Turf Magazine - March, 2008

NATIONAL FEATURES

In Your Own Words: Do I Need a CDL?

Ohio: “I keep getting different stories on if I need a CDL or not. According to a chart my dad had when he took his CDL, I would not need one if the trailer is over 10,000 pounds and as long as the combined weight is not over 26,000 pounds. Is this correct, or does the law change if a person is doing it in a business?”

Trenton, Ohio: “That is correct. Under 26,000 pounds you don’t need a CDL, over, you do.”

Indiana: “Even under 26,000 pounds you’re suppose to have a DOT health card, roadside reflector kit and fire extinguisher in your truck, and it doesn’t take much to get over 26,000 when you add up the truck and trailer combined. An F-450 with a 7-ton trailer would need a CDL.”

Pennsylvania: “The back of my license says ‘Class A- Combination > 26,000/Tow > 10,000.’ Take from that what you will, but to me it means if you are towing more then 10,000 pounds, you need a Class A.”

Maryland: “In Maryland, you need one if the GVW of the truck exceeds 26,000 pounds or you are pulling a trailer weighing more than 10,000 pounds. I know the DOT has field days now with any truck pulling a skid steer since most of the time the trailer and skid loader together weighs more than 10,000 pounds.

“My Maryland license Class A CDL on the back states: ‘Any combination of vehicles with GCW 26,001/more pounds, towing trailer(s) 10,001/more pounds. Any single vehicle, except motorcycles (Endorsement Required for Passenger Vehicles).’ So it is pretty much the same as your state.”

Trenton, Ohio: “Mass is the same if you have a 650 with hydro brakes and you’re pulling a 10-ton trailer you’re overweight and that’s empty. If you’re going to get your CDL, whether you get A or B, get the air brake endorsement, otherwise its not worth it. That way, if you ever upgrade or work somewhere else, you’re completely covered and never have to go back other than a renew.”

Idaho: “Like someone said, it is best just to get the Class A with air brake endorsement and be done with it. It is not that big of a deal. At some point you are going to need it. If you’re going to progress in this business, you need a CDL with about the same importance as you need a dirt bucket.”

Ohio: “Here in Ohio, everyone says it is a pain to get your CDL. My dad said it was a pain to get his, along with many others that have told me that.”

Trenton, Ohio: “I guess it depends on what you are planning on doing. I have a Class A, although I am not a truck driver currently. It is nice to have though. There is a place in Wooster, Ohio, that is a testing center. You can use their truck and even have an instructor ride with you, if you want. I think it costs like $400. When I got mine, I just got the book, studied and took all the written tests. Then I had a buddy let me drive a few times with him. Then I went to a local testing center and used their truck to take the test.”

Texas: “It’s not hard to have a GCWR over 26,000 pounds if you have a new F-350 and a tandem-axle gooseneck. A 2005 or newer F-350: GCWR 13,000 pounds; typical dual-axle gooseneck (single wheels): 14,000-pound GCWR, added together is 27,000. You would need a CDL.

“I have an F-350 flatbed and use a 12,000-pound bumper pull trailer. I put my implements on the back and pull just the Bobcats. My GCWR is 25,000 pounds, but I am probably closer in actual weight to near 26,000. I wish I would just get my CDL and be done with it. I am always trying to save a few pounds here and there and it is a source of frustration and anxiety when I pass by DPS, though I have added everything up and I am underweight.

New York: “You cannot tow a trailer over 10,000 pounds without a CDL.”

Poland, Ohio: “I have my Class A and I’m from Ohio. Had no problems at all. I got my Class B when I was 19, and then got my Class A a few years after that. A CDL is based on the weight rating of your vehicle, not what you actually weigh. If your combo has a GCWR of 27,000 pounds, then you need to get a CDL. Even if you drive around empty all the time, you’re still illegal.”

Ohio: “I don’t see getting a CDL at this time. I used to drive farm trucks hauling grain, but don’t do that much anymore. For farm use it is not required anyway. I don’t plan on getting a bulldozer at this time. If I see business is taking off, then I will invest some money in getting a CDL license. I’m getting mixed answers on here if it is legal or not. Some say it is and some say it is not. There is clearly a misunderstanding in the law if this many people are divided on if it is legal or not.”

Washington: “The law is pretty clear: If you have a commercial towed unit (trailer) that has a GVW over 10,000 pounds and GCVWR of 26,001 pounds, you need a Class A CDL. If you have a commercial vehicle (or combination) with GVW over 26,001 pounds, you need a CDL (Class B if bobtail, no trailer). If you have air brakes, you need an endorsement. If you have a CDL, you need to have a DOT health card and be in a random drug testing program for each employer and a testing program (consortium) for independents, if you are one of them.

“I use www.Trucksafe.com , cheapest I found: $50 per year plus testing costs ($134 last week for piss and breath). The requirements upon notification are very strict, like drop everything and go get tested. Next thing you know, we will be carrying breathalyzers and GPS tracking.

“I was a unaware of this until I overheard an old, independent log truck driver complaining about his $1,000 ticket. I, like him, figured my semiannual drug test at DOT physical was adequate... wrong.”

Wisconsin: “If the truck is 26,000 pounds and the trailer is 10,000 pounds, you don’t need the CDL, even though the combined is over 26,001. If the combined is over 26,001 and the trailer is 10,001 or more then you need a CDL in all states (except for some farm exclusions).”

Washington: “Washington state law says that if your trailer is rated for over 10,001 pounds AND your combined GVWR with truck exceeds 26,001 pounds, you need a Class A CDL.

“So, truck rated for 13,000, trailer is 12,000, you’re at 25,000, good to roll without a CDL here in Washington. But, truck rated for 15,000 and trailer for 12,000, 27,000 puts you in the weight class.”

Idaho: “The rules should be the same across the country, I think. How about the guys pulling a triple-axle gooseneck with a boat behind that? Total experience pulling anything: zero. How about the 80-year-old retired guy driving a diesel pusher that he can’t see over the steering wheel? Prior to the pusher he drove a Camry. DOT would much rather dick with us.”

“In Your Own Words” is contributed from the lawn and landscape forum at www.lawnsite.com. Visit them, and join in the discussions.