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Discussion Starter #1
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. :good2:

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 A lot of folks checked on the laws 10 or 20 years ago, and their information is unfortunately outdated.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. :laugh::laugh:

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. :hi:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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 :good2:
 

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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.

IMG_0960.JPG

Their recommendation was to leave the "Not for hire" signs to the idiots who needed to be road checked.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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 :unknown:
 

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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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Discussion Starter #9
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!
 

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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...

Canada was a different story.:flag_of_truce:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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...

Canada was a different story.:flag_of_truce:
I wouldn't have guessed that! Thanks for the info!
 

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By no means am I telling you not to stop or what you should do. :flag_of_truce: I would check with your local DOT and find out from them directly what they require. I found out most of my information that way by stopping in at a scale and talking to them. They were very helpful.
 

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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...

Canada was a different story.:flag_of_truce:
I have heard the same thing about RV's in Canada. Apparently they are eager to weigh everyone up there.
 

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I would try to go with farm plates if at all possible. Makes everything simpler. You could justify a dump truck for farm use. Especially if you have some livestock.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
By no means am I telling you not to stop or what you should do. :flag_of_truce: I would check with your local DOT and find out from them directly what they require. I found out most of my information that way by stopping in at a scale and talking to them. They were very helpful.
There's only one weight station close by and that's south of my house, I'm 99.9% sure that I'll never be down that way anyway, but if I am, I'll probably stop at least the first time. I just would have never guessed that'd be the case, seems like the officers would want to know your private :unknown:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would try to go with farm plates if at all possible. Makes everything simpler. You could justify a dump truck for farm use. Especially if you have some livestock.
I was worried about them thinking I was trying to work the system with farm plates though. I used to have a mini farm, but I don't have any livesotck anymore. I've heard stories of people trying to work the system with farm plates getting caught. Plus there's a lot of paperwork and proof you have to provide that was more of a hassle than it seemed with. Maybe someone else knows better than I about them...
 

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I see a lot of trucks with "LOG FARM" on the license plate (Michigan). I am not sure what is required to get that.
 

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Late to the conversation.

What I do know as fact is: Any laws pertaining Commercial Driver License or CDL, is federal and apply to all states the same, back in 1985, my first commercial driver license was a class 2. Here in Michigan we had class 1, = to todays CDL B and no special endorsements for air brakes needed, class 2, = to CDL A and no endorsement needed for a/b's and class 3 = to today CDL C and I wont haul people so I don't know all the facts of these. The CDL system was put in to place because most OTR drivers had D/L's form many if not most states and there was no way of tracking them.

Now for one of my biggest pet peeves was that a person working for 30+ yrs that had never drove anything bigger than a escort or at best a p/u truck, could retire and by a 40'+ diesel pusher motor home WITH AIR BRAKES, no special licenses or training and can head down the road. So NO YOU DO NOT NEED A CDL TO USE AIR BRAKES.

Now for the gray area of this conversation and the laws pertaining. As long as you have no LLC's, DBA's or INC's registered in such a line of business related to this kind of equipment, you are non-commercial. Meaning, no CDL, no WEIGH STATIONS, no MED CARDS and no radom/rest area truck inspections. What it does mean is that your equipment still has to meet road worthy statice, that you can only do the posted truck speeds as it applys to all cars & trucks pulling trailers in Michigan and that every time you pass a weigh station or a MSP DOT cop you will probably be pulled over and checked out mainly do to the fact of no signage on the truck. Also I would mount a fire extstingusur and put a box of safty triangles in the cab. I agree with what DS said about the "NOT FOR HIRE" signs, BUT what I would do is go to your local sign shop(They are cheep) and have a couple magnetic signs made up and keep them in the truck and if told you need them, throw them on the doors to make a cop happy, it might save you some grief.

Last but not lease, if you get a cop that thinks he knows the law better than you, accept the ticket and fight it all the way to a jury trial, I know people that use used semi tractors to pull there 5th wheel campers and have run in's such as this and beat them every time.

Nice looking stuff you have martin, enjoy it for many years to come.:thumbup1gif::drinks:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I see a lot of trucks with "LOG FARM" on the license plate (Michigan). I am not sure what is required to get that.
Previous owner had plated it "Log Farm" the last couple years he had the truck. Too my knowledge, it's just cheaper, but you have to have proof of a Farm (what, I don't know) and you can't haul commercially. Maybe some else can clue us in further.

What I do know as fact is: Any laws pertaining Commercial Driver License or CDL, is federal and apply to all states the same, back in 1985, my first commercial driver license was a class 2. Here in Michigan we had class 1, = to todays CDL B and no special endorsements for air brakes needed, class 2, = to CDL A and no endorsement needed for a/b's and class 3 = to today CDL C and I wont haul people so I don't know all the facts of these. The CDL system was put in to place because most OTR drivers had D/L's form many if not most states and there was no way of tracking them.

Now for one of my biggest pet peeves was that a person working for 30+ yrs that had never drove anything bigger than a escort or at best a p/u truck, could retire and by a 40'+ diesel pusher motor home WITH AIR BRAKES, no special licenses or training and can head down the road. So NO YOU DO NOT NEED A CDL TO USE AIR BRAKES.

Now for the gray area of this conversation and the laws pertaining. As long as you have no LLC's, DBA's or INC's registered in such a line of business related to this kind of equipment, you are non-commercial. Meaning, no CDL, no WEIGH STATIONS, no MED CARDS and no radom/rest area truck inspections. What it does mean is that your equipment still has to meet road worthy statice, that you can only do the posted truck speeds as it applys to all cars & trucks pulling trailers in Michigan and that every time you pass a weigh station or a MSP DOT cop you will probably be pulled over and checked out mainly do to the fact of no signage on the truck. Also I would mount a fire extstingusur and put a box of safty triangles in the cab. I agree with what DS said about the "NOT FOR HIRE" signs, BUT what I would do is go to your local sign shop(They are cheep) and have a couple magnetic signs made up and keep them in the truck and if told you need them, throw them on the doors to make a cop happy, it might save you some grief.

Last but not lease, if you get a cop that thinks he knows the law better than you, accept the ticket and fight it all the way to a jury trial, I know people that use used semi tractors to pull there 5th wheel campers and have run in's such as this and beat them every time.

Nice looking stuff you have martin, enjoy it for many years to come.:thumbup1gif::drinks:
Thanks for all the info!

Regarding the cones and fire extinguisher - I was planning on getting them, but while I was cleaning the truck out this past weekend I found the PO had been nice enough to leave his. As for the 'not for hire' I actually bought the stickers before I mentioned it here and DS posted, but I haven't put them on yet. I'll be making some trips this weekend to get some gravel, I'll keep them stickers in the cab, and as soon as an officer gives me grief about not having them, I'll show him I at least have the intent.

The PO had 'West Branch, MI' stickers on the side of the truck, which is near where my cabin is and where I bought the truck. Would you take that off? I'm thinking about leaving it on there, but not sure if that could get me any trouble as well :unknown:
 

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The PO had 'West Branch, MI' stickers on the side of the truck, which is near where my cabin is and where I bought the truck. Would you take that off? I'm thinking about leaving it on there, but not sure if that could get me any trouble as well :unknown:
If you're not commercial, it's not required. Not sure about if you put farm tags on it. I would take it off, just because I don't like unnecessary stickers on my vehicles. That's just my preference, though.
 
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