The Law Offices of Morgan Adams: More than Just Trucking Attorneys

 In Commercial Trucking Accidents, Morgan Adams

At the Law Offices of Morgan Adams, our Truck Wreck Justice team has experience handling a wide range of cases involving more than just large trucks. In fact, attorneys John Chandler and Morgan Adams have litigated cases involving many different types of large commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

So what other vehicles fall under the definition of a CMV? Commercial buses are another type of commercial motor vehicle that almost everyone in the general public will be familiar with, and the CMV classification also includes many construction and utility vehicles like dump trucks, delivery trucks, and cement mixers.

Here are three things you should know about CMVs and the way that they’re classified:

1. The official definition of a commercial motor vehicle. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines a CMV as “a self-propelled or towed motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property.”

There are also some additional criteria: a vehicle for property transport must weigh more than 10,000 pounds to be considered a CMV, while a passenger transport vehicle must be designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver (or 8 or more, in the case of transport for compensation) to be called a CMV.Sometimes vehicle size doesn’t matter however. If a vehicle is used in the transportation of hazardous materials and requires a placard under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act, it’s always considered a CMV.

2. The different types of vehicles that can be considered a CMV.

The following  are some of the many vehicles that frequently fall under the CMV classification:

    • Semi-trucks
    • Box trucks
    • Passenger vans and buses
    • Cement mixers
    • Delivery vans
    • Tow trucks
    • Refrigerated trucks
    • Garbage trucks
    • Front loaders
    • Agricultural vehicles
    • Delivery vans and trucks
    • Car carriers
    • Emergency vehicles

Under certain circumstances, the CMV classification can include typical consumer vehicles — such as a pickup truck when it’s being used for business. If you are ever involved in an accident with a vehicle that you think could be considered a CMV, but you aren’t sure, it’s important to seek out an experienced trucking attorney who is familiar with the intricacies of the federal regulations that define commercial motor vehicles. The classification of the vehicle that injured you can make a significant difference in the amount of compensation you receive.

3. CMVs require commercial driver’s licenses: Because safe operation of a CMV requires a different set of skills and training compared to a typical passenger vehicle, the FMCSA requires CMV drivers to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). There are certain exceptions to this requirement, however, which are listed in detail here.The process for obtaining a CDL varies by state, but there are certain federal requirements, established by the FMSCA, that always apply. These include that the CDL applicant: 

  • Must be at least 18 years old (21 to drive a vehicle across state lines or transport hazardous materials).
  • Cannot have a record of conviction for certain disqualifying criminal offenses.
  • Must submit a current driver’s license, a 10-year driver history, and a medical examination self-certification form.
  • Must test for and obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP)
  • Must hold the CLP for a minimum of 14 days.
  •  Must take a road skills test to acquire a CDL.

In response to ongoing concern that CDL requirements do not include enough classroom time and road training — including a 2014 lawsuit against the FMCSA from a group of safety advocates and the Teamsters Union — the FMCSA recently proposed new nationwide rules for driver training and are now seeking public comment on the rule changes.

Hopefully, this article helps you understand which types of transportation might qualify as a large commercial motor vehicle, as well as the requirements for CMV drivers. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a large truck or other CMV, please contact the Law Office of Morgan Adams immediately for a free consultation to learn more about your rights and legal options.

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