Commercial Motor Vehicle Traffic Enforcement


Commercial Drivers License

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The Commercial Motor Vehicle Act of 1986 (The Act) was designed to remove unsafe and unqualified drivers of heavy trucks and buses from the nation’s highways. The Act required the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue regulations establishing guidelines and standards for the testing and licensing of CMV drivers. These guidelines and standards were established in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Chapter 49, Part 383. All states adopted these licensing guidelines and standards in April 1992. The commercial driver’s license requirements are applicable to drivers transporting persons or property in both interstate or intrastate commerce. The commercial driver’s license has three classes covering the following vehicle classification groups:

Class A -- Required for a combination vehicle with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more and towing a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds.

Class B -- Required for a single unit vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs. GVWR.

Class C -- Any vehicle, regardless of weight rating, transporting hazardous material in any amount requiring the display of placards by 49 CFR, part 172, subpart F, or designed to transport 16 passengers or more, including the driver.

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Act of 1986 (The Act) was designed to remove unsafe and unqualified drivers of heavy trucks and buses from the nation’s highways.

In addition to the proper class of license, drivers of specific types of CMVs are required to obtain the following endorsements on their CDLs, if applicable.

Silohette image of a double trailer rig
T
- Endorsement

Required for double or triple trailers.

Silohette image of an intercity passenger bus
P - Endorsement

Required for vehicles with a designed capacity to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

Silohette image of a tanker-trailer rig
N - Endorsement

Required for a tank vehicle designed to transport liquid or gaseous materials with a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more.

Silohette image of a semi-trailer rig marked with a hazardous materials placard
H - Endorsement

Required when transporting hazardous material in any amount requiring the display of placards by 49 CFR, part 172, subpart F.

Silohette image of a tanker-trailer rig marked with a hazardous materials placard
X - Endorsement

Combines the N and H endorsements for a single endorsement allowing operation of tank vehicles transporting liquid or gaseous hazardous material.

Individual states may, at their discretion, issue restricted, specific use CDLs to allow operation of specific vehicles, or exempt specific occupational fields, such as farmers and emergency response vehicles, from the CDL requirements. Refer to your State code for State-specific requirements.

0.04 Percent Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

In addition to establishing testing and licensing standards, the Act also established 0.04 percent Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as the blood alcohol level at which the driver of a CMV is deemed to be Driving While Impaired (DWI) and subject to disqualification sanctions. Most States have enacted legislation empowering State, county, and municipal police officers to enforce the 0.04 percent limit. However, it is imperative that each individual officer becomes thoroughly knowledgeable in the applicable State statute and obtain departmental legal interpretation as to probable cause requirements and their impact on enforcement for their particular jurisdiction.

Driver Disqualification and Penalties

Drivers may be disqualified from driving a CMV for one year upon the violation of any of the following:

If the driver commits one of the above violations while driving a CMV and transporting and placarded for hazardous material, the minimum disqualification period increases to three years. A second conviction will result in the driver being disqualified from operating a CMV for life.

CDL disqualification can also be the end result of convictions for serious moving violations. Under CDL standards, a serious moving traffic violation is defined as:

Two convictions of serious moving violations within three years will result in a 60-day disqualification; three convictions within three years will result in a 120-day disqualification. The elements and detection of serious moving violations will be fully addressed in the next section.

The success of the Commercial Driver’s License Program is dependent upon the enforcement actions taken by officers. Drivers of CMVs who display unacceptable driving behaviors or do not possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a CMV driver, can only be detected and removed by officers. This can be accomplished by:

All cited CDL violations that result in a conviction are transmitted via the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS), to the home State. The driver’s record is available to all law enforcement personnel nationwide through the CDLIS.

When considering development of any special enforcement program, agencies must first establish their statutory authority to perform the proposed actions.

Commercial Driver’s License Summary    answers

  1. All drivers of CMVs must have a commercial drivers license if the vehicle they are operating meets one of the following criteria:
    ________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________
  1. The blood alcohol concentration at or above which a CDL driver is deemed to be driving under the influence is ____________________ .
    What is the level in your state? ___________
  1. What are the CDL disqualifying serious moving violations?
    ________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________
  1. The success of the Commercial Driver’s License Program is dependent upon officers performing what two basic actions?
    ________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________

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