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  • § 383.3
    Applicability.
  • § 383.5
    Definitions.
  • § 383.21
    Number of drivers' licenses.
  • § 383.23
    Commercial driver's license.
  • § 383.31
    Notification of convictions for driver violations.
  • § 383.33
    Notification of driver's license suspensions.
  • § 383.37
    Employer responsibilities.
  • § 383.51
    Disqualification of drivers.
  • § 383.71
    Driver application and certification procedures.
  • § 383.73
    State procedures.
  • § 383.75
    Third party testing.
  • § 383.77
    Substitute for driving skills tests for drivers with military CMV experience.
  • § 383.91
    Commercial motor vehicle groups.
  • § 383.93
    Endorsements.
  • § 383.95
    Restrictions.
  • § 383.113
    Required skills.
  • § 383.131
    Test manuals.
  • § 383.133
    Test methods.
  • § 383.153
    Information on the CLP and CDL documents and applications.

Part 383

Below are the available interpretations for the given section. To return to the list of parts, use the Parts link above. The menu to the left provides a full list of sections that have interpretations. To view interpretations for a different section, click on the menu item.

The regulations text of the section can be found on the eCFR website. To view the regulations text, use the link below. For assistance, please send an email to FMCSA.Webmaster@dot.gov.
View the regulations for Part 383

Guidance for § 383.5: Definitions.

Question 1:

a. Does "designed to transport" as used in the definition of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) in §383.5 mean original design or current design when a number of seats are removed?

b. If all of the seats except the driver’s seat are removed from a vehicle originally designed to transport only passengers to convert it to a cargo-carrying vehicle, does this vehicle meet the definition of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) in §383.5?

Guidance:

a. "Designed to transport" means the original design. Removal of seats does not change the design capacity of the Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV).

b. No, unless this modified vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) over 26,000 pounds or is used to transport placarded HM.

Question 2: Are rubberized collapsible containers or "bladder bags" attached to a trailer considered a tank vehicle, thus requiring operators to obtain a CDL with a tank vehicle endorsement?

Guidance:

Yes.

Question 3: [Removed and Reserved 79FR15245 March 19, 2014]

Guidance:

Question 4: [Removed and reserved 79FR15245 March 19, 2014]

Guidance:

Question 5: When a State agency contracts with private parties for services involving the operation of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)s, is the State agency or contractor considered the employer?

Guidance:

If the contractor employs individuals and assigns and monitors their driving tasks, the contractor is considered the employer. If the State agency assigns and monitors driving tasks, then the State agency is the employer for purposes of part 383.

Question 6: A driver operates a tractor of exactly 26,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), towing a trailer of exactly 10,000 pounds GVWR, for a GCWR of 36,000 pounds. HM and passengers are not involved. Is it a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)s and does the driver need a CDL?

Guidance:

No to both questions. Although the vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 36,000 pounds, it is not a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) under any part of the definition of that term in §383.5, and a CDL is not federally required.

Question 7: Does the definition of a "commercial motor vehicle" in §383.5 of the CDL requirements include parking lot and/or street sweeping vehicles?

Guidance:

If the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of a parking lot or street sweeping vehicle is 26,001 or more pounds, it is a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) under the CDL regulations.

Question 8: Is an employee of a Federal, State, or local government who operates a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) , as defined in §383.5, including an emergency medical vehicle, required to obtain a CDL? If so, why are such drivers considered as operating "in commerce?"

Guidance:

Government employees who drive CMVs are generally required to obtain a CDL. However, operators of firefighting and related emergency equipment may be exempt from the CDL requirement [53 FR 37313, September 26, 1988], at a State’s discretion. Drivers of large advanced life support vehicles operated by municipalities would therefore, at a State’s discretion, qualify for the exemption.

Government employees who drive Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)s are operating in “commerce,” as defined in §383.5, because they perform functions that affect interstate trade, traffic, or transportation. Nearly all government CMVs are used, directly or indirectly, to facilitate or promote such trade, traffic, and transportation.

Question 9: The definition of a passenger Commercial Motor Vehicle is a vehicle “designed to transport” more than 15 passengers, including the driver. Does that include standing passengers if the vehicle was specifically designed to accommodate standees?

Guidance:

No. “Designed to transport” refers only to the number of designated seats; it does not include areas suitable, or even designed, for standing passengers.

Question 10: What is considered a “public road”?

Guidance:

A public road is any road under the jurisdiction of a public agency and open to public travel or any road on private property that is open to public travel.

Question 11:

Must operators of motor graders or motor scrapers obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and be subject to controlled substances and alcohol testing if they operate the equipment on public roads to perform such functions as snow and leaf removal?

If so, is a State that exempts such operations from the CDL requirements of its laws subject to sanctions under 49 CFR Part 384?

Guidance:

No.

Question 12: A driver operates a combination vehicle with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds. The tractor is towing a semitrailer and a full trailer, each with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 10,001 pounds. Is this combination a Group A vehicle that requires a driver with a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL)?

Guidance:

Yes. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) for multiple towed units are added to determine whether the 10,000 pound Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) threshold has been met. If the total Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) for the two trailers is at least 10,001 pounds, and the tractor’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is sufficient to produce a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of at least 26,001 pounds, the combination is a Group A vehicle requiring a driver with a Class A CDL with a double/triple trailers endorsement. For example, a combination vehicle with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 36,000 pounds includes a semitrailer and a trailer, each of which has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 6,000 pounds. This is a Group A vehicle having a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 36,000 pounds inclusive of two towed units having a combined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 12,000 pounds.

Question 13: On May 9, 2011, FMCSA revised the definition of "tank vehicle" to include any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis. Does the new definition include loaded intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) or other tanks temporarily attached to a CMV?

Guidance:

Yes. The new definition is intended to cover (1) a vehicle transporting an IBC or other tank used for any liquid or gaseous materials, with an individual rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or chassis; or (2) a vehicle used to transport multiple IBCs or other tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that are permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis.

Question 14: On May 9, 2011, FMCSA revised the definition of "tank vehicle." Does the new definition cover the transportation of empty intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) or other tanks, or empty storage tanks?

Guidance:

No. The definition of "tank vehicle" does not cover the transportation of empty IBCs or other tanks when these containers are manifested as either empty or as residue on a bill of lading. Furthermore, the definition of tank vehicle does not cover the transportation of empty storage tanks that are not designed for transportation and have a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more, that are temporarily attached to a flatbed vehicle.


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