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Trucking Laws

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) FMCSA drug and alcohol rules

When you need a Michigan Commercial Driver’s License and a special endorsement

Every truck driver is required to be licensed in his state of principal residence, with a driving record kept in a centralized computer for access by each state. According to federal law, each state is required to adopt uniform testing standards for commercial drivers prior to being licensed.

A CDL is required to operate the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the GCWR of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds;
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more people, including the driver; and
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded with transporting hazardous materials.

However, the following vehicle are NOT required to obtain a CDL:

  • Farm equipment operators;
  • Vehicles used to transport farm products, equipment or supplies to and from a farm;
  • Vehicles used within 150 air miles of a farm;
  • Vehicles not used in operations of a contract carrier;
  • Individuals operating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members for non-business purposes;
  • Police and firefighters operating authorized emergency vehicles; and
  • Firefighting equipment operators, military vehicle operators and recreational vehicle operators, if the vehicle is primarily used for personal use.

For certain vehicles, special endorsements are required:

  • Double/triple tractor-trailers,
  • Passenger vehicles,
  • Tank vehicles,
  • Semi-trucks carrying hazardous materials,
  • Combination tank and hazardous materials, and
  • Vehicles with air brakes.

CDL violations

A CDL is normally valid for four years, but there are a number of violations that can cause a truck driver to lose his or her privileges. Most safety violations will involve alcohol and drug abuse, fatigued driving, not following a proper pre-trip inspection, and general unsafe truck driving practices.

Proving these safety violations is an important part of any truck accident case in Michigan, especially when a truck driver who has negligently caused a crash denies responsibility.

Careful questioning by an experienced truck lawyer during the deposition of a truck driver or company safety director and access to the driver file will often prove negligence and cause many defense attorneys and insurance companies to re-evaluate their positions.

Get free accident lawyer advice

To speak with one of our experienced lawyers today, call us at (800) 777-0028, or fill out our free contact form. There’s no fee or obligation.

For more information on how Michigan Auto Law can help you, take a look at testimonials from other truck accident victims. You can also read about our 100 percent client satisfaction guarantee and our special truck lawyer qualifications.

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