 or more passengers includingthe driver). For a third or subsequent conviction ofan out-of-service order, the period of disqualificationranges from three to five years. To determinemultiple violations of out-of-service orders, all violationswithin a 10-year period are counted. 83 Whencalculating whether violations of the FMCSRs fallwithin a certain time period, it is the dates of the offenseand not the dates of the convictions thatshould be considered as the date of the violation.In addition to disqualification, drivers and employerscan also face steep civil penalties for violationsof out-of-service orders. A first violation fordriver will cost no less than $1,100 and no morethan $2,750. 84 Employers will face civil penaltiesranging between $2,750 and $11,000. The civilpenalties and CDL implications serve as strong incentivesfor operators and drivers to obey out-ofserviceorders.79 49 CFR 395.13 (2010).80 Id.83 49 CFR 383.51 (2010).84 49 CFR. 383.53 (2010).81 49 CFR 396.9 (2010).82 49 CFR 385.13 (2010).1 6 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


Owner/EmployerResponsibilitiesI N T E R S TAT E C A R R I E R S must register withFMCSA and receive authority to operate an interstatemotor carrier business in the United Statesprior to transporting cargo or passengers. Once thisoperating permit is obtained, the government is ableto monitor carriers and make sure that they are followingall regulations. Employers are statutorily requiredto know and follow federal regulationspertaining to the safe operation of their businesses. 85The federal regulations place multiple responsibilitiesand attendant penalties on employers who violatesafety statutes. For instance, employers maynot knowingly allow a driver to operate a CMV ifthat driver’s state CDL has been suspended, revoked,or cancelled or that driver’s CDL eligibilityhas been lost. 86 Employers also may not allow anydriver with more than one CDL or who is an outof-serviceorder to operate a CMV. Carrier may notallow drivers to violate state or federal safety regulationspertaining to railroad highway crossings. 87Violation of any of these regulations will bringstrong penalties to carriers. Ultimately, carriers areresponsible for their vehicles and for following allstate and federal guidelines in hiring and supervisingtheir drivers.In addition to making sure that all of their vehiclesare regularly inspected and properly maintained,88 owners must also make sure that they havesafe drivers working for them. Employers may onlyhire drivers who have successfully passed pre-employmentdrug-screening. 89 The applicant drugscreeningprocess is not a foolproof method ofcreating a drug-free workplace. If an applicant is denieddue to a positive drug screen, the prospectiveemployer is not legally required to keep a record ofthe test. The applicant may simply wait a few daysand apply with another carrier. The next potentialemployer may never know about the prior positivedrug screen. Employers are required, however, tokeep records of the federally mandated testing ofemployees described previously in this text.In addition to random testing in accordance withstate and federal law, employers must also requirean alcohol and drug test if a driver, while operatinga CMV, is cited for involvement in an accident resultingin certain types of bodily injury. 90 This requirementalso applies to crashes that cause damageto a vehicle to the extent it is disabled and must betowed away from the scene. In some cases, a testcollected by law enforcement or other authoritiesmay fulfill this requirement.In general, a carrier must keep detailed recordsof its compliance with state and federal regulations.To assure compliance with this requirement, U.S.federal safety investigators conduct on-site compliancereviews examining a motor carrier’s operations.These reviews may focus on the operator’s HOSrecords, vehicle maintenance, CDL certifications,controlled substance and alcohol testing, financialresponsibility and safety record. The investigationdetermines whether or not a carrier is satisfactorilycomplying with all regulations. Carriers who arefound to be out of compliance may be prohibitedfrom operations until corrective actions are taken.85 49 CFR 390.3(e) (2010).86 49 CFR 383.37 (2010).87 Id.90 49 CFR 382.303 (2010) requires chemical testing of drivers who are citedfor accidents where a person is injured to the extent that treatment is neededaway from the scene of the accident.88 49 CFR 396.3 (2010).89 49 CFR 382.301(2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 1 7


1 8 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E SCDL drivers have a continuing dutyto make sure that they and the vehiclesthey operate are fit for operation.


Prosecutorial ConsiderationsP R O S E C U T O R S handling cases involving any defendantwho holds a CDL should be aware thatboth state and federal laws may apply. These lawsmay affect CDL holders differently than non-CDLholders. This disparate treatment is warranted becauseCMVs can potentially cause greater damagethan smaller, non-commercial vehicles. Both criminaland administrative consequences can stem fromcertain traffic and felony convictions. It is importantto note that the term “conviction” as intendedby Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations mayhave a different meaning from state definitions ofthe same term as it relates to criminal code or procedure.Federal CMV regulations define conviction 91 as“an unvacated adjudication of guilt, or a determinationthat a person has violated or failed to complywith the law in a court of original jurisdiction or byan authorized administrative tribunal, an unvacatedforfeiture of bail or collateral deposited to securethe person’s appearance in court, a plea of guilty ornolo contendere accepted by the court, the paymentof a fine or court cost, or violation of condition ofrelease without bail, regardless of whether or notthe penalty is rebated, suspended, or probated.”CDL VIOLATIONS AND CONSEQUENCESDepending on the nature and severity of a traffic orcriminal conviction, a defendant could become disqualifiedand barred from operating a CMV requiringa CDL. Federal regulations within FMCSRsestablish the definition of disqualification as:1. the suspension, revocation, or cancellationof a CDL by the State or jurisdictionof issuance;2. the withdrawal of a driver’s privileges asthe result of a violation of State or locallaw relating to motor vehicle traffic control(other than parking, vehicle weight,or vehicle defect violations); or3. the determination by FMCSA that adriver is not qualified to operate a commercialmotor vehicle under 49 CFR Part391. 92 A disqualification renders thedriver ineligible to obtain a CDL untilthat disqualification period terminates.States are required to disqualify the CDL forthese purposes but may impose disqualifications forother reasons. In many cases, the offense that led tothe disqualification of the CDL privileges also requiresa disqualification of all driving privileges (thisis more commonly referred to as a suspension whenregarding non-CDL licenses). Some states imposelicense suspension for non-driving offenses or actionssuch as a failure to pay child support or possessionof illegal drugs. It is important to rememberthat a suspension of the underlying driving privilegesalso affects the CDL privileges even if the offensedoes not specifically require a suspensionunder federal regulations. Further, there are instancesin which the federally-established minimumperiod of disqualification for the CDL exceeds theminimum period of suspension (according to statelaw) of the non-commercial privileges. Thus, a noncommercialsuspension may be curable before theCDL disqualification is curable. In these instances,the state can reinstate the non-commercial privi-91 49 CFR 383.5 (2010).92 Id.C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 1 9


TABLE 1- CDL DISQUALIFICATION FOR MAJOR OFFENSES 9 3If a driver operates amotor vehicle and isconvicted of:For a first conviction orrefusal to be testedwhile operating a CMV*For a first conviction orrefusal to be testedwhile operating a non-CMV*For a first conviction orrefusal to be testedwhile operating a CMVtransporting hazardousmaterials required to beplacarded under theHazardous MaterialsRegulations (49 CFR part172, subpart F)*For a second convictionor refusal to be tested ina separate incident ofany combination ofoffenses in this Tablewhile operating a CMV *For a second convictionor refusal to be tested ina separate incident ofany combination ofoffenses in this Tablewhile operating a non-CMV*(1) Being under theinfluence of alcohol asprescribed by State law.1 year.1 year.3 years.Life.Life.(2) Being under theinfluence of a controlledsubstance.1 year.1 year.3 years.Life.Life.(3) Having an alcoholconcentration of 0.04 orgreater while operatinga CMV.1 year.Not applicable.3 years.Life.Not applicable.(4) Refusing to take analcohol test as requiredby a State or jurisdictionunder its impliedconsent laws orregulations as defined in§383.72 of this part.1 year.1 year.3 years.Life.Life.(5) Leaving the scene ofan accident.1 year.1 year.3 years.Life.Life.(6) Using the vehicle tocommit a felony, otherthan a felony describedin paragraph (b)(9) ofthis table.1 year.1 year.3 years.Life.Life.(7) Driving a CMV when,as a result of priorviolations committedoperating a CMV, thedriver’s CDL is revoked,suspended, or canceled,or the driver isdisqualified fromoperating a CMV.1 year.Not applicable.3 years.Life.Not applicable.(8) Causing a fatalitythrough the negligentoperation of a CMV,including but not limitedto the crimes of motorvehicle manslaughter,homicide by motorvehicle and negligenthomicide.1 year.Not applicable.3 years.Life.Not applicable.(9) Using the vehicle inthe commission of afelony involvingmanufacturing,distributing, ordispensing a controlledsubstance.Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.*These convictions will count towards disqualification of any individual who held a CDLor who should have held a CDL at the time of the offense, regardless of actual CDL status.Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.2 0 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


No driver may operate a CMV whenany driving privilege is suspended,revoked, disqualified, denied, orcancelled.leges but cannot reinstate the CDL privileges. Toevaluate the differences in these two suspension periods,one must examine the table of disqualificationsin the federal regulations (or the properlyadopted CDL suspensions in state law) as comparedto the minimum suspension periods for non-CDLprivileges provided for in state law or regulation. ACDLIS status check is necessary to confirm the actualstatus of a driver’s CDL.No driver may operate a CMV when any drivingprivilege is suspended, revoked, disqualified, denied,or cancelled. Drivers may be disqualified from operatinga CMV for up to one year for offenses committedwhile driving a non-CMV as well as whiledriving a CMV. These offenses include the firstconviction of driving under the influence, drivingwith a BAC of .04% or more, refusing to submit tochemical testing at the direction of law enforcement(as required by jurisdictions DUI/DWI/impliedconsent laws), leaving the scene of an accident, 94using a commercial vehicle in the commission ofany felony, or causing a fatality through the negligentoperation of a CMV. 95 If a CMV driver commitsany of those violations while transportinghazardous materials that require a placard on thevehicle, that driver will be disqualified for threeyears. Subsequent violations for any of these offensesmay result in CDL disqualification for life.To determine if it is a first or subsequent violation,convictions committed while driving both CMVsand, in some instances, non-CMV convictions willbe counted. 96The CFR also mandates certain periods of CDLdisqualification for serious moving violations.Under CDL standards, a serious moving traffic violationcan include excessive speeding (15 mph ormore above the posted speed limit), reckless driving(including driving a CMV with wanton, willfuldisregard for the safety of persons or property), improperor erratic lane changes, following too closely,or a violation connected to a fatal crash involvingtraffic control devices. Prosecutors can refer to 49CFR 383.51 (also this monograph pages 29 and 31)to determine which offenses must occur in a CMVto cause disqualification and which may occur in eithera CMV or non-commercial vehicle. Generally,two convictions for serious moving violations withinthree years will result in a 60-day disqualification.Three citations resulting in convictions within threeyears will receive in a 120-day disqualification. Thethree year time period should be measured fromdate of citation to date of next citation and not fromthe conviction dates.Prosecutors should consult both state and federalregulations when prosecuting any CDL ticket becausesome states have adopted more stringent standardsthan required under the federal regulations.When reviewing a driver’s status, a prosecutorshould also review the criminal history to check forpotentially disqualifying non-traffic related felony93 Table 1 to 49 CFR 383.51(b) (2010).94 The term accident is used because that is the term given within the languageof the CFR. Prosecutors should remember that only unforeseeableconsequences to actions are truly accidental. It is usually more accurate torefer to a traffic incident as a collision, crash or wreck.95 49 CFR 383.51 (2010).96 49 CFR 383.51(a)(4) (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 2 1


TABLE 2- CDL DISQUALIFICATION FOR SERIOUS OFFENSES 9 7If the driver operates a motorvehicle and is convicted of:2nd conviction of anycombination of offenses inthis Table in a separateincident within a 3-yearperiod while operating a CMV,a CDL holder* must bedisqualified from operating aCMV for . . .2nd conviction of anycombination of offenses inthis Table in a separateincident within a 3-yearperiod while operating a non-CMV, a CDL holder must bedisqualified from operating aCMV, if the conviction resultsin the revocation, cancellation,or suspension of theCDL holder’s license or non-CMV driving privileges, for . . .3rd or subsequent convictionof any combination of offensesin this Table in a separateincident within a 3-yearperiod while operating a CMV,a person required to have aCDL and a CDL holder must bedisqualified from operating aCMV for . . .3rd or subsequent convictionof any combination ofoffenses in this Table in aseparate incident within a 3-year period while operating anon-CMV, a CDL holder mustbe disqualified from operatinga CMV, if the convictionresults in the revocation, cancellation,or suspension of theCDL holder’s license or non-CMV driving privileges, for . . .(1) Speeding excessively,involving any speed of 24.1kmph (15 mph) or more abovethe posted speed limit60 days60 days120 days120 days.(2) driving recklessly, asdefined by State or local lawor regulation, including but,not limited to, offenses ofdriving a motor vehicle inwillful or wanton disregard forthe safety of persons orproperty60 days60 days120 days120 days.(3) making improper or erratictraffic lane changes60 days60 days120 days120 days.(4) following the vehicle aheadtoo closely60 days60 days120 days120 days.(5) Violating State or local lawrelating to motor vehicletraffic control (other than aparking violation) arising inconnection with a fatalaccident60 days60 days120 days120 days.(6) driving a CMV withoutobtaining a CDL60 daysNot applicable120 daysNot applicable.(7) driving a CMV without aCDL in the driver’spossession*60 daysNot applicable120 daysNot applicable.(8) driving a CMV without theproper class of CDL and/orendorsements for the specificvehicle group being operatedor for the passengers or typeof cargo being transported60 daysNot applicable120 daysNot applicable.(9) violating a state or locallaw or ordinance on motorvehicle traffic controlprohibiting texting whiledriving60 daysNot applicable120 daysNot applicable.*Any individual who provides proof to the enforcement authority that issued the citation, by the date the individual must appear incourt or pay any fine for such a violation, that the individual held a valid CDL on the date the citation was issued, shall not be guiltyof this offense.2 2 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


TABLE 3- CDL DISQUALIFICATION FOR RAILROAD-HIGHWAY GRADE CROSSING OFFENSES 9 8If the driver is convicted of operating aCMV in violation of a Federal, state orlocal law because:For a first conviction a person requiredto have a CDL and a CDL holder mustbe disqualified from operating a CMVfor...For a second conviction of anycombination of offenses in this Tablein a separate incident within a 3-yearperiod a person required to have a CDLand a CDL holder must be disqualifiedfrom operating CMV for…For a third or subsequent conviction ofany combination of offenses in thisTable in a separate incident within a3-year period, a person required tohave a CDL and CDL holder must bedisqualified from operating a CMV for(1) The driver is not required to alwaysstop, but fails to slow down and checkthat tracks are clear of an approachingtrainNo less than 60 daysNo less than 120 daysNo less than 1 year(2) The driver is not required to alwaysstop, but fails to stop before reachingthe crossing, if the tracks are not clearNo less than 60 daysNo less than 120 daysNo less than 1 year(3) The driver is always required tostop, but fails to stop before drivingonto the crossingNo less than 60 daysNo less than 120 daysNo less than 1 year(4) The driver fails to have sufficientspace to drive completely through thecrossing without stoppingNo less than 60 daysNo less than 120 daysNo less than 1 year(5)The driver fails to obey a trafficcontrol device or the directions of anenforcement official at the crossingNo less than 60 daysNo less than 120 daysNo less than 1 year(6) The driver fails to negotiate acrossing because of insufficientundercarriage clearanceNo less than 60 daysNo less than 120 daysNo less than 1 yearconvictions. Felony convictions that would causedisqualification fall within the ‘major offenses’framework. Other offenses are considered ‘serious’rather than ‘major’. These offenses include speeding,improper lane change, or even driving a CMVwithout first obtaining a proper CDL. Serious offensesmay still act to disqualify CDL holders forshorter periods of time as seen in the followingchart.There are also disqualifications for other violationsof safety regulations. Drivers of CMVs are requiredto observe certain safety practices at railwaycrossing.Also, drivers who disregard out-of service ordersrelating to themselves or their vehicles will facemandatory penalties.Regardless of the offense, reporting the convictionis mandatory. If the defendant is convicted ofany violation of law that has potential CDL implications,it is imperative that the authorities in thestate that holds the license are aware of the convictionso that they may take appropriate action on thelicense if required. The prosecutor should never assumethis is being done; he should make sure it isdone. The judgment documents should reflectwhen a felony or traffic-related offense is committedwith any motor vehicle and clerks must forwardthose documents to the appropriate state licensingauthorities (see Criminal Charges section below).Prosecutors should be aware of the reporting proceduresin their jurisdictions. They should be preparedto assist with the completion of the reportingdocuments (judgments, suspension orders, etc.). Finally,prosecutors must make sure that all convictionsare reported as soon after the conviction aspossible.97 Table 2 to 49 CFR 383.51(c) (2010).98 Table 3 to 49 CFR 383.51(d) (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 2 3


TABLE 4- CDL DISQUALIFICATION FOR VIOLATING OUT-OF-SERVICE ORDERS 9 9If a driver operates a CMV and isconvicted of…For a first conviction while operating aCMV a person required to have a CDLand a CDL holder must be disqualifiedfrom operating a CMV for...For a second conviction in a separateincident within a 10-year period whileoperating a CMV, a person required tohave a CDL and a CDL holder must bedisqualified from operating a CMVfor...For a third or subsequent conviction ina separate incident within a 10-yearperiod while operating a CMV, a personrequired to have a CDL and a CDLholder must be disqualified from operatinga CMV for...(1) Violating a driver or vehicle out-ofserviceorder while transportingnon-hazardous materialsNo less than 180 days nor more than 1yearNo less than 2 years or more than 5yearsNo less than 3 years or more than 5years(2) Violating a deriver or vehicle out-ofserviceorder while transportinghazardous materials required to beplacarded under part 172, subpart F ofthis title (49), or while operating avehicle designed to transport 16 ormore passengers, including the driverNo less than 180 days nor more than 2yearsNo less than 3 years or more than 5yearsNo less than 3 years or more than 5yearsCRIMINAL CHARGESIn addition to traffic citations involving commercialvehicles, prosecutors may also see crimes that directlyor indirectly relate to CDL holders. Manystates have, for instance, incorporated the .04%BAC limit for CMV drivers under the federal regulationsinto the state criminal code. CMV drivers,therefore, can be found guilty of a DUI, DWI orOWI offense at a much lower per se level than driversof non-commercial vehicles. These differingstandards may also apply to cases involving commercialvehicle crashes. Some jurisdictions considercommercial drivers to have a greater legal duty-ofcareto the public and charge CMV operators whocause crashes with negligent or reckless driving. Finally,a national trend towards more focused trafficenforcement is leading to increased felony chargesinvolving the use of a CMV to commit the crime.These felonies can include serious offenses such astransporting illegal substances (including drugs andstolen goods) or even trafficking human beingsacross the country for various illegal purposes.All prosecutors should be aware of the CDL implicationsof certain criminal convictions. A prosecutorhandling drug cases, for instance, may findthat by reporting convictions to the licensing authorities,he is able to disqualify a defendant fromCMV operation and thus limit that defendant’s abilityto transport large quantities of drugs across thecountry. Many prosecutors are unaware that beingconvicted of any felony (kidnapping, felony assault,etc.) committed in any type of motor vehicle willdisqualify a CDL holder for at least a year and possiblyfor life. 100 While the disqualification of a CDLdoes not automatically result in the revocation ofthe driver’s non-commercial driving eligibility, somestates will revoke a non-commercial license uponconviction for any felony committed with a motorvehicle. 101 Reducing the mobility of certain offendersmay go a long way towards impeding their abilityto commit new offenses. An understanding ofCDL violations and penalties can become anothertool for prosecutors handling serious offenses. Becausetraffic codes and the penalties for traffic violationsvary by state, prosecutors should consulttheir own criminal codes regularly to determinehow their states have adopted or included federalregulations. It is important to remember that as newresearch and traffic safety trends emerge, trafficsafety codes may also be changing. Prosecutorsshould consult their state’s code regularly to maintainan accurate understanding of the state of thelaw.99 Table 4 to 49 CFR 383.51(e) (2010).100 49 CFR 383.51 (2010).101 Tennessee mandates the year-long revocation of driving privileges for anydriver conviction of a felony committed with a motor vehicle in T.C.A.§55-50-501(2009).2 4 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


Masking and ReportingI T I S E S S E N T I A L for all professionals in thecriminal justice system to work together to ensurethat only safe and responsible CDL drivers are licensedand allowed to operate large vehicles. Submittinghigh quality and timely data to licensingauthorities helps keep unsafe drivers from obtainingor renewing CDLs. Clearly the proper operationof a CMV is more difficult and, arguably, evenmore important than driving a passenger vehiclesafely. Some in the criminal justice system, however,adopt a “give the working man a break” mentality.This mentality is well-meaning but it may endangerlives. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, orjudges may feel that commercial drivers deserve“another chance” after violating traffic laws (this canresult in multiple violations without serious consequence).Defense attorneys argue that penalties forCDL traffic violations unfairly affect commercialdrivers and assert that CDL holders should receivea reduction, dismissal, or deferral of a charge orpenalties. That argument, however, is illogical whenconsidered in terms of the increased likelihood of aserious injury or death occurring if one of thosedrivers is involved in a crash while behind the wheelof a commercial vehicle. Logic dictates that commercialdrivers, with their extensive training and experience,fully understand the potential consequencesthat violating the law by driving dangerously in anyC O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 2 5


vehicle can have on their CDLs. CDL holders donot deserve multiple chances to break the law. Commercialmotor vehicles may be hauling hazardousmaterials, multiple trailers, or even numerous passengers.These drivers are operating huge vehiclesat significant speeds and they, therefore, have an increasedduty to the public with whom they share theroads.MASKINGWhen prosecutors or judges treat CDL holders differently,allowing their convictions to be deferred,dismissed, or to go unreported, this may be consideredmasking which is prohibited by the FMCSRsand some state statutes. The federal governmentrecognizes the vital role that state and local authoritiesplay in safe-guarding the nation’s roads and haseven passed legislation intended to guarantee thatevery jurisdiction fulfills that duty equally. This legislationis intended to support CDLIS and the accuracyof its records. To help maintain thataccuracy, effective September 30, 2002, 102 CDLholders were no longer eligible for deferral of movingviolations under the federal statutory structure.The code forbids any masking of convictions bystate authorities (court systems, licensing authorities,etc.). The code is explicit in the prohibition and49 CFR 384.226 states:The State must not mask, defer impositionof judgment, or allow an individual to enterinto a diversion program that would preventa CDL driver’s conviction for any violation,in any type of motor vehicle, of a State orlocal traffic control law (except a parkingviolation) from appearing on the CDLISdriver’s record, whether the driver wasconvicted for an offense committed in theState where the driver is licensed or inanother StateThis prohibition carries penalties that can be assignedto states failing to abide by the no maskingrule. The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Actof 1999 103 required the agency to withhold MotorCarrier Safety Assistance Program grant funds fromthe states if they did not comply with the regulations. 104Further, the Act allows federal authorities to withholdcertain portions of a state’s federal-aid highwayfunds, potentially amounting to millions of dollars,for non-compliance. Additionally, the federalgovernment retains the right to prohibit statesfalling out of compliance with federal safetyregulations from issuing valid CDLs. It is the inevery state’s best interest to follow all federal mandatesrelating to CDLs. Some states have gone sofar as to adopt the anti-masking language exactly orvery closely in their own state codes. 105While the prohibition is clear, the complexity ofsome cases makes it difficult for prosecutors toknow whether or not a potential disposition wouldbe considered masking. To that end prosecutors102 49 CFR 384.226 (2010).103 Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, Pub. L. No.106-159, 49U.S.C. §113. The stated purposes of the Act was to (1) establish a FederalMotor Carrier Safety Administration and (2) reduce the number and severityof large-truck involved crashes through more CMV and driver inspectionsand carrier compliance reviews, stronger enforcement, expeditedcompletion of rules, sound research, and effective CDL testing, recordkeeping, and sanctions.104 49 CFR 384.401 (2010): First year of non-compliance: 5% of the federalaidhighway funds; second year of non-compliance: up to 10% of federalaidhighway funds105 Minnesota (MINN.STAT..ANN. § 171.163); Colorado (COLO.REV.STAT.ANN. § 42-4-1719); Kansas (KAN.STAT.ANN. §8-2, 150).2 6 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


M A S K I N G S C E N A R I O SDRIVER CHARGESPROSECUTOR ACTIONSCOURT ACTIONSMASKING?Failure to YieldNONECourt convicts but allows TrafficSchool in lieu of reported convictionYESDUIDismisses caseNONENOReckless DrivingNONECourt accepts defendant’s plea of ‘nocontest’, removes the case from thedocket for 6 months and thendismisses citation based on driver’sclean history.YESSpeeding 20 mph over the limit whilein a CMVDriver agrees to pay speeding fine andcosts.Court collects fines then dismissescase and does not report as aconviction to the state licensingauthorityYESDriving while SuspendedDriver pleads to chargeAllows withdrawal of Guilty pleaNOstruggle with what they can and cannot do whendealing with persons that hold commercial drivers’licenses. Masking, at its core, is allowing a convictionthat will affect a CDL holder’s (or a driver of aCMV who should have held a CDL at the time ofhis offense) driving history to be deferred ordiverted so as not to be reported.Generally, masking as contemplated by 49 CFR384.226, requires adjudication or, at least, factualfinding of guilt followed by some action that intendsto avoid the record or mandated consequences ofconviction. The anti-masking provision does notprevent plea bargaining or dismissal of charges.Prosecutors should consider carefully the purposeof entering into a plea agreement or allowing anytype of diversion. Prosecutorial discretion mayalways be exercised in support of due process orconstitutional rights. Sometimes, the state’s case isfactually or practically weak on some point.Reducing CDL violations for the sole reason ofavoiding potential impact on a driver’s license,however, acts to contravene the intent and functionof state and federal safety regulations. The purposeof the anti-masking federal and state rule is toensure that licensing authorities have an accuratepicture of a CDL holder’s driving history. Theincreased penalties for multiple violations work todisqualify unsafe drivers. The only tool courts andprosecutors have to determine how serious a driver’spattern of traffic violations has been is the officialdriver’s history. If that history is artificiallypreserved one time, or over and over again, the nextprosecutor or judge has no way to know.When confronted with defense counsel arguingagainst the imposition of penalties or the reportingof convictions, prosecutors should keep in mind theanti-masking prohibition is not an arbitrary rule.This legislation was passed strictly as a safetymeasure intended to keep the most dangerousoffenders off the roads. A 2007 study assessed whichC O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 2 7


factors played a role in CMV crashes. 106 Up to 87%of the studied attributable factors in fatal crasheswere driver related. Most involved failure tocorrectly assess the situation or poor drivingdecisions. The most common associated factorsrecorded included driver-based factors such as legaldrug use, traveling too fast for conditions, lack offamiliarity with the roadway, inadequatesurveillance, fatigue, and feeling under pressurefrom motor carriers. The propensity to committraffic violations has been shown as a good predictorof which drivers will cause crashes. A 2005 study bythe American Transportation Research Institutefound that violations from speeding (more than15mph over) to reckless driving correlate to anincreased chance of future crash involvement. Thechance of future crash involvement increasessignificantly for traffic violators and can go up by asmuch as 56% to 325%. 107 The research clearlyshows that enforcement of CDL violations is criticalto identifying and removing the drivers who posethe most potential danger from the road.If a defense attorney raises any type of equalprotection argument by asserting that theimposition of harsher penalties on CDL holders isconstitutionally prohibited, a prosecutor can rely onmultiple cases addressing that argument. The mostfrequent appeals based on this equal protectionargument have come from states that treat CDLsdifferently than a non-commercial license when theholder is convicted of impaired driving. These statespermit a restricted or probationary license for anon-CDL but do not extend the same privilege to adriver’s CDL. Multiple courts have examined andupheld these different standards for commercial vs.non-commercial drivers. Virginia’s appellate court(Russell Lee Lockett v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 438S.E.2d 497(Va. App. Ct. 1993) upheld a state’sauthority to refuse to issue a restricted CDL to anoffender convicted of DUI, even if a noncommercialdriver could get a restricted license.The California Court of Appeals (Peretto v. Dep’t ofMotor Vehicles, 235 Cal. App. 3d 449 (App. Ct.1991)) upheld differing periods of licensesuspension for CDL vs. non-CDL holdersEssentially, these courts are finding no equalprotection violation in differences of penalties forcommercial vs. non-commercial drivers as long asthere is a rational basis for the discrepancy. Thatrationale can logically be extended to differences inCDL driver qualifications, hours-of servicerequirements and testing. Because of the greatersize, weight and potential danger of their vehiclesas well the CMVs more complicated operatingsystems, these drivers can be legitimately held tohigher standards.REPORTINGConsistently reporting convictions serves manypurposes. Drivers may be affected by multiplesources of pressure and influence to move faster andperhaps cut-corners in terms of equipment oroperational safety. If law enforcement does notenforce regulations and the court systems do nothold drivers responsible for violating them, then theentire framework of state and federal safety106 The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) was based on a threeyeardata collection project conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier SafetyAdministration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).LTCCS was the first-ever national study to attempt to determine the criticalevents and associated factors that contribute to serious large truckcrashes allowing DOT and others to implement effective countermeasuresto reduce the occurrence and severity of these crashes.107 RONALD R. KNIPLING, PHD., SAFETY FOR THE LONG HAUL:LARGE TRUCK CRASH RISK, CAUSATION & PREVENTION 105(2009).2 8 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


egulations is ineffective. Conversely, strongenforcement can serve as the balancing influencethat provides the incentive for CDL drivers tooperate within the bounds of the law.Prosecutors who avoid masking and always reportCDL convictions are supporting other prosecutorsand law enforcement officers across the countrywho may deal with the same offender in the future.It is important to report all relevant convictionsincluding drug trafficking or any felony committedin any vehicle if the defendant holds or should haveheld a CDL. Without a clear picture of a driver’shistory, a prosecutor, judge, or even a perspectiveemployer will be unable to determine the threatposed by that driver and what remedial actionsshould be taken to correct his poor driving. Drivers’histories are also used by traffic prosecutors whohandle impaired driving cases as well as the seriousor fatal crashes caused by impaired or recklessdriving. Those prosecutors may rely on a driver’shistory at a bond or sentencing hearing.The bottom line for prosecutors is that allowingconvicted traffic offenders to “modify” a convictionor keep it off their record in an attempt tocircumvent driver license action is masking. Whilethere may be very good reasons to amend or pleabargain to a lesser charge, all prosecutors are subjectto an ethical obligation to follow the law and avoidany perception of a failure to do so. Moreover, it isimpossible to predict with 100% accuracy whichoffender may go on to commit a more seriousoffense or guess which traffic violations will receivescrutiny from higher authorities or media interest.In such cases, a prosecutor who has documented hisreasons for any reduction, deferral, or dismissal of aCDL-related violation will be in the best positionto explain his decision.C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 2 9


3 0 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E SAll commercial drivers, no mattertheir point of origin, must have a CDLconsidered valid under federalregulations to operate a CMV in theUnites States.


International Motor VehiclesP R O S E C U T O R S H A N D I N G C D L C A S E S mayoccasionally have a case involving a driver who isdomiciled in a foreign country (outside the 50 statesand the District of Columbia). All commercialdrivers, no matter their point of origin, must have aCDL considered valid under federal regulations tooperate a CMV in the Unites States. Currently,there are four types of CDL considered acceptable(with some restrictions) for the operation of CMVswithin the United States. The fouracceptable commercial license types areas follows:1.) Any CDL issued by one of the 50states and the District of Columbia,2.) Valid Mexican CDLs issued byMexico’s Secretariat of Communicationsand Transportation calledLicencia Federal de Conductor.3.) Valid Canadian CDLs issued by oneof the Canadian Provinces or Territories.4.) Valid U.S. Nonresident CDLs issuedby a state or the District of Columbiato drivers temporarily residing in theUnited States, but domiciled in aforeign country.If there are no restrictions, a CDL issued by anyof the 50 states or the District of Columbia will beconsidered valid anywhere in North America.Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories are notincluded in the definition of a state in section 12016of the CMVSA (49 U.S.C. §31301(13)); they aretreated as foreign countries for purposes of theCDL requirements. A person domiciled in a foreigncountry is not required to surrender his or herforeign license in order to obtain a nonresidentCDL by federal law. This practice is not considereda violation of the one-license, one-record rule. 108There are two reasons for permitting this duallicensing to a person domiciled in a foreign country:(a) There is no reciprocal agreement with foreigncountries (other than Canada and Mexico)recognizing their testing and licensing standards asequivalent to the standards in part 383, and (b) theNonresident CDL may not be recognized as a validlicense to drive in a foreign country.The North American Free Trade Agreementfocused on trade between Mexico, the UnitedStates, and Canada. Because transportation,specifically trucking, is necessary for efficient trade,the agreement naturally considered the idea ofcommercial drivers being able to move freelybetween North American countries. By 1992,108 49 CFR 383.21 (2010).C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 3 1


agreements with Canada and Mexico established apolicy of mutual CDL reciprocity. Generally, NorthAmerican CDL holders are able to operate withinthe United States as part of internationalcooperation. This cooperation works because of thesimilar testing, licensing and safety standardsadopted by all three countries. Both Canada andMexico have established strict licensingrequirements and safety measures. For instance, toassist commercial motor vehicle drivers andoperators, Canada developed the National SafetyCode for Commercial Motor Vehicles (NSC). As aresult, a final rule was issued in the Federal Register(54 FR 22285) on Tuesday, May 23, 1989 in theRules and Regulations section. This ruling,determined by the Federal Highway Administrator,stated that a commercial driver’s license issued byCanadian provinces and territories under theCanadian National Safety Code meets thecommercial driver testing and licensing standardscontained in 49 CFR Part 383 (see also 54 FR22392). Such a license is considered valid foroperating CMVs in the United States. Everyprovince and territory in Canada has implementedsome local variations of the National Safety Codelicense classification system. Canada does not issuea separate CDL. Instead, Canadian drivers areissued a “Classified” driver’s license that defineswhat “class” of vehicle may be driven andsubstantiates that the driver has met requirementssimilar to those met by U.S. CDL holders. As such,a Canadian license with the appropriate “class” isfunctionally the same as a single driver’s license foroperation in the United States by Canadiancommercial drivers. Abiding by their own onelicense,one-record rule, Canadian commercialdrivers are prohibited from obtaining any driver’slicense from a state. Similarly, no state may issue aCDL to a Canadian or Mexican CMV operator.INTERNATIONAL DRIVER’SPERMIT/LICENSEA prosecutor may occasionally encounter areference to an international driver’s licensebeing used by foreign citizens driving in theUnited States. There is NO such thing as anInternational CDL or even a true InternationalDriver’s License. This reference is to a certificatethat may be issued by a state DMV in English ormay have been obtained in the country of origin.The purpose of the document is only to serve acompanion to a valid driver’s license (from acountry other than the USA) and perhapstranslate the language of the actual driver’slicense to English. Americans can get the sametype of document from AAA or other privatesources if they are preparing to travel abroad. Ithas no legal status at all and does not bestowany driving authority or privilege on the holder.These are usually seen with tourists or othervisitors and not CMV drivers.Mexican CDL holders with a valid LicenciaFederal de Conductor are also permitted to operatecommercial motor vehicles within the boundariesof the United States. This agreement is the resultof negotiations between representatives from theUnited States and the government of the UnitedMexican States that culminated in a Memorandumof Understanding (MOU) on the issue of driver’slicense reciprocity. The MOU was signed onNovember 21, 1991, and a final rule was issued inthe Federal Register (57 FR 31454) on Thursday, July16, 1992, in the Rules and Regulations section. Theruling recognized the commercial driver’s licenseissued by Mexico’s Secretaría de Comunicaciones yTransportes (SCT) Dirección General de3 2 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


Autotransporte Federal (DGAF), the LicenciaFederal de Condutor, as being comparable to a U.S.commercial driver’s license. Even though theNAFTA provisions for allowing cross border forhirecommercial traffic have not yet been fullyimplemented, U.S. enforcement officers mayencounter Mexican drivers with a Licencia Federalde Condutor legally operating a CMV in theUnited States. Mexican drivers who hold theLicencia Federal de Conductor issued by theMexican Federal Government have metrequirements similar to those met by U.S. CDLholders and may operate in the U.S. on the sameterms as persons who hold CDLs.The Licencia Federal can be recognized by themedallion in the upper left-hand corner containingthe Mexican national symbol of an eagle with aserpent. The words “Licencia Federal deConductor” and logo “Secretariat ofCommunication and Transportation (SCT) are alsoon the front of the license. 109 Mexico extends similarreciprocity to holders of CDLs issued by the UnitedStates and the District of Columbia. The one-CDL-only rule applies to Mexican drivers. AMexican driver holding a Licencia Federal deConductor is prohibited from obtaining any driver’slicense from a state or the District of Columbia.Prior to April 1992, some Mexican drivers wereissued nonresident CDLs by the U.S. These driverscould continue to operate in the U.S. until heobtains a Licencia Federal de Conductor or theirnonresident CDL expired. These licenses are notcurrently valid. The Mexican Licencia Federal deConductor must show the class of license. The SCTissues the federal license in six categories. While theclassifications are based on similar size and type ofvehicle descriptions, they are not exactly the same asU.S. CDL classifications. The definitions are asfollows:Category “A”—Authorizes the holder to operatecommercial charter and passenger buses; i.e.,intercity buses, charter buses, and tour buses. Thisis roughly comparable to a U.S. Class “B” CDLwith a passenger endorsement.Category “B”—Authorizes the holder to operatedifferent types of commercial freight trucks,including combination vehicles; i.e., tractor-trailer,truck trailers, double and triple trailers (excludinghazardous and hazardous waste materials). This isroughly comparable to a U.S. Class “B” CDL withendorsements for tanks and double or triple trailers.Category “C”—Authorizes the holder to operatecommercial trucks with two or three axles; i.e.,single unit vehicles (excluding hazardous andhazardous waste materials). This is roughlycomparable to a U. S. Class “B” CDL with a tankendorsement.Category “D” —Authorizes the holder to operateautomobiles and small buses which do not exceed7,716 pounds (3,500 kg) or have a capacity to carryno more than 13 passengers (including the driverwho also serves as a tour guide) for the purpose oftourism. There is no equivalent U.S. CDLclassification.Category “E”—Authorizes the holder to operatevehicles that transport hazardous and hazardouswaste materials. This is similar to a U.S. Class “A”CDL with endorsements for hazardous materials,tanks and double or triple trailers.Category “F”—Authorizes holder to operate taxisfrom any airport or seaport in Mexico. This isbecause airports and seaports are federal and requirea federal license similar to driving commercially on109 The new version of this document may have variations of the SCT logothat may be plainly visible or may require ultra-violent illumination. Also,they may be omitted entirely.C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 3 3


a federal road. There is no comparable U.S. CDL.Mexican drivers and carriers are subject to thesame safety inspections, regulations, and reviews asdomestic operators. 110 Canadian CDLs are issuedby the provincial governments and Canada has itsown system of CDL classifications. The Ontariolicensing authority, for instance, requires a Class Alicense for “(a)ny tractor-trailer or combination ofmotor vehicle and towed vehicles where the towedvehicles exceed a total gross weight of 4,600kilograms” or a Class C for “any regular bus withdesigned seating capacity for more than 24passengers.” 111Persons domiciled in foreign countries that donot have a reciprocal license agreement but whowish to drive a CMV in the United States mayobtain a nonresident CDL. A nonresident CDLmust be issued in accordance with the licensingstandards contained in 49 CFR Part 383. Each statecomplies with the testing and licensing standardsdetermined by that regulation. Because of thecurrent reciprocity allowing Canadian and MexicanCDL holders to operate in the United States, theone-license, one-record provision of 49 CFR 383.21applies to all North American CDL holders. Adriver holding a commercial driver’s license issuedunder the Canadian National Safety Code or aLicencia Federal de Conductor issued by Mexico isprohibited from obtaining a nonresident CDL, orany other type of driver’s license, from any state orthe District of Columbia. Any state that issues anonresident CDL will keep the same driver’s historyon that holder as it would for any other CDL driver.Generally, prosecutors and law enforcementofficers should be aware that North American CDLholders (from Mexico or Canada) and nonresidentCDL holders from other countries (including U.S.protectorates such as Puerto Rico) may be legallyoperating commercial vehicles on Americaninterstates. Foreign or nonresident status does notrelieve these drivers from obedience to federal andstate statutes. These drivers should possess and beable to produce documentation regarding theirvehicles, their loads, and their own CDLs. Whendealing with international commercial drivers, aprosecutor may seek assistance from either the localcommercial vehicle enforcement authority or theregional office of the FMCSA. 112110 49 CFR 385.103 (2010).111 Ontario Ministry of Transportation http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/classes.shtml112 Prosecutors can locate the correct FMCSA office and its contact informationby visiting the FMCSA website at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/contact/offices/displayfieldroster.asp.3 4 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


GlossaryCommerce means (a) any trade, traffic or transportationwithin the jurisdiction of the United States between a place ina state and a place outside of such state, including a placeoutside of the United States and (b) trade, traffic, andtransportation in the United States which affects any trade,traffic, and transportation described in paragraph (a) of thisdefinition.Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) means a license issuedby a state or other jurisdiction, in accordance with thestandards contained in 49 CFR Part 383, to an individualwhich authorizes the individual to operate a certain class of acommercial motor vehicle.Commercial Driver’s License Information System DriverRecord means the electronic record of the individual CDLdriver’s status and history stored by the state-of-record as partof the CDLIS established under 49 U.S.C. 31309.Commercial Driver’s License Information System(CDLIS) means the information system established byFMCSA pursuant to section 12007 of the Commercial MotorVehicle Safety Act of 1986 and operated by the AmericanAssociation of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) means a motor vehicleor combination of motor vehicles used in commerce totransport passengers or property if the motor vehicle (a) Hasa gross combination weight rating of 11,794 kilograms ormore (26,001 pounds or more) inclusive of a towed unit(s)with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 4,536kilograms (10,000 pounds); or (b) Has a gross vehicle weightrating of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more);or (c) Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers,including the driver; or (d) Is of any size and is used in thetransportation of hazardous materials as defined in thissection.Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA)is a law passed by the United States Congress that requiresALL the individual states to comply with certain standards inregard to the licensing of commercial motor vehicles (CMV)drivers.Conviction means an unvacated adjudication of guilt, or adetermination that a person has violated or failed to complywith the law in a court of original jurisdiction or by anauthorized administrative tribunal, an unvacated forfeiture ofbail or collateral deposited to secure the person’s appearancein court, a plea of guilty or nolo contendre accepted by thecourt, the payment of a fine or court cost, or violation of acondition of release without bail, regardless of whether or notthe penalty is rebated, suspended, or probated.”U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was establishedby Congress in October 1966 to oversee all facets oftransportation in the USA through its operatingadministrations and bureaus which include, among others, theFederal Aviation Administration, the National Highway SafetyAdministration, the Federal Highway Administration, and theFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.Disqualification means any of the following three actions:(a)The suspension, revocation, or cancellation of a CDL by thestate or jurisdiction of issuance.(b) Any withdrawal of aperson’s privileges to drive a CMV by a state or otherjurisdiction as the result of a violation of state or local lawrelating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than parking,vehicle weight or vehicle defect violations), (c) Adetermination by the FMCSA that a person is not qualified tooperate a commercial motor vehicle under part 391 of thischapter.Endorsement means an authorization to an individual’s CDLrequired to permit the individual to operate certain types ofcommercial motor vehicles.Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) operates withinthe USDOT and is tasked with ensuring the safety andtechnological modernity of America’s roads and highways.This goal is largely accomplished by providing financial andtechnical support to state, local and, tribal governments foruse in constructing and improving the U.S. highway system.Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)was established as a separate administration within theUSDOT on January 1, 2000, and is tasked improving thesafety of CMVs and saving lives. The primary mission of theC O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S 3 5


agency is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involvinglarge trucks and buses.Gross combination weight rating (GCWR) means the valuespecified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of acombination (articulated) vehicle. In the absence of a valuespecified by the manufacturer, GCWR will be determined byadding the GVWR of the power unit and the total weight ofthe towed unit and any load thereon.Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) means the valuespecified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a singlevehicle.Hazardous Materials means any material that has beendesignated as hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and is requiredto be placarded under subpart F of 49 CFR part 172 or anyquantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42CFR part 73.Longer Combination Vehicles (LCVs) are tractor-trailercombinations with two or more trailers. These vehicles mayexceed 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) and, dueto concerns over road damage, power capability on steepgrades, and other safety issues, are not allowed in many states.Motor Carrier Act of 1935 was legislation through whichCongress first gave the ICC power to regulate drivers andmotor carriers engaged in the business of interstate commerce.The act provided authority to control operating permits,approve trucking routes, and to set tariff rates.Motor Carrier Act of 1980 or, more properly, the MotorCarrier Regulatory Reform and Modernization Act served toderegulate the trucking industry. The intent of this law was toincrease efficiency by allowing carriers/drivers to set their ownrates and to increase competition, thus, lowering the cost ofconsumer goods. This act caused new carriers/drivers to enterthe system.Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (MCSA) this legislationdirected the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to establish aprocedure by which to determine how safely motor carriersoperate. Currently, the U.S. Department of Transportation,through the FMCSA, uses a system for determining howsafely a motor carrier operates that does not place sufficientemphasis on driver or vehicle qualifications.Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program is a federalmandated program that provides financial assistance to stateswith the aim of reducing the number and severity ofcommercial vehicle involved crashes and/or hazardousmaterials incidents.Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (MCSIA)created FMCSA and worked to reduce the number andseverity of large-truck involved crashed through the use ofCMV inspections, carrier compliance reviews, enforcement,and more effective licensing standards.Out-of-Service Order means a declaration by an authorizedenforcement officer of a federal, state, Canadian, Mexican, orlocal jurisdiction that a driver, a CMV, or a motor carrieroperation, is out-of-service pursuant to §§386.72, 392.5,395.13, 396.9, or compatible laws, or the North AmericanUniform Out-of-Service Criteria.School bus means a CMV used to transport pre-primary,primary, or secondary school students from home to school,from school to home, or to and from school-sponsored events.School bus does not include a bus used as a common carrier.Tank vehicle means any commercial motor vehicle that isdesigned to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within atank that is either permanently or temporarily attached to thevehicle or the chassis. Such vehicles include, but are notlimited to, cargo tanks and portable tanks, as defined in part171 of this title. However, this definition does not includeportable tanks having a rated capacity under 1,000 gallons.Vehicle group means a class or type of vehicle with certainoperating characteristics.Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) means the estimated numberof vehicle miles traveled on designated roadways. The federalgovernment collects this data from each state. A state may setup numerous monitoring sites on designated roads then usethat data along with other vehicle records to estimate anaverage of the miles drivers are traveling for a given period oftime.3 6 C O M M E R C I A L D R I V E R S ’ L I C E N S E S


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