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Section 1: Rules And Regulations

1.1 Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act - Nationwide CDL Program

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA) was passed by Congress to address the problems caused by irresponsible and unqualified bus and truck drivers who are damaging the image of a safety-conscious profession. Unqualified drivers, often licensed following inadequate testing in many other states, have been found to be the cause of tragic accidents and other threats to highway safety. Many times, these drivers sought to escape responsibility for their actions by carrying driverʼs licenses issued by many states and spreading their traffic convictions among these licenses - thus avoiding suspensions or revocations.

The CMVSA was designed to stop these abuses by prohibiting drivers from holding more than one license. A nationwide information system prevents the issuance of multiple licenses, allows states to exchange information on traffic violations and makes it easier to remove problem drivers from the road. Those drivers who violate the law are subject to tougher penalties.

In addition, the law requires states to adopt uniform testing standards for commercial drivers prior to licensing. These testing standards are similar to those in effect for years.

Finally, sanctions for serious traffic violators will help ensure that commercial drivers remain accountable for their actions.

1.2 Drivers Who Must Obtain a CDL

A CDL must be obtained by the driver of any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating):

Value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of a single vehicle or combination of vehicles, or the registered gross weight.

GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating):

Value specified by the manufacturer as the GVWR of the power unit plus the GVWR of the towed unit or units, or the combined registered weight of the power unit plus the towed unit(s).

1.3 Drivers Exempt from Obtaining a CDL

Privately owned farm truck which does not require a CDL license

Under state and federal law, certain drivers are not subject to the requirements of the CDL program. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has determined that these exemptions will not diminish the safe operation of commercial vehicles on the highways.

The following vehicle operators are not required to obtain a CDL:

  • Farm Equipment Operators - This exemption covers legitimate farm-to-market operations by farmers, not commercial grain haulers. CDLs are not required to operate vehicles:
    • Controlled and operated by a farmer, a member of the farmerʼs family or an employee;
    • Used to transport farm products, equipment or supplies to or from a farm (including nurseries and aquacultures);
    • Used within 150 air miles of the farm; and
    • Not used in the operations of a common or contract carrier; and
    • Used in nursery or agricultural operations.

    NOTE: For the drivers of truck-tractor semitrailers, the farmer, his or her spouse and their children, parents on both sides, brothers and sisters on both sides and their spouses operating a truck-tractor semitrailer and meeting the above criteria also are exempted from the CDL Program. These drivers must be at least age 21, and the vehicle must have Farm plates. These drivers are still required to take the appropriate CDL written, skills and road tests to be licensed.

  • Firefighting Equipment Operators - Because most firefighting organizations have extensive initial training and re- training requirements for their equipment operators, Illinois waives CDL requirements for operators of firefighting equipment owned or operated by or for a government agency, when responding to or returning from an emergency.
  • Military Vehicle Operators - Operators of military vehicles for military purposes are exempt from obtaining a CDL.
  • Recreational Vehicle Operators - Recreational vehicle operators, when using the vehicle primarily for personal use, do not need a CDL.
Make sure you memorize who is required to have a CDL, including memorizing the weight limits.
You will need to memorize what GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) stand for and how they differ. This will very likely show up on the written exam.
It's important to memorize who is exempt from obtaining a CDL as you will probably be asked one or two questions about this.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Commercial Motor Vehicle:

A commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property with either:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more which includes a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
  • GVWR:

    Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

    GVWR is the maximum operating weight of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer, minus any trailers.

    CMV:

    Commercial Motor Vehicle

    A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

    • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
    • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
    • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
    • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
    • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

    GCWR:

    Gross Combined Weight Rating

    The GCWR refers to the total weight of a vehicle, including all trailers.

    Dm:

    Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

    The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

    HOS:

    Hours Of Service

    HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

    OWI:

    Operating While Intoxicated

Review Questions - Click On The Picture To Begin...

Military Vehicle Operators must obtain a CDL if:
  • The military vehicle is more than 26,001 pounds
  • The military vehicle is being driven on public roadways
  • The military vehicle exceeds 80,000 pounds
  • Military Vehicle Operators never need to obtain a CDL as long as the vehicle is being used for military purposes

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Military Vehicle Operators - Operators of military vehicles for military purposes are exempt from obtaining a CDL.

Next
Which of the following are exempt from obtaining a CDL:
  • Military Vehicle Operators
  • Firefighting Equipment Operators
  • All of these are exempt
  • Farm Equipment Operators

Quote From The CDL Manual:

The following vehicle operators are not required to obtain a CDL:

  • Farm Equipment Operators - This exemption covers legitimate farm-to-market operations by farmers, not commercial grain haulers.
  • Firefighting Equipment Operators - Because most firefighting organizations have extensive initial training and retraining requirements for their equipment operators, requirements for operators of firefighting equipment owned or operated by or for a government agency, when responding to or returning from an emergency, are exempt.
  • Military Vehicle Operators - Operators of military vehicles for military purposes are exempt from obtaining a CDL.
  • Recreational Vehicle Operators - Recreational vehicle operators, when using the vehicle primarily for personal use, do not need a CDL.
Prev
Next
What does GCWR stand for?
  • Gross Combination Width Rating
  • Gross Combined Weight Rating
  • General Cargo Weight Rating
  • General Contractor Weight Rating

Quote From The CDL Manual:

GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) - Value specified by the manufacturer as the GVWR of the power unit plus the GVWR of the towed unit or units, or the combined registered weight of the power unit plus the towed unit(s).

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Be sure you understand the difference between GCWR and GVWR. It's best to memorize the meanings and definitions of both as it will probably show up on the written exam.

Prev
Next
Which of the following requires a CDL?
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport up to 14 persons, including the driver
  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 20,001 pounds
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more pounds
  • Recreational vehicles exceeding 22,001 pounds.

Quote From The CDL Manual:

A CDL must be obtained by the driver of any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR)** of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)* of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Recreational Vehicles do not require a CDL

Prev
Next
What does GVWR stand for?
  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
  • Grain Vehicle With Restrictions
  • General Vehicle Without Restrictions
  • Gross Vehicle Width Rating

Quote From The CDL Manual:

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) - Value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of a single vehicle or combination of vehicles, or the registered gross weight.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Be sure to have this memorized and understand how it's different from GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). You'll most likely see a question related to CVWR / GCWR definitions on the written exam.

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Next
A Farm Equipment Operator must obtain a CDL if...
  • The operator is the spouse of the farm owner
  • The farm equipment operator will be traveling further than 150 miles from his or her farm
  • The farmer is transporting farm goods to a local market for commercial purposes
  • Farm equipment operators are always exempt from obtaining a CDL provided they are transporting farm products, equipment or supplies to or from a farm

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Farm Equipment Operators - This exemption covers legitimate farm-to-market operations by farmers, not commercial grain haulers. CDLs are not required to operate vehicles:

  • Controlled and operated by a farmer, a member of the farmer's family or an employee;
  • Used to transport farm products, equipment or supplies to or from a farm (including nurseries and aquacultures);
  • Used within 150 air miles of the farm; and
  • Not used in the operations of a common or contract carrier; and
  • Used in nursery or agricultural operations.

NOTE: For the drivers of truck-tractor semitrailers, the farmer, his or her spouse and their children, parents on both sides, brothers and sisters on both sides and their spouses operating a truck-tractor semitrailer and meeting the above criteria also are exempted from the CDL Program. These drivers must be at least age 21, and the vehicle must have Farm plates. These drivers are still required to take the appropriate CDL written, skills and road tests to be licensed.

Prev
Next
Which of the following requires a CDL?
  • Military personnel transporting hazardous materials in a combination vehicle weighing more than 50,001 pounds
  • A farmer driving a combination vehicle equipped with air brakes
  • A recreational vehicle longer than 35 feet in length
  • Driving a vehicle weighing more than 26,001 for commercial purposes across state lines

Quote From The CDL Manual:

The following vehicle operators are not required to obtain a CDL:

Farm Equipment Operators - This exemption covers legitimate farm-to-market operations by farmers, not commercial grain haulers. CDLs are not required to operate vehicles:

  • Controlled and operated by a farmer, a member of the farmer's family or an employee;
  • Used to transport farm products, equipment or supplies to or from a farm (including nurseries and aquacultures);
  • Used within 150 air miles of the farm; and
  • Not used in the operations of a common or contract carrier; and
  • Used in nursery or agricultural operations.

NOTE: For the drivers of truck-tractor semitrailers, the farmer, his or her spouse and their children, parents on both sides, brothers and sisters on both sides and their spouses operating a truck-tractor semitrailer and meeting the above criteria also are exempted from the CDL Program. These drivers must be at least age 21, and the vehicle must have Farm plates. These drivers are still required to take the appropriate CDL written, skills and road tests to be licensed.

  • Firefighting Equipment Operators - Because most firefighting organizations have extensive initial training and retraining requirements for their equipment operators, Illinois waives CDL requirements for operators of firefighting equipment owned or operated by or for a government agency, when responding to or returning from an emergency.
  • Military Vehicle Operators - Operators of military vehicles for military purposes are exempt from obtaining a CDL.
  • Recreational Vehicle Operators - Recreational vehicle operators, when using the vehicle primarily for personal use, do not need a CDL.

A CDL must be obtained by the driver of any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
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Finish
Please select an option
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