CDL Exemptions
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    Martian's Avatar
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    CDL Exemptions

    I see this topic discussed quite often with no real answer. With just buying a 32,000 GVW truck, and no CDL, I wasn't sure of the answer either. I wanted to post what I found just for future reference of anyone else looking to buy a truck over 26,000 pounds in the future. Of course laws vary by state, so be sure to contact you local state police first to be sure, but this is what I found for Michigan:

    The only commerce that can be done without a CDL is if you are a farm and traveling within 150 miles WITHOUT hazardous material.

    As long as you are not using the truck to exchange any sort of money, tax write off or even trade of goods, you do NOT need a CDL. Upon calling my state police the guy was asking questions of what I planned to do with it, what I was hauling, who I was hauling for. As long as you can answer that it's only for private use then you are not required the CDL. It doesn't matter if it's a 18 wheeler or an RV, if it's only for personal use, then you don't need your CDL. I am putting a 'Not for hire' on the side of my truck just for a little more insurance from the cops.

    Even with this the cops themselves do not always know the laws. I will be putting the phone number of the Michigan State Police transportation department in the truck and the print out from the Michigan.gov website where it states no CDL is needed for private (no commerce) use. This way if they try to hold me too it, I will have something to fall back on.

    Be sure to call your local Secretary of State (mine didn't know) and/or state police to be sure that these same rules apply where you live.
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    So Michigan doesn't have a "if it has air brakes you need a CDL" law? I have looked at some medium-sized dump trucks and whenever I ask about them the sellers here in PA always tell me they have air brakes so I need a CDL. I am going to have to do some research on this now that you tell me in some states this is not the case.
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    Yep. If you're not commercial, you don't need a commercial driver's license in most states and in the eyes of the Feds.

    There's a lot of discussion over this, one because the law has been changed, and it can vary by state. A lot of folks checked on the laws 10 or 20 years ago, and their information is unfortunately outdated. Two is the armchair experts that like to make everybody think they need a CDL, medical card, IFTA sticker, USDOT number, log books, two escort cars, wide load permits, a note from their mother and a Kenworth just to haul a riding mower.

    I've had this discussion with the fine folks at the TN Dept. of Safety. I have my CDL for other reasons, but since this comes up so often on tractor boards I wanted to know the real answer. That's what I was told, and the text backs it up. The state of TN defines 'being in commerce' as activity that results in income or losses that you report on your tax return. Unfortunately, not all officers are aware of this. They should be able to check in with their dispatch and get the answer, though. TN does not differentiate for air brakes. If you want to drive a Kenworth to go get your groceries, you're welcome to.
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    Martian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy b. View Post
    So Michigan doesn't have a "if it has air brakes you need a CDL" law? I have looked at some medium-sized dump trucks and whenever I ask about them the sellers here in PA always tell me they have air brakes so I need a CDL. I am going to have to do some research on this now that you tell me in some states this is not the case.
    That's what I understand. The officer I spoke too over the phone knew the truck had air brakes and made no mention. Maybe eventually I'll get my CDL, but I feel safe for now after speaking with my state police. I really don't think anyone really knows 100% (police included). Just another one of those things where it seems like the government makes it more complicated than it needs to be. I'd be in contact with your state police to be sure, but if PA has similar law, then I think you should be in the clear
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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    I've had several DOT officers tell me the "Not for hire" signs are a red flag to them. They are more inclined to pull them over to see what they are trying to get away with, even if they are innocent. I asked when I had a commercial moving van to move from Alaska.

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    Huh, never heard that before. I'll have to ask about that as well, it would make sense though that they are the ones trying to scam
    2005 Deere 110 TLB - 3rd function loader, 3 rear remotes, thumb, top n tilt
    2000 Deere 5410 - 541 SL loader, 2 rear remotes, canopy
    2005 Deere Diesel HPX Gator - homemade cab, snow plow, hydraulic dump
    1953 Farmall Cub - front plow
    1984 Ford F8000 - Cat 3208 Diesel, 5+2 transmission, 8 yard dump
    2006 GMC 4500 Topkick Pickup outfitted by Monroe Truck

    Everyone has a fair turn to be as great as he pleases - Jeremy Collier

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    What about scales? I pass a set of scales on I-70 on a regular basis. I am quite certain if you drove that truck past those scales you would be pulled over by the DOT police that sit there waiting to see someone pass. If you go across them, and are within range, I do not think that they ask to see license. I am towing a 13K+ lb 5th wheel camper and often wonder if I will ever get harrassed by those DOT police vehicles. If they ever put me on the scales, I am concerned that I am at or above my F250 GVWR of 10K. I know I am under per axle and under the GCWR but I am likely over on the GVWR on the truck. Should I ever encounter that situation, I expect it will be interesting and depend on the knowledge and attitude of the officer.

    In MD, registration on that truck would be painful. I have a friend who has a smaller dump and he still found a way to put farm tags on it.

    Lee
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljnelson109 View Post
    In MD, registration on that truck would be painful.
    What isn't painful in MD anymore? We must pay Guvner OWE'Mally more!
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    Martian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljnelson109 View Post
    What about scales? I pass a set of scales on I-70 on a regular basis. I am quite certain if you drove that truck past those scales you would be pulled over by the DOT police that sit there waiting to see someone pass. If you go across them, and are within range, I do not think that they ask to see license. I am towing a 13K+ lb 5th wheel camper and often wonder if I will ever get harrassed by those DOT police vehicles. If they ever put me on the scales, I am concerned that I am at or above my F250 GVWR of 10K. I know I am under per axle and under the GCWR but I am likely over on the GVWR on the truck. Should I ever encounter that situation, I expect it will be interesting and depend on the knowledge and attitude of the officer.

    In MD, registration on that truck would be painful. I have a friend who has a smaller dump and he still found a way to put farm tags on it.

    Lee
    I would stop at scales, but the scale doesn't require a CDL. I would be more worried about being overweight than anything as that is very pricey. And CDL or not, the registration is not cheap here either!
    2005 Deere 110 TLB - 3rd function loader, 3 rear remotes, thumb, top n tilt
    2000 Deere 5410 - 541 SL loader, 2 rear remotes, canopy
    2005 Deere Diesel HPX Gator - homemade cab, snow plow, hydraulic dump
    1953 Farmall Cub - front plow
    1984 Ford F8000 - Cat 3208 Diesel, 5+2 transmission, 8 yard dump
    2006 GMC 4500 Topkick Pickup outfitted by Monroe Truck

    Everyone has a fair turn to be as great as he pleases - Jeremy Collier

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    I got a good butt chewing in Wyoming for stopping at a scale. They told me "You're not commercial. Do not stop and waste our time!" I figured I would stop and be safe rather than sorry. Every time I stopped, I was waved right through or they told me not to stop at the scales. So I quit. Never was hassled for not stopping...

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    2720 w/ 200CX FEL
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    110 round fender in the shop for crustoration
    Ferris IS3200Zzero turn mower

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