Which Vehicle Require A CDL To Operate And Are There Any Exceptions?
CDL is defined as a license which authorizes the individual to operate a class of a CMV. Additionally, CLP is defined as a permit authorizing an individual to operate a class of a CMV when accompanied by a holder of a valid CDL for purposes of behind-the-wheel training. There are three classes of CDL: Class A, Class B, and Class C. A driver holding a Class A license can also operate both Class B and C vehicles. A driver holding a Class B license can operate a Class C vehicle but not a Class A vehicle. A driver holding a Class C license can only operate a Class C vehicle. It is important to note that not every CMV driver is required to have a CDL or CLP. As the previous definitions indicate, a CDL or CLP are necessary to operate “a class” of a CMV. With this in mind, the FMSCA states the CDL/CLP standards apply to “commercial motor vehicles” operating in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce that meet one or more of the following standards: (1) combination vehicles having a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight (whichever is greater) of 26,001 or more pounds and having one or more towed units with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight (whichever is greater) of more than 10,000 pounds; (2) single unit vehicles having a gross vehicle weight or gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more; (3) buses designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or (4) hazmat used in the transportation of hazardous materials that require notice on the vehicle.
The FMCSA specified eight exemptions to the CDL/CLP standards. These include: (1) states must exempt drivers who operate CMVs for military purposes; (2) states must exempt driver of “covered farm vehicles”; (3) states may exempt drivers of farm vehicles that are controlled and operated by a farmer (further specifications for this exemption are found in the FMCSRs); (4) states may exempt firefighters and other persons who operate CMVs necessary to save lives; (5) states may exempt drivers employed by local government to remove snow or ice; (6) there is an exemption for Alaska drivers; (7) states may issue restricted CDLs for employees of a farm-related service industry; and (8) states may issue restricted CDLs to part time drivers carrying less than 500 pounds of fireworks.
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