Frequently Asked Questions About Commercial Driver's Licenses

General Questions About Commercial Driving

What is a commercial motor vehicle?

A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is defined in federal regulations as any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
  • Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.
    (Reference: 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 390.5)

What is the difference between interstate driving and intrastate driving?

Federal regulations define interstate driving as "trade, traffic or transportation in the United States" that occurs:

  • between a place in a State and a place outside of such State (including a place outside of the United States);
  • between two places in a State through another State or a place outside of the United States; or
  • between two places in a State as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the State or the United States.
    (Reference: 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 390.5)

Intrastate driving is defined as "any trade, traffic or transportation in any State" which is not described in the term "interstate commerce." (49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 390.5)

In reality, there is very little commercial driving that counts as "intrastate" because even if a driver does not cross state lines, if the vehicle is transporting goods or passengers to or from another state this is "interstate" driving.

Who do the federal rules regarding commercial driving apply to?

The federal rules apply to any individual who operates a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

Questions About the FMCSA New Rule (2018)

  • Last Reviewed: November 15, 0018
  • Last Edited: November 15, 2018

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