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  • § 391.2
    General exceptions.
  • § 391.11
    General qualifications of drivers.
  • § 391.15
    Disqualification of drivers.
  • § 391.21
    Application for employment.
  • § 391.23
    Investigation and inquiries.
  • § 391.25
    Annual inquiry and review of driving record.
  • § 391.27
    Record of violations.
  • § 391.31
    Road test.
  • § 391.33
    Equivalent of road test.
  • § 391.41
    Physical qualifications for drivers.
  • § 391.43
    Medical examination; certificate of physical examination.
  • § 391.45
    Persons who must be medically examined and certified.
  • § 391.47
    Resolution of conflicts of medical evaluation.
  • § 391.49
    Alternative physical qualification standards for the loss or impairment of limbs.
  • § 391.51
    General requirements for driver qualification files.
  • § 391.63
    Multiple-employer drivers.
  • § 391.65
    Drivers furnished by other motor carriers.

Part 391

Section § 391.15: Disqualification of drivers.

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
View regulations for Part 391

Question 1: May a driver convicted of a disqualifying offense be "disqualified" by a motor carrier?

Guidance: No. Motor carriers have no authority to disqualify drivers. However, a conviction for a disqualifying offense automatically disqualifies a driver from driving for the period specified in the regulations. Thus, so long as a motor carrier knows, or should have known, of a driver’s conviction for a disqualifying offense, it is prohibited from using the driver during the disqualification period.

Question 2: Is a decision of probation before judgment sufficient for disqualification?

Guidance: Yes, provided the State process includes a finding of guilt.

Question 3: Is a driver holding a valid driver’s license from his or her home State but whose privilege to drive in another State has been suspended or revoked, disqualified from driving by §391.15(b)?

Guidance: Yes, the driver would be disqualified from interstate operations until his privileges are restored by the authority that suspended or revoked them, provided the suspension resulted from a driving violation. It is immaterial that he holds a valid license from another State. All licensing actions should be accomplished through the CDLIS or the controlling interstate compact.

Question 4: What are the differences between the disqualification provisions listed in §383.51 and 383.5 and those listed in §391.15?

Guidance: Part 383 disqualifications are applicable generally to drivers who drive CMVs above 26,000 pounds GVWR, regardless of where the CMV is driven in the U.S. Part 391 disqualifications are applicable generally to drivers who drive CMVs above 10,000 pounds GVWR, only when the vehicle is used in interstate commerce in a State, including the District of Columbia.

Question 5: Do the disqualification provisions of §391.15 apply to offenses committed by a driver who is using a company vehicle for personal reasons while off-duty?

Guidance: No. For example, an owner-operator using his own vehicle in an off-duty status, or a driver using a company truck, or tractor for transportation to a motel, restaurant or home, would be outside the scope of this section if he returns to the same terminal from which he went off-duty (see §383.51 for additional information).

Question 6: If a driver has his/her privileges to drive a pleasure vehicle revoked or suspended by State authorities, but his/her privileges to operate a CMV are left intact, would the driver be disqualified under the terms set forth in §391.15?

Guidance: No. The driver would not be disqualified from operating a CMV.

Question 7: If a driver is convicted of one of the specified offenses in §391.15(c), but is allowed to retain his driver’s license, is he/she still disqualified?

Guidance: Yes. A driver who is convicted of one of the specified offenses in §391.15(c), or has forfeited bond in collateral on account of one of these offenses, and who is allowed to retain his/her driver’s license, is still disqualified. The loss of a driver’s license and convictions of certain offenses in §391.15(c) are entirely separate grounds for disqualification.

Question 8: If a driver has his/her license suspended for driving while under the influence of alcohol, and 2 months later, as a result of this same incident, the driver is convicted of a DWI, must the periods of disqualification be combined since these are both disqualifying offenses?

Guidance: No. Disqualification during the suspension of an operating license continues until the license is restored by the jurisdiction that suspended it. Disqualification for conviction of DWI is for a fixed term. The fact that the driver was already disqualified for driving under the influence of alcohol because of the suspension action may mean that the total time under disqualification for the DWI conviction may exceed the stated term.

Question 9: If a driver commits a felony while operating a CMV but not in the employ of a motor carrier, is the offense disqualifying?

Guidance: No. There are 2 conditions required to be present for a felony conviction to be a disqualifying offense under §391.15:(1)The offense was committed during on-duty time; and (2) the driver was employed by a motor carrier or was engaged in activities that were in furtherance of a commercial enterprise. However, neither of these conditions is a prerequisite for a disqualifying offense under §383.51.

Question 10: Is a driver who possesses a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) issued by their State of residence, but who is suspended by another State for reasons unrelated to the violation of a motor vehicle traffic control law, disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in accordance with provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations?


Yes. Currently, both section 383.5, which defines the term disqualification as it applies to drivers required to have a CDL, and section 391.15, which applies to other CMV drivers subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, include the suspension of a person’s license or privilege to drive as an action requiring that person to be disqualified from operating a CMV. Neither of these regulatory provisions limit such suspensions to those imposed by the State where the driver is licensed, nor do these regulations specify the grounds upon which a suspension must be based.

Be advised, however, that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed in 66 FR 22499, Docket No. FMCSA-00-7382, published May 4, 2001, to limit the basis of the suspension to those resulting from a driving violation. If the rule is finalized, the answer would be no.

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