Did you know that your company pickup truck just might be defined as a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs)? You may be thinking to yourself, “But I’m not hauling cargo with the truck so it can’t be a commercial motor vehicle,” or “This truck is way too small.”
In order to understand how and when some of your company’s smaller vehicles suddenly become CMVs, consider the following:
Commerce involves anything that is the furtherance of business, such as hauling supplies and tools to and from a worksite, dropping off workers, or just visiting a worksite during the course of business. If you are not hauling freight for someone else, you can still be considered a private (motor) carrier.
The weight of the truck, load, and any trailer you may be transporting are included in the 10,001 pounds or greater definition of CMV found in §390.5. This includes the manufacturer’s specifications of the truck by itself (i.e., Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)) or with a trailer (i.e., Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)). If you exceed the manufacturer’s weight specifications, and the actual weight of the vehicle and load, with or without a trailer, is 10,001 pounds or greater, this is considered a CMV based on Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or Gross Combination Weight (GCW).
Any size vehicle is subject to the safety regulations if it is hauling placardable amounts of hazmat.
When you find your pickup meets this CMV definition, whoever drives this vehicle must be completely qualified under Part 391, including a copy of the medical certificate on the person of the driver when operating the truck. And the driver must comply with hours-of-service regulations. Even if he or she utilizes one of the short haul exceptions in §395.1(e) (i.e., 100-air-mile radius driver or 150-air-mile radius non-CDL driver), you will need to make sure that he or she does not exceed the daily on-duty hours, does not drive more than 10 of those hours, and has at least 10 hours off between tours of duty. In addition, you will need to make sure that the driver, even if he or she does not operate the vehicle every day, is able to drive based on the 60- or 70-hour rule. If the driver cannot meet the conditions set forth in §395.1(e), he or she would have to complete a driver’s log for the day the vehicle is used as a commercial motor vehicle.
The pickup truck and trailer are also subject to vehicle inspection and maintenance rules. On those days that the vehicle meets the definition of commercial motor vehicle, the driver must conduct a pre-trip inspection per §396.13 and §392.7 and be satisfied that the truck and trailer are in safe operating condition. The driver must also document a post-trip inspection in accordance with §396.11. The next time the pickup truck and/or trailer is used this report must be maintained and reviewed prior to operation, even if days, weeks, or months elapses. You must also retain records on the annual/period inspection of both the truck and trailer, including the appropriate documentation while on the road (i.e., inspection stickers or a copy of the inspection forms). In addition, you would be expected to present maintenance records on the truck and trailer in the event of an audit.