General Qualifications for a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver

Common types of commercial motor vehicles include tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations (doubles and triples), buses, tanker vehicles, dump trucks, and passenger vans.  Being involved in a crash with a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is extremely frightening and may cause serious injuries or death.  Of course, because a CMV is much larger and heavier than the majority of vehicles on the highway, the damage and mayhem they cause in a crash is immense.

Because operating a tractor-trailer combination is inherently dangerous, driving a CMV requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than those required to drive a non-commercial vehicle.  Aligned with the FMCSA's primary mission to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses, the FMCSA regulations define the qualification standards for commercial vehicle drivers.

Pursuant to FMCSA regulation ยง391.11, in order to be eligible to drive a commercial motor vehicle a person must:

(1) Be at least 21 years old;

(2) Be able to read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records;

(3) Be able, by reason of experience, training, or both, to safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he/she drives;

(4) Be physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle;

(5) Have a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator's license issued only by one State or jurisdiction;

(6) Have prepared and furnished the motor carrier that employs him/her with a list of convictions for moving vehicle violations;

(7) Not be disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle; and

(8) Have successfully completed a driver's road test and has been issued a certificate of driver's road test or equivalent.

If these criteria are not met, a motor carrier cannot legally allow the individual to operate its commercial motor vehicles.  However, meeting these criteria does not automatically qualify a driver to operate a CMV.  There are additional regulations that must be met to successfully complete the driver qualification process.  Motor carriers often have internal policies and procedures in addition to the minimum requirements set forth by the FMCSA. 

In litigation, uncovering all of the relevant information available is absolutely crucial.  This includes understanding and evaluating the required qualifications a CMV driver must have pursuant to federal and state law. 

Paoli Law Firm has extensive experience representing victims of commercial motor vehicle crashes.  At Paoli Law Firm we perform exhaustive and thorough investigations that have revealed that in many cases, the CMV driver at fault for a collision was never fully qualified and thus, should have never been allowed by the motor carrier to be behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle.

If you or a family member have been injured as a result of a crash involving a commercial motor vehicle, please call Paoli Law Firm today at (406)542-3330 to see how we can put our experience and knowledge to use for you.

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