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Non-Business Related Transportation of Horses

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has provided guidance regarding an exception to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for non-business related transportation of horses, including transportation to horse shows or other events. To qualify for this exception, there can be no compensation for the transportation, and the driver cannot be engaged in business related to the transportation (i.e., a professional racing operation transporting horses to a race).

In such non-business related transportation, the FMCSRs do not apply, even if prize or scholarship money is offered. This exception includes Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations, requirements for Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) regulations, unless a CDL is required by the driver’s home state.

How to Determine if a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Transporting Horses is Required to use an ELD or Have a CDL

If a safety official stops a driver transporting horses for personal use, FMCSA recommends that the driver explain that the transportation of the horses is non-business related.

If a driver is engaged in an underlying business related to the transportation of the horses, FMCSA recommends the driver use the following questions to determine if a CDL, ELD, or paper records of duty status (RODS) are required:

  1. Is the vehicle being used for a non-commercial purpose, such as taking a personally owned animal to a show when the underlying business is unrelated?

If YES, a CDL is NOT required.

  1. Does the vehicle or vehicle combination have a GVWR, GVW, GCWR or GCW (whichever is greater) of 10,001 pounds or more?

If NO, then the HOS and CDL regulations requirements DO NOT apply.

  1. Does the vehicle or vehicle combination have a GVWR, GVW, GCWR or GCW (whichever is greater) of 10,001 pounds or more, but less than 26,001 pounds?

If YES, the individual MAY need an ELD to complete the RODS. However, a CDL is NOT required.

  1. Does the vehicle or vehicle combination have a GVWR, GVW, GCWR or GCW (whichever is greater) of 26,001 pounds or more?

If YES, the driver MAY need an ELD to complete the RODS and a CDL MAY be required.

Several ELD exceptions may apply, including, but not limited to:

  • Drivers who operate a vehicle that requires a CDL within a 100-air mile radius (150-air mile radius for vehicles not requiring CDL) and work no longer than 12 hours each day;
  • Vehicles that are older than model year 2000; and
  • Drivers who are required to complete RODS only for eight (8) days or fewer in a 30-day period. 

Please note that the FMCSR exception for the commercial transportation of horses, other animals, and cars, boats and similar items to shows and events does not exempt the driver from the CDL requirement.

Employers and drivers who transport horses and other animals to shows and events in a vehicle or combination of vehicles with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW of 26,001 pounds or more must comply with the CDL requirements.

However, a State may exempt operators of farm vehicles from its CDL requirements. A farm vehicle waiver is limited to the driver’s home State unless there is a reciprocal agreement with adjoining States.

Non-Business Related Transportation of Horses Frequently Asked Questions

49 CFR § 390.3(f)(3) “Occasional use” exemption

Question: Does the exemption in §390.3(f)(3) for the ‘‘occasional transportation of personal property by individuals not for compensation nor in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise’’ apply to persons who occasionally use commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to transport horses to races, tournaments, shows or similar events, even if prize money is offered at these events?    

Guidance: Yes. If a person meets this exemption’s requirements, he or she is not subject to the FMCSRs, including ELD requirements. This exception is explained in FMCSA’s regulatory guidance for Part 390, question 21.

Electronic Logging Device (ELD)

Scenario 1:

Question: If a driver transports a horse in interstate commerce in a vehicle or vehicle combination with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW (whichever is greater) of less than 10,001 pounds, is the driver required to use an ELD?

Guidance: No. A driver who transports a horse in interstate commerce in a vehicle or vehicle combination with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW (whichever is greater) of less than 10,001 pounds, is not subject to the FMCSRs and therefore not required to use an ELD.

Scenario 2:

Question: If a driver transports a horse only in intrastate commerce is the driver required to use an ELD?

Guidance: In general, the FMCSRs do not apply to intrastate commerce. However, States have similar regulations that may vary from Federal regulations and from State to State. A driver in intrastate commerce should check with the State commercial motor vehicle authorities to determine which regulations apply.

Scenario 3

Question: If a driver transports a horse in interstate commerce in a vehicle or vehicle combination with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW (whichever is greater) of 10,001 pounds or greater, and the driver does not qualify for the “occasional use” exemption in §390.3(f)(3), is the driver required to use an ELD?

Guidance: Yes. A driver who transports a horse in interstate commerce in a vehicle or vehicle combination with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW (whichever is greater) of 10,001 pounds or greater, and the driver does not qualify for the “occasional use” exemption in §390.3(f)(3), must use an ELD unless he or she is subject to an ELD exception.

Scenario 4

Question: If a driver transports a horse in interstate commerce in a vehicle or vehicle combination with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW (whichever is greater) of 10,001 pounds or greater, and the driver does qualify for the “occasional use” exemption in § 390.3(f)(3), is the driver required to use an ELD?

Guidance: No. A driver who qualifies for the “occasional use” exemption is not subject to the FMCSRs and is not required to use an ELD.

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Note: Drivers must verify the licensing requirements in their home States.

Scenario 1

Question: If a driver transports a horse in intrastate or interstate commerce in a vehicle or combination vehicle with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW of more than 10,000 pounds but less than 26,001 pounds, is the driver required to have a CDL?

Guidance: No. A driver who transports a horse in intrastate or interstate commerce in a vehicle or combination vehicle with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW of more than 10,000 pounds but less than 26,001 pounds, is not required to have a CDL.

Scenario 2

Question: If a driver transports a horse in interstate or intrastate commerce in a vehicle or combination vehicle with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW of more than 26,000 pounds in interstate or intrastate commerce, is the driver required to have a CDL?

Guidance: A driver who transports a horse in interstate or intrastate commerce in a vehicle or combination vehicle with a GVWR, GVW, GCWR, or GCW of more than 26,000 pounds in interstate or intrastate commerce  who transports a horse in a vehicle, or combination vehicle, in interstate or intrastate commerce may be required to have a CDL if:

  1. The vehicle has a GVWR or GVW of 26,001 pounds or more; or
  2. The combination vehicle has a GCWR or GCW of more than 26,000 pounds, whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a GVWR or GVW of more than 10,000 pounds.
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2018
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