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CDL Basics. Terms to Remember. CMV-Commercial Motor Vehicle CDL-Commercial Driver’s License GVWR-Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (assigned by manufacturer-not the actual weight) GCWR-Gross Combination Weight Rating (assigned by manufacturer-not the actual weight)

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terms to remember
Terms to Remember
  • CMV-Commercial Motor Vehicle
  • CDL-Commercial Driver’s License
  • GVWR-Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (assigned by manufacturer-not the actual weight)
  • GCWR-Gross Combination Weight Rating (assigned by manufacturer-not the actual weight)
  • FMCSA-Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Commercial Motor Vehicle Definition(49 C.F.R. § 382.107)_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Single/combination vehicle used in commerce to transport people or property if

  • Has GCWR of 26,001 or more inclusive of towed unit with GVWR or more than 10,000 pounds OR
  • Has a GVWR of 26,001 pounds OR
  • Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver OR
  • Any size or type of vehicle actually used to transport hazardous materials [for purposes of Hazardous Material Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 5103(b))] requiring the vehicle to be placarded pursuant to Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F)
types of cmv 49 c f r 383 91
Types of CMV(49 C.F.R. § 383.91)
  • Group A- Combination Vehicle Group
  • Group B- Heavy Straight Vehicle
  • Group C- Small Vehicle
group a combination vehicle
Group A- Combination Vehicle

Any combination of vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more provided the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds.

group b heavy straight vehicle
Group B- Heavy Straight Vehicle

Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds.

group c small vehicle
Group C- Small Vehicle

Any single vehicle or combination o f vehicles not meeting the definition of Group A or Group B that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) OR is used in the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act and which requires the vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 C.F.R. Part 172).

what is a cdl
What is a CDL?
  • 1986 Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act
  • Specialized license required by all states to operate CMVs (such as buses, tractor trailers, tow trucks)
  • Uniform system of testing and licensing.
  • Uniform system of disqualification for major and serious violations of traffic laws
cdlis commercial drivers license information system
CDLIS(Commercial Drivers License Information System)
  • Created as a result of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA).
  • Intended to serve as a clearinghouse of information related to CDLs
  • Prior to issuing new CDL, states must query CDLIS to determine status in other states.
  • Only as strong as the information it receives.
who needs a cdl
Who needs a CDL?
  • Most operators of CMVs
  • Some exemptions apply
  • States may require non-commercial type license for larger vehicles
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Tanker
  • Passengers
  • School Bus
why are cdl cases important
Why are CDL cases important?
  • CMV crashes are more likely to be fatal
  • CMV crashes are disproportionately high
  • Courts may sometimes be in the best position to identify and address dangerous CMV drivers

Masking is Prohibited by Federal Law

(49 C.F.R. § 384.226)

The State must not mask, defer imposition of judgment, or allow an individual to enter into a diversion program that would prevent a CDL driver’s conviction for any violation, in any type of motor vehicle, of a State or local traffic control law (except a parking violation) from appearing on the driver’s record, whether the driver was convicted for an offense committed in the State where the driver is licensed in another State


Conviction Pursuant to 49 C.F.R §383.5____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Any unvacated adjudication of guilt, or a determination that a person has violated or failed to comply with the law in a court of original jurisdiction or by an unauthorized administrative tribunal, an unvacated forfeiture of bail or collateral deposited to secure the person’s appearance in court, a plea of guilty or nolo contendre accepted by the court, the payment of a fine or court cost, or violation of a condition of release without bail, regardless of whether or not the penalty is rebated, suspended, or probated.

non traffic crimes may also impact cdl status
Any felony in ANY motor vehicle disqualifies CDL holder for 1 yr.

Drug trafficking violation will disqualify for LIFE

Definition of conviction is different under federal regulations

A conviction NOT reported to the proper licensing authority is the SAME as no conviction at all

Non-traffic crimes may also impact CDL status
medical marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Thanks to Michigan’s Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Ken Stecker for allowing the use of his work product, providing material for this presentation and assisting with the preparation of these slides.


Small amounts of marijuana and other drugs are decriminalized in 2009

Personal use only, no sales

Medical condition not required

No permission necessary

  • Marijuana possession is illegal
  • Marihuana Medical Access Regulations effective July 30, 2001
  • Two categories of eligibility
    • Specific debilitating illness – declaration from medical practitioner
    • Other conditions – medical declaration from treating physician + specialist assessment
  • May possess/obtain govt. marijuana, grow it or have it grown
united states
  • Almost 1/3 of USA allows marijuana for ‘medical’ purposes
  • 16 states + District of Columbia
  • State requirements vary
    • Most states require residency for issuance of permission
    • Most states allow cultivation of some plants
medical marijuana trends in usa by state
Medical Marijuana Trends in USABy State
  • 1996 - California
  • 1998 – Alaska, Oregon & Washington
  • 1999 – Maine
  • 2000 – Colorado, Hawaii & Nevada
  • 2004 – Montana & Vermont
  • 2006 – Rhode Island
  • 2007 – New Mexico
  • 2008 – Michigan
  • 2010 – Arizona, DC & New Jersey
  • 2011 – Delaware
medical marijuana in other states
Medical MarijuanaIn Other States
  • Arizona (2010) – 5000 + cards
  • Michigan (2008)* –
    • 111,451 original/renewal applications since April 6, 2009
    • 63,375 patients registered / 12,090 applications denied
          • * Data provided by Michigan Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, Ken Stecker
another physicians group offers
Another ‘physicians group’ offers
  • “lowest price for marijuana evaluations!”
  • “getting a medical marijuana card could … solve your problems. If you are sick … (of) expensive prescription medications, only to find out that your symptoms are not getting better, a medical marijuana card should be something you should consider.”
  • “ A card for medical marijuana may give you a rejuvenated sense of hope to combat any medical symptoms that may bother you.”
  • “any type of chronic pain, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, cancer, HIV, IBS, menstrual cramps”
  • “ADD, ADHD, Migraines, fibromyalgia, cachexia, and many more!”
medical marijuana cards
Medical Marijuana Cards
  • Colorado (2000)* – 20,000 issued by 2011 (backlog of 50,000)
    • 70% obtained by men, most aged 25 to 34
    • 3% cancer patients
    • 1% HIV patients
    • 90% ‘chronic severe pain’
    • 800 doctors have signed for mj cards but 75% of cards come from only 15 physicians (5 of whom have disciplinary actions)
    • “Either our state is experiencing an epidemic of pain in youthful males or Amendment 20 is being exploited, making a mockery of responsible medicine.”
          • “Medical Marijuana – a Prescription for Trouble?” by Doris Gunderson, MD. Medical Director of Colorado Physician’s Health Program (published in May 2011 newsletter of Missouri Physicians Health Program”
medical marijuana in montana
Medical Marijuana in Montana
  • State of the state
  • 2011 legislation
  • Future trends
federal law
Federal Law

Controlled Substance Act (CSA) of 1970 made drug (marijuana) use unlawful

FDA says marijuana has “no currently accepted medical use” (Schedule I)

The non-medical or large scale manufacture, distribution, or possession of marijuana is a criminal offense


“Marijuana is properly categorized under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. Sec. 801. The clear weight of currently available evidence supports this classification, including evidence that smoked marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medicinal value in treatment in the United States, and evidence that there is a general lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision”

49 cfr 382 215 49 cfr 382 501
49 CFR 382.215 & 49 CFR 382.501

If a driver tests positive on an employer- administered test for a controlled substance:

  • Driver shall NOT report to duty, remain on duty or perform safety sensitive functions (including driving)
  • Employer shall NOT permit driver to perform safety sensitive functions (including driving)
drug testing for cmv drivers
Drug Testing for CMV Drivers
  • Conducted by employers not the government
  • Either random or ‘reasonable suspicion’ testing may occur
  • Serious crashes (fatal or serious injury, citation issued or vehicle towed away) require employer to test driver involved
  • Every driver will not be tested in a given year
dot medical marijuana policy
DOT Medical Marijuana Policy-
  • DOT policy - 49 CFR Part 40, at 40.151(e) – does not authorize “medical marijuana” as a valid explanation for a transportation employee’s positive drug test result
  • Medical Review Officers will not verify a drug test as negative based upon information that a physician recommended that the employee use “medical marijuana”
  • Marijuana remains a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act
  • It remains unacceptable for any safety-sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.

TDOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy Compliance

Issued 10/22/09

drug free work place act 1988
Drug Free Work Place Act 1988
  • All grant funded employers
  • Contracted with Federal government
medical qualification 49 cfr 391 41
Medical Qualification 49 CFR 391.41
  • Driver subject to this part must NOT operate a CMV unless medically certified in accordance with regulations as physically qualified to do so
  • FMCSA Website position = “Drivers taking medical marijuana cannot be certified”
  • Deliberate omission or falsification of information during certification process may invalidate certificate and subject driver to civil penalties/fines