Driving safely on the roads

FAQ

FAQ

What is a commercial motor vehicle?

The general definition for a commercial motor vehicle is contained in Part 390 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) for vehicles operating in interstate commerce. The Michigan Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1963, Act 181 of 1963 adopted this part of the FMCSR into the Michigan Vehicle Code by reference (making these rules applicable to CMV's operating in Michigan intrastate commerce). In 2005 the definition for a commercial motor vehicle was removed from Act 181. The definition contained in 390.5 of the FMCSR applies to both private and for-hire transportation.

With the focus on trucking and the transportation of a commodity, a commercial motor vehicle operating in interstate or Michigan intrastate commerce is:

  • Any single vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating or an actual loaded weight of 10,001 pounds or more, or
  • A combination vehicle (a power unit towing another vehicle or trailer) having a gross combination weight rating (rating of towing and towed unit/s added together) or actual or combined loaded weight of 10,001 pounds or more, or
  • Any sized vehicle used to transport hazardous material in amounts which would require the vehicle to be placarded

The act does provide limited exemptions from federal regulations for certain industries and drivers operating in intrastate commerce.


Does the Motor Carrier Safety Act Apply to Me?

Public Act 231 of 2012 amended The Motor Carrier Safety Act, 1963 PA 1963, to exempt certain commercial motor vehicles from parts of the act.

480.11a(3): "Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, subsection (1)(b) and sections 5(8) and 6(1) do not apply to a vehicle that is not a commercial motor vehicle as defined in 49 CFR 383.5 and that is operated in intrastate commerce as defined in 49 CFR 390.5. A vehicle to which subsection (1)(b) does not apply under this subsection remains subject to 49 CFR parts 391 through 393."

A non-CDL vehicle operated in intrastate commerce only (within Michigan) is exempt from all of the motor carrier safety regulations except 49 CFR parts 391, 392, and 393.
A medium-duty commercial vehicle (non-CDL vehicle) is:

  • Required to meet the equipment and cargo securement requirements of part 393;
  • Subject to driver qualifications in part 391 including, possessing a valid medical examiners certificate;
  • Subject to the rules related to driving commercial vehicles in part 392, such as pre-trip inspections, possession/use of drugs and alcohol, texting/cell phone use, unauthorized passengers, ill or fatigued driver, and radar detectors.
A medium-duty commercial vehicle (non-CDL vehicle) is NOT:
  • Required to obtain or display a USDOT number;
  • Required to have proof of annual inspection for any vehicle;
  • Subject to hours of service regulations.

*This refers to vehicles whose GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) is between 10,001 and 26,000 lbs.


What is the lettering requirement for commercial vehicles in Michigan, haven't they changed recently?

Yes, the Michigan Vehicle Code modified it's lettering law in 2005. In MVC 257.723 the following requirements apply to vehicles used for business activities:

  1. All commercial vehicles with a single or combination gross weight rating or total gross weight of more than 5,000 pounds and all towing or platform bed wrecker road service vehicles in operation upon the public highways of this state shall have the name, city, and state or the registered logo or emblem of the registered owner of the vehicle, and lessee of the vehicle if the vehicle is being operated under lease, painted or permanently attached on each side of the vehicle in letters of not less than 3 inches in height, not lower than the bottom edge of the door. This information shall be in sharp color contrast to the background.
  2. Except for towing or platform bed wrecker road service vehicles, the identification requirements of subsection (1) may be met through the use of removable devices which meet the requirements of subsection (1). These devices shall be of durable construction and securely attached to each side of the motor truck or truck tractor. The removable devices shall be attached so that the identification is in a horizontal position.
  3. A vehicle in compliance with the identification requirements of the federal motor carrier safety regulations, 49 CFR parts 390-399, is considered to be in compliance with this section.
  4. This section does not apply to a truck eligible for and registered under a farm or manufacturer license plate, that has a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds.

What protection is afforded a driver for refusing to violate the FMCSR?

Section 405 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA) (49 USC 31105) states, in part, that no person shall discharge, discipline or in any manner discriminate against an employee with respect to the employee's compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment for refusing to operate a vehicle when such operation constitutes a violation of any federal rule, regulation, standard or order applicable to CMV safety. In such a case, a driver may submit a signed complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

May a motor carrier employing owner-operators with their own operating authority transfer the responsibility for compliance to the owner-operators?

No. The term "employee", as defined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations 390.5, specifically includes an independent contractor employed by a motor carrier. The existence of operating authority has no bearing upon the issue. The motor carrier is, therefore, responsible for compliance with the regulations by its driver employees, including those who are owner-operators.

What is considered a "Highway"?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, 390.5 define a highway as, any road, street, or way, whether on public or private property, open to public travel. “Open to public travel” means that the road section is available, except during scheduled periods, extreme weather or emergency conditions, passable by four-wheel standard passenger cars, and open to the general public for use without restrictive gates, prohibitive signs, or regulation other than restrictions based on size, weight, or class of registration. Toll plazas of public toll roads are not considered restrictive gates.

What is "operating authority"?

Operating authority [in a sense] is "permission" granted by a state or the federal government to motor carriers, allowing the carriers to operate as a for-hire carrier of freight or passengers in intrastate or interstate commerce, respectively. To obtain the required operating authority, the motor carrier must apply to the appropriate governing agency. For further information concerning Michigan intrastate or interstate operating authority and the application process, contact the Michigan Public Service Commission at (517) 241-6025

What is a "gross vehicle weight rating" and a "gross combination weight rating?"

"Gross vehicle weight rating" or "GVWR" means the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle. "Gross combination weight rating" or "GCWR" means the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination vehicle. In the absence of a value specified by the manufacturer, GCWR will be determined by adding the GVWR of the power unit and the total weight of the towed unit and any load on that unit.

What is a "gross weight?"

"Gross weight" means the weight of a vehicle without a load plus the weight of any load thereon.

Is it a violation if the actual loaded weight of a commercial motor vehicle or combination of vehicles exceeds the GVWR or GCWR specified by the manufacturer?

No, as long as the allowable load limits established by federal, state or local jurisdictions have not been exceeded.

What types of vehicles are required to enter the weigh stations?

In Michigan, A driver or owner of a commercial vehicle with other vehicles or trailers in combination, a truck or truck tractor, a truck or truck tractor with other vehicles in combination, or any special mobile equipment who fails to stop at or bypasses any scales or weighing station is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Note: a commercial vehicle includes all motor vehicles used for the transportation of passengers for hire, or constructed or used for transportation of goods, wares or merchandise including all motor vehicles designed and used for drawing other vehicles.

Am I required to letter my truck with my business information?

YES, Michigan requires all commercial vehicles with a single or combination gross weight rating or total gross weight of more than 5,000 pounds and all towing or platform bed wrecker road service vehicles in operation upon the public highways of this state shall have the name, city, and state or the registered logo or emblem of the registered owner of the vehicle, and lessee of the vehicle if the vehicle is being operated under lease, painted or permanently attached on each side of the vehicle in letters of not less than 3 inches in height, not lower than the bottom edge of the door. This information shall be in sharp color contrast to the background.

Can a Michigan resident lose his/her CDL for violations while operating a personal vehicle?

Yes. Michigan law views certain moving violations a CDL holder commits and is convicted of, while operating a non-CDL vehicle, to be the same as if the CDL holder were operating a CDL vehicle. Consequently, the penalties for a conviction will be the same.

A CDL holder who, while operating a non-CDL on a Michigan highway, is charged with and subsequently convicted of:

  • a violation of Michigan 's drunk driving laws, or
  • refusing to submit an officer's request for a drug or alcohol test, or
  • using the vehicle in the commission of a felony,

will lose his/her CDL for 1 year. A second violation the CDL will be lost for life.

Question 1: Which types of commercial motor vehicles are subject to the cargo securement standards of this subpart, and what general requirements apply (FMCSR's 393.100)?

Guidance:
(a) Applicability. These rules apply to any commercial vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or a gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more.
(b) Prevention against loss of load. Each commercial motor vehicle must, when transporting cargo on public roads, be loaded and equipped, and the cargo secured, in accordance with this subpart to prevent the cargo from leaking, spilling, blowing or falling from the motor vehicle.
(c) Prevention against shifting of load. Cargo must be contained, immobilized or secured in accordance with this subpart to prevent shifting upon or within the vehicle to such an extent that the vehicle's stability or maneuverability is adversely affected.

Question 2: Which vehicles are required to have automatic slack adjusters and brake adjustment indicators?

Guidance: Commercial motor vehicles manufactured after October 20, 1994 and equipped with air brakes are required to have automatic brake (slack) adjusters and brake adjustment indicators (push rod). If you have had slack adjusters or brake chambers replaced, you want to make sure that the equipment meets the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. See Part 393.53 for more information.

 

Question 3: Is reflective tape required on straight trucks?

Guidance: No. the requirements for reflective tape (FMCSR 393.13) is only for tractors, trailers and semi trailers which have an overall width of 80 inches or more and a gross vehicle weight rating of 10.001 lbs or more.

 

Question 4: May a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) transporting HM use retreaded tires?

Guidance: Yes. The only CMV that may not use retreaded tires is a bus, and then the retread restriction applies solely to the tires on the steer axle.

 

Question 5: Do retractable or lift axles have to be equipped with brakes?

Guidance: Yes, when the wheels are in contact with the roadway.

Question 6: Do tires marked "NHS" (not for highway service) mean that highway use is prohibited?

Guidance: No, provided they do not decrease the safety of operations (See Periodic Inspection Requirements, Appendix G to subpart B).

Question 7: Where on a commercial motor vehicle is the annual inspection sticker to be displayed?

Guidance: There is no requirement for a sticker to be displayed. The motor carrier must only carry proof of the inspection on the vehicle. Proof may be in the form of a copy of the inspection report, a document the motor carrier creates with all the requirement information, or a sticker/decal. If a motor carrier chooses to use a sticker, it can be placed anywhere on the vehicle.

Question 8: What is Michigan's law regarding hauling logs and other tubular products?

Guidance: Public Act 131 of 2008 amends the Michigan Vehicle Code to delete the provisions for securing logs or tubular products being transported on a highway. This Act deletes all of the provisions previously in state law and requires motor carriers transporting logs to comply with Federal cargo securement standards found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Parts 393.100-136.

Question 1: Are insulin dependent diabetics qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle?

Guidance: The transportation bill of 2005 (SAFETEA-LU) requires the FMCSA to modify its exemption program to allow individuals who use insulin to treat diabetes mellitus to operate CMVs in interstate commerce without having to demonstrate safe driving experience operating a CMV while using insulin. FMCSA will begin accepting applications for exemptions under the new criteria on November 8, 2005.

These changes will remain in effect until FMCSA completes a rulemaking to revise the FMCSRs to allow drivers with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) to operate CMVs in interstate commerce in accordance with the applicable statutory standards.

Additional information can be obtained from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov.

Applications for Intrastate waivers are obtained through the Michigan State Police, Motor Carrier Division, waiver board. 517-336-6416.

Question 2: Is a motor carrier exempt from driver qualification requirements by hiring a driver leasing company or temporary help service?

Guidance: No. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations apply to and place responsibilities on motor carriers and their drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not regulate driver leasing companies or temporary help service companies.

Question 3: When a motor carrier receives a request for driver information (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Part 391) from another motor carrier about a former or current driver, is it required to supply the requested information?

Guidance: Yes

Question 4: Are employers required to administer road tests since all states have implemented CDL skills testing?

Guidance: The employer may accept a CDL in lieu of a road test if the driver is required to successfully complete a road test to obtain a CDL in the state of issuance. However, if the employer intends to assign the driver to a vehicle requiring the doubles/triples or tank vehicle endorsement, the employer must administer the road test required under Part 391 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). Additionally, the road test requirement must be met if the vehicles operated by the motor carrier are not of a type or size requiring a CDL but meet the definition of a commercial motor vehicle contained in 390.5 of the FMCSR.

Question 5: Who is responsible for ensuring a driver is medically qualified and that the medical certifications meet the requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Part 391)?

Guidance: Medical certification is the responsibility of the medical examiner. The motor carrier has the responsibility to ensure that the medical examiner is informed of the minimum medical requirements and the characteristics of the work to be performed. The motor carrier is also responsible for ensuring that only medically qualified drivers are operating CMV's in interstate commerce.

Question 6: Is a driver who is taking prescription methadone qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle?

Guidance: Methadone is a habit-forming narcotic that can produce drug dependence and is not an allowable drug for operators of commercial motor vehicles.

Question 7: May the medical examiner restrict a driver's duties?

Guidance: No. Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, the only conditions a medical examiner may impose upon a driver who is otherwise qualified involve the use of corrective lenses, hearing aids or securement of a waiver. A medical examiner who believes a driver has a condition not specified in 391.41 that would affect his ability to operate a CMV safely should refuse to sign the examiner's certificate.

Question 8: Does the use of coumadin, an anticoagulant, disqualify a driver from operating a commercial motor vehicle?

Guidance: No. Although the Federal Highway Administration's 1987 "Conference on Cardiac Disorders and Commercial Drivers" recommended that drivers who are taking anticoagulants not be allowed to drive, the agency has not adopted a rule to that effect. The medical examiner and treating specialist may, but are not required to, accept the Conference recommendations. Therefore, the use of coumadin is not an automatic disqualification but a factor to be considered in determining the driver's physical qualification status.

Question 9: If a motor carrier sends a driver applicant to a medical examiner to have both a pre-employment medical examination and a pre-employment controlled substances test performed, how must the medical examiner conduct the medical examination?

Guidance: The medical examiner must complete the physical examination first without collecting the Part 382 controlled substances urine specimen. If the driver applicant meets the requirements of Part 391, Subpart E [especially 391.41(b)] and the medical examiner chooses to certify the applicant as qualified to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce, the medical examiner may prepare the medical examiner's certificate.

After the medical examiner has completed the medical examiner's certificate and provided a copy to the driver applicant and to the motor carrier who will use the potential driver's services, the medical examiner may collect the urine specimen for the 49 CFR Part 382 pre-employment controlled substances test. The motor carrier is held fully responsible for ensuring the driver applicant is not used to operate commercial motor vehicles until the carrier receives a verified negative controlled substances test result from the medical review officer.

A Department of Transportation pre-employment controlled substances test is not a medical examination test.

Question 10: Do the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations allow a motor carrier to accept a current medical examiners certificate from a driver applicant in lieu of a pre-employment examination?

Guidance: Yes. However, a motor carrier, subject to drug and alcohol testing requirements, who chooses to accept an applicants current certificate, must still ensure that the driver applicant meets the requirements for pre-employment drug testing.

Question 11: Must a driver who is returning from an illness or injury undergo a medical examination even if his current medical certificate has not expired?

Guidance: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations do not require an examination in this case unless the injury or illness has impaired the driver's ability to perform his/her normal duties. However, the motor carrier has the obligation to determine if an injury or illness renders the driver medically unqualified and may require a driver returning from any illness or injury to take a physical examination.

Question 12: Is a person who has full-time employment with a non-motor carrier and drives for a motor carrier on a part-time basis considered an intermittent, casual, or occasional driver when employed by the motor carrier?

Guidance: No. A person who drives for only one motor carrier (even if it is only one day per month) would not meet the definition of an intermittent, casual or occasional driver in 390.5 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The motor carrier, therefore, must fully qualify the driver and maintain a qualification file on the employee as a regularly employed driver.

Question 13: Is a driver training school required to keep a driver qualification file for each student?

Guidance: Yes.

Question 14: Is a driver qualification file required for the owner of a company if he/she also drives?

Guidance: Yes. An owner who also drives must meet meet the requirements of a motor carrier and a driver.

Question 15: 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?

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.

Question 1 : If a company only has one CDL driver, does the company need to comply with the drug and alcohol testing requirements contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Part 382?

Guidance: Yes. All CDL drivers who operate vehicles meeting the CDL requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) Part 383 and the motor carriers who employ them must comply with the drug and alcohol testing requirements contained in Part 382.

Question 2: The drug and alcohol testing requirements in Part 382 of the FMCSR are federal regulations. Are Michigan CDL holders who only operate in intrastate commerce required to comply?

Guidance: Yes. Michigan has adopted Part 382 in the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1963 (Act 181 of 1963).

Question 3: Is an "owner-operator" subject to the drug and alcohol testing regulations?

Guidance: Yes. For clarification, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA) neither defines the term "owner-operator" nor uses it in regulation. The FMCSA regulates "employers" and "drivers." An owner-operator may act as both an employer and a driver at certain times or as a driver for another employer at other times, depending on contractual arrangements and operational structure.

Question 4: Is a pre-employment drug test required if a driver returns to a previous employer after his/her employment had been terminated?

Guidance: Yes. The test must be administered any time employment has been terminated for more than 30 days and the exceptions contained in 382.301(c) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are not met.

Question 5: Must all drivers who do not work for an extended period of time (such as layoffs over the winter or summer months) have pre-employment drug testing each season when they return to work?

Guidance: If the driver is considered to be an employee of the company during the layoff period, a pre-employment test would not be required so long as the driver has been included in the company's random testing program during the layoff period. However, if the driver was not considered to be an employee of the company at any point during the layoff period, was not covered by a program or was not covered for more than 30 days, then a pre-employment test would be required. The test must be administered any time employment has been terminated for more than 30 days and the exceptions contained in 382.301(c) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are not met.

Question 6: Can a motor carrier meet its requirements for random selection drug and alcohol testing by testing all its employees at the beginning of each year?

Guidance: No. Random selection is a process that must be administered throughout the year. A driver must understand that based on random selection, he/she is subject to random selection throughout the year and could be selected more than once during the year. The random selection process must be scientific in nature and affords each driver an equal chance of being selected.

Question 7: Is a drug and/or alcohol test required when a driver renews his/her medical certificated?

Guidance: No. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations do not require a drug or alcohol test when renewing the medical certificate.

Question 8: Once an employee is randomly tested during a calendar year, is the employee removed from the selection process for the remainder of the calendar year?

Guidance: No.

Question 9: Once an employee is randomly tested during a calendar year, is his/her name removed from the pool of names for the calendar year?

Guidance: No, the names of those tested earlier in the year must be returned to the pool for each new selection. Each driver must be subject to an equal chance of being tested during each selection process.

Question 10: May an employer notify a driver of his/her selection for a random controlled sub stances test while the driver is in an off-duty status?

Guidance: Yes. Part 382 does not prohibit an employer form notifying a driver of his/her s election for a random controlled substances test while the driver is in an off-duty status.

Question 11: When a driver works for two or more employers, in whose random pool must the driver be included?

Guidance: The driver must be in the pool of each employer for which the driver works.

Question 12: When may a driver who has tested positive for drugs and or alcohol test return to driving?

Guidance: A driver who has tested positive for drug and/or alcohol, under these rules, would be considered medically unqualified to operate any commercial motor vehicle, including those vehicles defined in 390.5 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, until:

  • the individual has been evaluated by an SAP;
  • complied with any recommended treatment;
  • has been re-evaluated by an SAP;
  • has been allowed by the SAP to return to work and;
  • has passed a return to duty test.

Question 1: What is the difference between a "Chauffeur License" and a Commercial Driver License (CDL)?

Guidance: Without being too technical, the "Chauffeur License" is a driver's license just as an "operator's license" is a driver's license. The State of Michigan requires its residents to obtain a "Chauffeur License" if they are employed for the principal purpose of operating a commercial motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more. The CDL (although it is called a license) is really a privilege required and granted by the state to operate a larger sized commercial motor vehicle.

Upon meeting the testing requirements for a CDL, a Michigan resident will have a CDL vehicle designator (A, B or C), representative of the type of vehicle he/she is permitted to operate, added to his/her "Chauffeur License." In some cases, the CDL privilege can be added to an operator's license.

The key point is that a resident of Michigan cannot merely apply for a CDL. There must be an existing driver's license (chauffeur or operator) for the CDL privilege to be added.

Question 2: I still don't understand, so what is the difference between a "chauffeur license" and a class "C" CDL privilege?

Guidance: A chauffeur license, as stated above, is a Michigan requirement for commercial vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs and above. The CDL Group 'C' is necessary for a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) less than 26,001 pounds or a vehicle having a GCVWR under 26,001 pounds towing a trailer or other vehicle and carrying hazardous materials on which a placard is required or is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver.

A 'C' CDL designator would be required in addition to a chauffeur license when a driver is transporting passengers in a vehicle such as a 22 passenger "Hummer" Limousine or any commercially used passenger vehicle with seating for more than 16 persons (includes driver) but having a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating less than 26,001 lbs. Also a small vehicle transporting a placardable quantity of hazardous materials would require a class "C" CDL designator.

Example: a Ford Focus transporting 3 sticks of dynamite for a construction company would require the vehicle to be placarded, a class 'C" designator on their license with a hazardous materials endorsement.

Question 3: Is a farm vehicle driver required to obtain a CDL? Guidance: A farm vehicle driver, by definition, is exempt from CDL requirements (within 150 miles of farm). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations - Part 390 define a farm vehicle driver as a person who drives only a commercial motor vehicle that is:

(a) Controlled and operated by a farmer as a private motor carrier of property;
(b) Being used to transport either:
(1) Agricultural products, or
(2) Farm machinery, farm supplies or both, to or from a farm;
(c) Not being used in the operation of a for-hire motor carrier;
(d) Not carrying hazardous materials of a type or quantity that requires the commercial motor vehicle to be placarded in accordance with 177.823 of this subtitle; and
(e) Being used within 150 air miles of the farmer's farm.

If all of the requirements (listed above) cannot be met, the driver ceases to be a farm vehicle driver and CDL requirements would apply. Example: If operating a vehicle requiring a CDL and traveling beyond 150 miles from the farm, he/she would have to possess a CDL. For more information pertaining to farming and farming exemptions the Michigan State Police have a Farmers Transportation Guidebook available on their web site.

Question 4: I operate a straight truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds but have registered/plated the vehicle (in Michigan) for 28,000 pounds. Am I required to obtain a CDL?

Guidance: No. The (truck) CDL requirements contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations ? Part 382 are based on vehicle weight ratings or the need to placard a vehicle for hazardous materials. The GVWR for a straight truck (non-placarded) must be 26,001 pounds or more before a CDL is required, regardless of registered weight and/or actual loaded weight.

Question 5: Is a CDL required for a commercial motor vehicle (truck) equipped with air brakes, even though the weight rating is 26,000 pounds or less?

Guidance: No. The GVWR or GCVWR, number of passengers or transportation of hazmat would be the sole determining factor. Air brakes, by themselves do not establish any requirements for CDL.

Question 6: In Michigan, what is "special mobile equipment?"

Guidance: Michigan Act 300 of 1949, chapter 257, section 16, defines "special mobile equipment" as every vehicle not designed or used primarily for the transportation of persons or property and incidentally operated or moved over the highways, including farm tractors, road construction or maintenance machinery , mobile office trailers, mobile tool shed trailers, mobile trailer units used for housing stationary construction equipment, ditch-digging apparatus, and well-boring and well-servicing apparatus. The foregoing enumeration shall be considered partial and shall not operate to exclude other vehicles which are within the general terms of this definition. Although not within the general terms of this definition, the combination of a mobile car crusher trailer permanently attached to a truck-tractor or road tractor shall be considered special mobile equipment for purposes of this Act (Act 300 of 1949)

Question 7: Is a person who operates special mobile equipment over the highway required to obtain a commercial driver license (CDL)?

Guidance: Yes, if the special mobile equipment is of a size requiring a CDL. Additionally, compliance with all state and federal safety regulations is required for operation of any vehicle that meets the definition of a commercial motor vehicle.

Question 8: Is a mechanic road testing a school bus rated over 26,000 lbs required to have a medical card? a CDL? A "P" endorsement?

Guidance: yes, yes, & yes In 2005 Act 181 of 1963 was amended to remove the exemption for a mechanic from medical qualification. If a mechanic is behind the wheel of a school bus, testing a vehicle after repairs have been made, they must have a medical examiners certificate, be a fully qualified driver, have a CDL 'A', 'B' or 'C' on their license they must also have a 'P' endorsement and be in the company DOT drug & alcohol testing program.

Question 9: Is a CDL holder moving a school bus on a highway required to have the S endorsement also?

Guidance: No, a driver is only required to have an 'S' endorsement if they are transporting school children in the bus. But, a driver would be required to have a CDL 'A', 'B' or 'C' (depending on the size of the bus) with a 'P' endorsement, to be fully qualified, carrying a medical examiners certificate and be in a drug and alcohol testing program.

1: Would a driver who uses the 100 air-mile logbook exception have to do a logbook when crossing a state line or international border, even though he/she is still within the 100-air miles?

Guidance: No. The 100 air mile exception is a federal regulation and federal regulations apply when a driver crosses a state line or international border.

2: May a driver domiciled in the United States comply with the Canadian hours of service regulations while driving in Canada?

Guidance: A driver domiciled in the United States may comply with the Canadian hours of service regulations while driving in Canada . Upon re-entering the United States , however, the driver is subject to all of the requirements of part 395, including the 11 and 14 hour rules, and the 60/ 70 hour rules applicable to the previous 7 or 8 consecutive days. In other words, a driver who takes full advantage of Canadian law may have to stop driving for a time immediately after returning to the U.S. in order to restore compliance with part 395.

3. How does a driver accumulate 10 consecutive hours off-duty?

Guidance: A driver meets the 10 consecutive hours off-duty 3 different ways;
1) 10 consecutive hours off-duty, or
2) 10 consecutive hours in a sleep berth, or
3) a combination of off duty and sleep berth time totaling 10 consecutive hours

4. Can a driver still use split sleeper berths to meet the 10 consecutive hours off duty?

Guidance: Driver may no longer split 2 sleeper berths totaling 10 hours as they did in the past. The recent changes do however, provide a new “sleep berth provision” which allow a driver to achieve the “equivalent of 10 consecutive hours off duty”.

The “sleeper berth provision” allows a sleeper berth period of at least 8 hours but less than 10 combined with a separate period of at least 2 but less than 10 consecutive hours off duty, in the sleeper berth, or a combination of the sleeper berth and off duty time, to achieve the “equivalent of 10 consecutive hours off duty”.

5. Is the “equivalent of 10 consecutive hours off duty” the same as 10 consecutive hours off duty?

Guidance: No. Following 10 consecutive hours off duty, a driver may begin a new 14 hour tour of duty and 11 hours of driving. After a driver has achieved the “equivalent of 10 consecutive hours off duty”, the driver also begin a new 14 hour tour of duty and 11 hours of driving but the driver does not begin the new tour of duty following the 2 qualifying periods. The 14 hour calculation begins at the end of the first off duty or sleeper berth period.

6. How do I figure out the 14 hours on tour of duty?

Guidance: The 14 hours begins when a driver comes on duty and ends 14 hours later. Everything a driver does during that time (off duty, on duty not driving, driving and sleeper berth) must be counted in the 14 hour calculation.

Exception: Any sleeper berth period of 8 or more hours is not counted in the 14 hour calculation.

Calculating the 14 hours
Example (1): A driver, following 10 consecutive hours off duty, comes on duty at 6:00 am , at 8:00 pm (14 hours later) the diver must stop driving.
Example (2): A driver, following 10 consecutive hours off duty, comes on duty at 6:00 am , but takes an 8 hour sleeper at noon , since the sleeper berth is not counted in the 14 hour calculation, the drivers 14 hour tour of duty will now end at 4:00 am the next day.

7. What is the new “short haul provision”?

Guidance: Drivers of vehicles not requiring a Commercial Driver's license (non-CDL) to operate who operate within a 150 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location and return to their normal work reporting location at the end of each work day are permitted to drive 11 hours during a 14 hour tour of duty, following 10 consecutive hours, and extend 2 days a week to 16 hours. On the days a driver extends the tour of duty to 16 hours, the driver is permitted to drive during the 15 th and 16 th hour provided he/she does not exceed 11 hour total.

The short haul provision still require compliance with the 60/70 hour rule and drivers are permitted to restart their 60/70 hours any time they take 34 consecutive hours off duty.

Drivers may continue to work beyond the 14 th or 16 hour but may not drive, and time cards, time sheets may be used to record hours in lieu of logbooks.

9. How does the 34 hour restart work?

Guidance: Anytime a driver takes 34 consecutive hours off duty (sleeper berth time can be combined) the 60/70 hour period a driver was working in will end and a new 60/70 hour period begins, starting with zero hours. The 34 hours may be used at any time. A driver does not have to wait until the 60/70 hour and may use it even if he/she has exceeded the 60/70 hours.

10. How would "waiting time" at a terminal, plant, or port be logged?

Guidance: "Waiting time" at a terminal, plant, or port will be recorded as off-duty, sleeper berth, or on duty/not driving, depending on what the driver is doing. If the driver is engaged in any form of work then the time must be recorded as on duty. If the driver is not performing any work and has been provided written authorization to log off duty, from his/her employer, the driver may be off duty.

The driver does not need authorization to enter the sleep berth

11. What is meant by written authorization to be off duty?

Guidance: During a tour of duty, a driver may only log off duty if he/she has been giving written authorization from the motor carrier (employer). The authorization must:/

  • Relieve the driver of all duty and responsibility for the care and custody of the vehicle, its accessories, and any cargo or passengers it may be carrying. Indicate that during the stop, and for the duration of the stop, the driver is at liberty to pursue activities of his/her own choosing and to leave the premises where the vehicle is situated.
  • Specify a finite period of time for the off duty period.
  • Any off duty authorization should state the condition under which a driver may log off duty, i.e., meal, waiting at shippers or customers, waiting for dispatch, waiting for repairs.

A driver who has be giving written authorization log off duty, must log off duty for each instance the authorization applies. The decision to log of duty is not a driver option unless the motor carrier (employer) grants that option to the driver.

12. Do the new hours-of-service regulations apply to Mexican and Canadian drivers and carriers?

Guidance: Yes. Mexican and Canadian drivers currently must comply with U.S. hours-of-service regulations at the time they enter the United States and while operating in the United States. The new regulations are applicable to them. They must maintain a current record of duty status for the previous 7/8 consecutive day period, and their last consecutive hours off-duty period must be at least 10 hours for property-carrying drivers.

13. If a carrier allows a driver to log meal time as off-duty time, does that permit a driver to extend the 14-hour on-duty period?

Guidance: No. Off-duty breaks during the day do not extend the work day to permit a driver to drive after the 14 th consecutive hour on-duty. However, time logged as off-duty is not counted in calculating a drivers 60/70 hour on-duty period

14: May a "100 air-mile radius" diver utilize the "16-hour duty period" exception in 395.1(0)?

Guidance: Yes. A CDL driver operating under the 100 air-mile exception in 395.1 (e) may also meet the requirement in 395.1(0) enabling the driver to have 1 period of 16 hours duty each week (or after a 34-hour restart). However on the day in which the 16-hour exception is utilized, the driver would not meet the 12-hour duty period requirement of the 100 air-mile logbook exception and would therefore be required to maintain a logbook for that day. (Remember a CDL driver is not eligible to use the new "short haul" provision.)

15: If a driver works at another job, unrelated to trucking, during his 34-hour off-duty restart period, and then begins a duty shift for the trucking company, does the 34-hour restart provision apply?

Guidance: No. The 34 hour restart would only apply if the driver were able to accumulate 34 consecutive hours off duty following the end of the part time work. Any compensated work a driver performs, in addition to their regular driving job, must be counted as on duty time and would interrupt a 34 consecutive hour off duty period.

16: If a driver is on call, but has not been called in for 34 hours, may those 34 hours be counted as a 34-hour restart?

Guidance: Yes, provided the carrier has not required the driver to report for work until after the 34-hour period has ended.

17: May drivers who work split shifts take advantage of the 100 air-mile radius exemption found at 395.1(e)?

Guidance: For property-carrying drivers, the concept of "split shifts" is no longer relevant due to the limitations of the 14-hour rule. A driver could, after beginning a tour of duty take a number of hours off duty and return to work but, the 14 hour rule still applies and the driver's tour of duty still ends 14 hours after the driver originally came on duty.

A driver utilizing the 100 air -mile radius exception would also be limited a 12 hour tour of duty. Regardless of how many times the driver goes on and off duty during the duty tour. If the driver exceeds a total of 12 consecutive hours from first starting the daily duty tour, the 100 air-mile exception would no longer apply and the driver will be required to maintain a logbook and the 14 hour rule would now apply.

18: How should a change of duty status for a short period of time be shown on the driver's record of duty status?

Guidance: For short duty status intervals (less than 15 minutes) a driver may remain on the appropriate on-duty (not driving) or driving line at the time the change occurs, and flag the change in the remarks section. The driver must indicate, in the remarks section, the length of the duty status change, such as "6 minutes," and a geographic location such as a highway identification and a mile marker, and the closest city and state.

19: When a driver fails to meet the provisions of the 100 air-mile radius exemption (395.1(e)), is the driver required to have copies of his/her records of duty status for the previous seven days? Must the driver prepare daily records of duty status for the next seven days?

Guidance: No. The driver must only have in his/her possession a record of duty status (RODS) for the day he/she does not qualify for the exemption. The record of duty status must cover the entire day, even if the driver has to record retroactively changes in status that occurred between the time that the driver reported for duty and the time in which he/she no longer qualified for the 100 air-mile radius exemption.

20: WHAT ARE THE PROVISIONS OF THE NEW ELECTRONIC LOGGING DEVICE (eld) MANDATE?

The FMCSA web page on ELDs is located here.  The best guidance summary we have seen is contained in a two-page summary, published by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), and is available on their website, by clicking here.


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