Section 1: Introduction

This section is for all commercial drivers

The California Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Program was enacted to improve traffic safety on our roadways. As a result, California has developed licensing and testing require-ments for drivers of commercial vehicles which equals or exceeds federal standards.

It takes special skills and a professional attitude to safely operate large trucks and buses. Only professional drivers will receive and keep a Commercial Driver License (CDL). A CDL is proof of your professional skills and aptitude.

The commercial driving test will be administered in the English language only. This is pur-suant to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations §§391.11(b)(2) and 383.133(c)(5).


Who Needs a CDL?

To operate commercial vehicles, you must apply for a CDL. Only California residents may obtain a California CDL. Residency is established by any of the following: registering to vote here, paying resident tuition at a public institution of higher education, filing for a California homeowner's property tax exemption, obtaining a license (such as a fishing license), or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents. You need a CDL if you operate a vehicle or combination of vehicles which requires a Class A or Class B, license or Class C license with endorsements.

This handbook will help you pass the written and skills tests. However, this handbook is not a substitute for a truck driver training class or program. Formal training is the most reliable way to learn the many special skills required for safely driving a large commercial vehicle and becoming a professional driver in the trucking industry.

A commercial motor vehicle is a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles that:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Is a combination vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, if the trailer(s) has a GVWR of 10,001 or more pounds.
  • Tows any vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more.
  • Tows more than one vehicle or a trailer bus.
  • Has three or more axles (excludes three-axle vehicles weighing 6,000 pounds or less gross).
  • Is any vehicle (bus, farm labor vehicle, general public paratransit vehicle, etc.) designed, used, or maintained to carry more than 10 passengers including the driver, for hire or profit, or is used by any nonprofit organization or group.
  • Is any size vehicle which requires hazardous material placards or is carrying material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR part 73.*
  • Transports hazardous wastes (Health and Safety Code §§25115 and 25117).*

NOTE: Employees of school districts, private schools, community colleges, and California state universities who operate 15-passenger vans must have a CDL with a passenger transport vehicle (PV) endorsement. A 15-passenger van is a van manufactured to accommodate 15 passengers, including the driver, or a van "designed" to carry 15 passengers, including the driver, even if seats have been removed to accommodate fewer than 15 passengers.

Endorsements

A special endorsement is also required to drive the following types of vehicles. The en-dorsement shows as a single letter on the driver license.

  • Placarded or marked vehicles transporting hazardous materials or wastes—(H).
  • Tank vehicles (including a cement truck)­­—(N).
  • Passenger transport vehicles—(P).
  • School bus—(S).
  • Double/Triples combination—(T).
  • Tank vehicles transporting hazardous materials or wastes–(X). (Hazardous waste must meet the definition of CVC §§353 and 15278.)
  • Firefighter—(F) (not required but optional for commercial class A or B license holders.)

* Drivers subject to the commercial driver sanctions.


CDL Exceptions

Exceptions to the CDL requirements are:

  • Persons exempted under Health and Safety Code §25163.
  • Persons operating a vehicle in an emergency situation at the direction of a peace officer.
  • Drivers who tow a fifth-wheel travel trailer over 15,000 pounds GVWR or a trailer coach over 10,000 pounds GVWR, when the towing is not for compensation. Drivers must have a noncommercial Class A license.
  • Drivers of housecars over 40 feet but not over 45 feet, with endorsement.
  • Noncivilian military personnel operating military vehicles.
  • Implement of husbandry operators who are not required to have a driver license.

Special Certificates

Special certificates may sometimes be required in addition to a CDL, depending on the type of vehicle or load you carry.

NOTE: It is unlawful to drive a school bus or transit vehicle while using a wireless (cell) telephone for non-work purposes. Emergency calls to law enforcement, a health care provider, a fire department, or other emergency services are permitted.

Apply at DMV field offices for the following certificates:

Ambulance Driver Certificate-required for driving an ambulance used commercially in emergency service (CVC §2512). Persons who have an ambulance driver certificate must submit a copy of the medical report to DMV every two years.

Hazardous Agricultural Materials (HAM)* Certificate—exempts persons who transport hazardous waste or placarded loads from CDL requirements if the:

  • Person is at least 21 years of age.
  • Person is employed in an agricultural operation.
  • Load is not being transported for compensation.
  • Vehicle is owned or leased by a farmer.
  • Person has completed a HAM program approved by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Although the person who qualifies for a HAM is not required to have a CDL, commercial motor vehicle penalties and sanctions will apply.
  • Person submits to DMV every two years a copy of the medical report or health questionnaire.
  • Person operates a vehicle which is an implement of husbandry or requires a Class C license and does not exceed 50 miles from one point to another.

Verification of Transit Training Document (VTT)— requires drivers of transit bus vehicles to comply with specified training requirements. Transit bus vehicles provide the public with regularly scheduled transportation for which a fare is charged. (Does not include general public paratransit vehicle). Drivers who have a school bus driver certificate or school pupil activity bus certificate do not need a VTT.

Apply at CHP offices for the following certificates:

General Public Paratransit Vehicle Certificate (GPPV)*—required for any person who drives:

  • A vehicle which carries not more than 24 persons including the driver and provides local transportation to the general public (e.g., Dial-A-Ride) (CVC §§336 and 12523.5).
  • Pupils at or below the 12th grade level to or from a public or private school or school activity.

School Bus Driver Certificate*—required of any person who drives a bus for any school district or any other party carrying public or private pupils (CVC §§545, 12517, 12522, 34500, 34501.5). A school bus driver must also have a school bus (S) endorsement on his/her CDL. School bus drivers 65 years of age and older must submit an annual medical report to DMV (CVC §12517.2).

School Pupil Activity Bus Certificate (SPAB)*—required of any person who drives a bus for any school district or any other party carrying public or private pupils for school related activities (CVC §§546 and 12517).

Farm Labor Vehicle Certificate*—required to drive farm labor trucks and buses (CVC §§322 and 12519). NOTE: The driver and all passengers in a farm labor vehicle are required to use seat belts.

Youth Bus Certificate*—required to operate any bus other than a school bus which carries not more than 16 children and the driver to or from a school, to an organized non-school related activity, or to and from home (after receiving additional CHP training) (CVC §§680 and 12523).

Tow Truck Driver Certificate*—required for drivers in emergency road service organizations that provide freeway service patrol operations pursuant to an agreement or who contract with a specified public transportation planning entity (traffic commission).

Vehicle for Developmentally Disabled Persons (VDDP)*—required to operate a vehicle for a business or nonprofit organization or agency whose primary job is to transport for hire persons with developmental disabilities (Welfare and Institutions Code §4512(A) and CVC §12523.6).

* Drivers subject to the commercial driver sanctions.


How to Get a CDL

Applicants for a CDL:

  • May drive for hire within California if you are 18 years of age or older and do not engage in interstate commerce activities.
  • Must be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial vehicle engaged in interstate commerce or to transport hazardous materials or wastes (intrastate or interstate commerce) (CVC §12515).
  • Must be 18 years of age.

Provide the Following Items:

  • A completed Commercial Driver License Application (DL 44C) form. Signing this form means you agree to submit to a chemical test to determine the alcohol or drug content of your blood. If you refuse to sign this form, DMV will not issue or renew your driver license.
  • Your true full name.
  • An approved medical form (or copy) completed by a U.S. licensed doctor of medicine (M.D.), licensed doctor of osteopathy (D.O.), licensed physician's assistant (P.A.), registered advanced practice nurse (APN), or licensed chiropractor when you apply for a driver license or instruction permit. Drivers who hold certificates to drive school buses, SPAB, youth buses, GPPV, or farm labor vehicles must have their medical examinations given by doctors of medicine, licensed physician's assistant, or a registered advanced practice nurse (CVC §12517.2).

    NOTE: Do not mail your medical report to the CHP.

    A medical report dated within the last two years is required for any CDL application and then every two years after that.

    Mail the interim medical to:

    Department of Motor Vehicles
    Commercial Problem Drivers Inquiry Unit
    MS G204
    PO Box 942890
    Sacramento, CA 94290-0001

    You will be given a Medical Certificate Card (DL 51A) to carry when you drive com-mercially. You can be given a citation for driving out of class if your medical certificate expires, or you drive without a valid medical certificate in your possession. You may also be removed from your vehicle by a law enforcement officer for driving out of class.

    If you must have a CDL as part of your job, your employer shall pay the cost of the ex-amination unless your examination was taken before you applied for the job (Labor Code §231).

    NOTE: Customers who do not meet the minimum medical standards will either be restricted or refused a CDL. The restrictions are:

    • may not transport passengers commercially or transport materials which require placards (CVC §27903).
    • may not drive in interstate commerce.
  • An acceptable birth date/legal presence (BD/LP) document. All applicants for an original DL/ID card must submit proof of legal presence in the US as authorized under federal law. If the name on your BD/LP document is different from the name on your DL application form, you must also bring in an acceptable true full name document. Your true full name, as shown on your BD/LP document, will appear on your DL/ID card. (Refer to the California Driver Handbook.)
    An acceptable BD/LP or true full name document is one produced by an issuing authority (i.e., county, state, etc.). This document is a certified copy of the original (the original is always retained by the issuing authority) and will contain an impressed seal or an original stamped impression. The certified copy will be returned to you. If you make a copy of the certified copy, DMV will not accept it for BD/LP verification.
  • Your Social Security Card (cannot be laminated), Medicare card, or U.S. Armed Forces active, retired, or reserve DD2 form for an original CDL. The document must contain your name and social security number (SSN). Your SSN will be verified with the Social Security Administration while you are in the office.
  • A Certificate of Driving Skill (DL 170 ETP) if your employer is authorized by DMV to issue such certificates. Both you and your employer sign this form.
  • The applicable fee. This fee is good for 12 months from the application date. You are allowed three attempts to pass the written knowledge test and a total of three attempts to pass the entire road test (pre-trip inspection, skills, and driving test) on a single application. If you fail any portion of the road test (pre-trip inspection, skills, or driving test), it will count as one failure towards the maximum three attempts you are allowed. Example: Failing the pre-trip inspection, skills test, and driving test counts as a three-time failure (or any failure combination equaling three). However, if you are required to take a driving test for separate types of vehicles (Class A or passenger transport vehicle), you are allowed three driving tests for the Class A vehicle and three driving tests for the passenger transport vehicle.

If you fail the skills test or the road test there will be a $30 retest fee charged upon your re-turn to take the commercial driving test.

Fees Subject to Legislative Change Each January 1st.


If the class of license is…

and the application type is…

the fee is…
Commercial
Class A or B
an original—no prior California DL (with/without a driving test)
$66
an original—prior California DL (with/without a driving test)
$66
to remove a restriction(s) imposed due to vehicle size or equipment
$66
to add a passenger transport endorsement
$66
a driving or skill retest fee
$30
a renewal
$39
a renewal by mail or internet
$39
add an endorsement other than PV
$39
add noncommercial Class A to a Class B
$39
add Class M1/M2
$39
a duplicate
$29
a name change
$25

Commercial Class C an original—prior California DL (with/without a driving test)
$39
a renewal
$39
a renewal by mail or internet
$39
add an endorsement not requiring a driving test
$39
remove an air brake restriction
$39
a duplicate
$29
a driving or skill retest fee
$30

a name change

$25


Required Testing

You must take and pass vision, knowledge (law), and performance (pre-trip, skills, and driving, if required) tests to get your original CDL and/or endorsements or to upgrade to a different class of license. Law and vision tests may be required for renewals. A driving test is required:

  • For an original CDL.
  • To remove a restriction placed on your license because of vehicle size or equipment.
  • To add a "P" or "S" endorsement.
  • To renew a CDL expired for more than two years.

The CDL law tests are:

  • General Knowledge Test, for all Class A, B, and commercial C applicants.
  • Air Brakes Test, if you operate vehicles with air brakes.
  • Combination Vehicles Test, if you drive Class A combination vehicles.
  • Passenger Transport Vehicle Test, if you transport passengers.
  • Hazardous Materials Test, if you transport hazardous materials or wastes requiring placards.
  • Tank Vehicle Test, if you transport liquids in bulk (including cement mixers).
  • Doubles/Triples Test, if you pull double or triple trailers. (Triple trailers are illegal in Cali-fornia.)
  • The School Bus test is required if you want to drive a school bus.
  • Firefighter Endorsement Test, to operate firefighting equipment. (Not required but optional for commercial class A or B license holders).

NOTE: Your law and/or endorsement test(s) will not be returned to you.

You may take the law test at any DMV office. Office hours vary. Please go online at www.dmv.ca.gov or call 1-800-777-0133 to make an appointment.

After passing the required knowledge test(s), you must schedule a CDL performance test which includes a pre-trip inspection/knowledge test, basic control skills tests, and the driving test. You must use the same (or similar) vehicle for all three performance tests. Under certain specified conditions, the driving test requirements may be waived by DMV or CHP.

Use of Testing Aids Prohibited

The use of testing aids is strictly prohibited during the knowledge test. This includes, but is not limited to: the California Commercial Driver Handbook, cheat sheets, or electronic communication devices such as a cell phone, hand-held computer, etc.

If any testing aid(s) or a substitute test taker is used during the written test, the written test will be marked as a "failure." An action may also be taken by DMV against your driving privilege or the driving privilege of anyone else who assists the applicant in the examination process.

During the pre-trip inspection the department does not allow the use of testing aids other than the vehicle inspection guide in this handbook. If you are caught using anything other than the inspection guides, the commercial driving test will be marked as a failure. The use of electronic devices such as cell phones, blue tooth, CB radios, etc. is pro-hibited during the commercial driving test. Also people waiting in the testing vicinity are prohibited from using hand signals and shouting instructions. If this occurs, the test will be discontinued and be marked as a commercial drive test failure. If markings are found on the vehicle being used for the test to help with passing the pre-trip or skills test, including but not limited to: writing on the vehicle, tape, paint markings that do not appear like they belong, or markings on the curbs, walls, or trees that would help the applicant maneuver the vehicle for the skills test, the test will be discontinued and will be marked as a failure.

Pre-trip inspection. You demonstrate your knowledge of how the specific features and equipment on the test vehicle should be checked. This handbook contains inspection guides for handy reference. You may use only one of these guides when taking your pre-trip test. If you do not pass the pre-trip inspection test, the other tests will be postponed. There is no additional fee for re-taking the pre-trip tests on the same application. See Section 11 for pre-trip information.

Skills tests. You perform various skills that test your control and ability to maneuver the vehicle. The tests consist of exercises marked by traffic cones or markers. The examiner will explain how each exercise is to be done. You will be scored on your ability to properly perform each exercise. Failure of any skill test ends the test and a retest fee is due for each skills retest. See Section 12 for skill test information.

Driving test. You drive on a DMV-specified route. The test takes about 45 to 60 minutes and includes left and right turns, intersections, railroad crossings, curves, rural or semi-rural roads, city multilane streets, and freeway driving. If you fail the driving test, a retest fee is charged for each additional driving test. See Section 13 for driving test information.

CDL Restrictions

Your CDL will be restricted to the type of vehicle you use for the driving test. For example, if your test vehicle does not have air brakes you will be restricted to driving vehicles without air brakes. If your passenger transport vehicle carries 15 persons or less including the driver, you will be restricted to driving a small size bus.


Additional Requirements

All commercial vehicle drivers must:

  • Be a California resident before applying for a California CDL.
  • Disclose all states in which they were previously licensed during the past ten years and sur-render all out-of-state driver licenses (current or expired), if any.
  • Certify that they do not have a driver license from more than one state or country.
  • Notify their home state Department of Motor Vehicles of any conviction which occurred in other states within 30 days of the conviction.
  • Notify their employer of any conviction within 30 days of the conviction using form Report of Traffic Conviction (DL 535).
  • Notify their employer of any revocation, suspension, cancellation, or disqualification before the end of the business day following the action.
  • Give their employer a 10-year employment history of commercial driving, if applying for a job as a driver.

Sanctions/Disqualifications

Please see these charts for required sanctions and disqualifications.


General

You may not drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) if you are disqualified for any reason.

You will lose your CDL for at least one year for a first offense for:

  • Driving a CMV if your BAC is .04% or higher.
  • Driving a CMV under the influence of alcohol.
  • Refusing to undergo blood alcohol testing.
  • Driving a CMV while under the influence of a controlled substance.
  • Leaving the scene of a collision involving a CMV.
  • Committing a felony involving the use of a CMV.
  • Driving a CMV when your CDL is suspended/revoked.
  • Causing a fatality through negligent operation of a CMV.

You will lose your CDL for at least three years if the offense occurs while you are operating a CMV that is placarded for hazardous materials.

You will lose your CDL for life for a second offense.

You will lose your CDL for life if you use a CMV to commit a felony involving controlled substances.

You will be put out-of-service for 24 hours if you have any detectable amount of alcohol un-der .04%.

Serious Traffic Violations

Serious traffic violations include:

  • Excessive speeding (15 mph or more above the posted speed limit).
  • Reckless driving.
  • Improper or erratic lane changes.
  • Following a vehicle too closely.
  • Traffic offenses committed in a CMV in connection with fatal traffic collisions.
  • Driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL.
  • Having a CDL in the driver's possession, and driving a CMV without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsements.

You will lose your CDL for at least:

  • 60 days if you commit two serious traffic violations within a three-year period involving a CMV.
  • 120 days for three or more serious traffic violations within a three-year period involving a CMV.

Violation of Out-of-Service Orders

You will lose your CDL for at least:

  • 90 days for your first conviction of an out-of-service order.
  • One year for two convictions of an out-of-service order in a ten-year period.
  • Three years for three or more convictions of an out-of-service order in a ten-year period.

Violation of hands free or TEXTING law

You will lose your CDL:

  • For at least 60 days for your second violation of the cell phone hands free or texting law, within a 3 year period, and receive one point on your driving record.
  • For at least 120 days for your third and subsequent violations of the cell phone hands free or texting law, within a 3 year period, and receive one point on your driving record.

Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Violations

You will lose your CDL for at least:

  • 60 days for your first conviction.
  • 120 days for your second conviction within a three-year period.
  • One year for your third conviction within a three-year period.

These violations include violation of a federal, state, or local law or regulation pertaining to one of the following six offenses at a railroad-highway grade crossing for:

  • Drivers who are not required to always stop, failing to stop before reaching the crossing if the tracks are not clear.
  • Drivers who are not required to always stop, failing to slow down and check that the tracks are clear of an approaching train.
  • Drivers who are always required to stop, failing to stop before driving onto the crossing
  • All drivers failing to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping.
  • All drivers failing to obey a traffic control device or the directions of an enforcement official at the crossing.
  • All drivers failing to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance.

Hazardous Materials Endorsement Background Check and Disqualifications

If you require a hazardous materials endorsement you will be required to submit your finger-prints and be subject to a background check.

You will be denied or you will lose your hazardous materials endorsement if you:

  • Are not a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
  • Renounce your United States citizenship.
  • Are wanted or under indictment for certain felonies.
  • Have a conviction in a military or civilian court for certain felonies.
  • Have been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution.
  • Are considered to pose a security threat as determined by the Transportation Security Ad-ministration (TSA).

For more information you can go online at hazprints.tsa.dhs.gov or call 1-877-429-7746.

Traffic Violations in Your Personal Vehicle

The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act (MCSIA) of 1999 requires a CDL holder to be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle if the CDL holder has been con-victed of certain types of moving violations in their personal vehicle.

If your privilege to operate your personal vehicle is revoked, cancelled, or suspended:

  • Due to violations of traffic control laws (other than parking violations) you will also lose your CDL driving privileges.
  • Due to alcohol, a controlled substance, or felony violations, you will lose your CDL for one year. If you are convicted of a second violation in your personal vehicle or commercial motor vehicle, you will lose your CDL for life.
  • You may not obtain a "hardship" license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Violation Point Counts

Convictions that occur while you are driving a commercial vehicle or as a holder of a com-mercial driver license are retained on your driving record as listed below:

  • Major violations and disqualification actions, 55 years.
  • Out-of-service violations and disqualification actions, 15 years.
  • Collisions, serious violations and disqualification actions, 10 years.
  • Railroad grade crossings and disqualification actions, 4 years.
  • Minor convictions, 3 years.

A traffic conviction for driving unsafely counts as one point. Any collision you contributed to or were responsible or at fault for, is normally counted as one point. If you are convicted of reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or of a hit-and-run, you are charged two points.

If you get too many points, you lose your privilege to drive. You are considered a negligent operator of a commercial motor vehicle when your driving record shows the following point counts:

4 points in 12 months
6 points in 24 months
8 points in 36 months

You may be entitled to a higher point count (6, 8, or 10 points) if you request and appear for a hearing and if 4, 6, or 8 points were not obtained in a Class C vehicle.

A violation received in a commercial vehicle carries one and one-half times the point count. A Class A or B driver who does not have a special certificate or an endorsement may be allowed two additional points before being considered a negligent operator.

Convictions reported by other states are added to your driving record and may result in li-cense sanctions. If you have an out-of-state CDL, any conviction while operating in Califor-nia will be reported to your home state.

NOTE: Commercial drivers may not attend a traffic violator school to have an offense dismissed for any traffic violation (CVC §42005(c)).

CDL Offices

Call 1-800-777-0133 to schedule a CDL driving test at one of the following offices:

Arleta | Bakersfield | Bishop | Capitola | Compton | El Centro | Eureka | Fremont | Fresno CDL Driving Center | Fullerton | Lancaster | Modesto | Montebello | Rancho San Diego | Redding | Salinas | San Bernardino CDL Driving Test Center | San Luis Obispo | Santa Barbara | Santa Rosa | Santa Teresa | Stockton | Torrance | Ukiah | Vallejo | Ventura | W Sacramento CDL Driving Test Center | Yuba City


State Laws and Rules

All commercial drivers must know the state laws limiting the size and weight of vehicles and loads. All commercial vehicles must stop at locations posted for CHP testing and inspection (CVC §§2802 – 2805, 2813).

Any officer, who has reason to believe that a commercial vehicle is not safely loaded or that the height, width, length, or weight of a vehicle and load is unlawful, is authorized to require the driver to stop and submit to an inspection, measurement, or weighing of the vehicle. The officer may have the driver stop in a suitable area and reload or remove any part of the load.

Any person driving a commercial vehicle over a highway or bridge illegally is liable for all damage caused to the highway or bridge. When the driver is not the owner of the vehicle but is operating it with the permission of the owner, the owner and driver may both have to pay for the damage.

State Air Emissions Rules

ALL diesel vehicles and equipment operating in California, even those based out-of-state, are currently subject to the following emission reduction requirements. For more information on each regulation, visit the Air Resources Board (ARB) webpage at www.arb.ca.gov/truckstop or call 1-866-6DIESEL (1-866-634-3735).

Heavy Duty Vehicle Inspection Program

Heavy duty vehicles in California are subject to opacity test requirements that are verified by random roadside inspections of engine smoke emissions and tampering. For more information, see www.arb.ca.gov/enf/hdvip/hdvip_pamphlet.pdf.

Engine Emission Control Labels (ECL)

All heavy duty commercial vehicles need to have proof that their engines meet emissions requirements at least as stringent as U.S. federal standards for the engine model year. A properly affixed and legible manufacturer emission control label is required as proof that the engine meets these standards. For more information, see www.arb.ca.gov/enf/advs/advs364.pdf.

Periodic Smoke Inspection Program

This program applies to California based fleets with two or more heavy duty vehicles. Requires fleets to perform smoke opacity tests for their vehicles each year and to maintain records for a minimum of two years. There are some exceptions to the annual requirement. For more information, see www.arb.ca.gov/enf/hdvip/psip_pamphlet.pdf.

Commercial Idling Requirements

These requirements prohibit commercial diesel vehicles greater than 10,000 GVWR from idling longer than five minutes. When at or within 100 feet of a school, engines of all fuel types must shut down immediately upon arrival and restart no later than 30 seconds before leaving. Penalties start at $300. For more information, see www.arb.ca.gov/noidle or www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/sbidling/sbidling.htm.

Retrofit/Upgrade Requirements

The following NEW requirements for trucks and buses will further reduce diesel exhaust and greenhouse gas emissions. These reductions require the retrofit and/or upgrade of existing vehicles and equipment.

Trucks and Buses (Private and Federal Fleets)

The Truck and Bus Rule requires the clean up of existing diesel engines used in most diesel trucks and buses with a GVWR over 14,000 pounds, including agricultural yard trucks equipped with off-road certified engines. For more information, see www.arb.ca.gov/dieseltruck. Clean-up requirements are based on the engine model year (MY) and the GVWR of the vehicle. Any person or business residing in California who sells an affected vehicle must provide a disclosure notice about the regulation to the buyer.

Heavier vehicles with a GVWR more than 26,000 lbs. need engine upgrades as shown in the schedule below (no reporting is required). More flexible compliance options are available to owners that choose to report fleet information by the March 30, 2012 deadline.

Schedule for Heavier Trucks and Buses
Engine Year PM Filter* 2010 MY Engine
Pre-1994 Not required January 1, 2015
1994-1995 Not required January 1, 2016
1996-1999 January 1, 2012 January 1, 2020
2000-2004 January 1, 2013 January 1, 2021
2005 or newer January 1, 2014 January 1, 2022
2007-2009 Already Equipped January 1, 2023
*50% PM reduction can be used if 85% reduction is not
available.

Lighter vehicles with a GVWR 26,000 lbs. or less need to be upgraded to 2010 model year engines or to newer models as shown in the table below. No retrofit PM filters or reporting is required.

Schedule for Lighter Trucks and Buses
Engine Year 2010 MY Engine
1995 and older January 1, 2015
1996 January 1, 2016
1997 January 1, 2014
1998 January 1, 2018
1999 January 1, 2019
2003 and older January 1, 2020
2004-2006 January 1, 2021
2007-2009 January 1, 2023

Requirements for Drayage Trucks

Trucks (gvwr > 26,000 lbs.) that transport cargos going to or coming from California's ports and intermodal rail yards. Diesel-fueled trucks that transport marine cargo, containers, or transport chassis must be registered in the statewide Drayage Truck Registry prior to port or rail yard entry. For more information, call 888-247-4821 or see www.arb.ca.gov/drayagetruck. Drayage trucks must comply as shown in the table. Retrofit particulate matter (PM) filters must be verified by the Air Resource Board to reduce PM by 85%.

Dray-off: It is illegal for a drayage truck to exchange cargo with a noncompliant drayage truck outside of port or intermodal rail yard property anywhere in California.

Statewide Schedule for Class 8 Drayage Trucks with a GVWR > 33,000 lbs.
Compliance Date Requirements
January 1, 2010 PM filter on 1994-2003 MY engines and Pre-1994 MY engines no longer allowed
January 1, 2012 PM filter on 2004 MY engines
January 1, 2013 PM filter on 2005-2006 MY engines
January 1, 2014 All must have 2007 MY engines and newer
January 1, 2023 All must have 2010 MY engines and newer


Statewide Schedule for Class 7 Drayage Trucks with a GVWR of 26,001-33,000 lbs.
Compliance Date Requirements
January 1, 2012* PM filter on pre-2007 MY engines
January 1, 2014 All must have 2007 MY engines and newer
January 1, 2023 All must have 2010 MY engines and newer
* While Operating In the South Coast Air Basin


Requirements for Transport Refrigeration Units (TRU or Reefer)

Every California-based TRU and TRU generator set must be registered and operator reports must be submitted and kept current at https://arber.arb.ca.gov/Welcome.arb?prg=tru. All TRUs that operate in California must also meet the in-use standards, regardless of where they are based.

Compliance schedules to reduce PM emissions are based on the engine's model year as shown in the table below. Engines may be retrofit with diesel particulate filters or replaced with newer, cleaner engines but the replacement engines must then comply with the appropriate in-use standard, based on replacement engine model year. For example, if an engine is replaced by a 2012 MY engine, it must be upgraded to meet the in-use standard by December 31, 2019. Engines have seven years after the model year before upgrades are required. For more information see: www.arb.ca.gov/diesel/tru/tru.htm.

TRU and TRU Generator Set Compliance Schedule
Engine Model Year Low Emission TRU In-Use Standard (50% PM Reduction) Ultra Low Emission TRU In-Use Standard (85% PM Reduction)
2001
or older
December 31, 2008 December 31, 2015
2002 December 31, 2009 December 31, 2016
2003 December 31, 2010 December 31, 2017
2004
(<25 hp)
December 31, 2011 December 31, 2018
2004
(>25 hp)
Not applicable December 31, 2011
2005
and newer
Not applicable December 31st of the
model year +7 years


Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Requirements

The Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas regulation applies to 53-foot or longer box-type trailers, including both dry-van and refrigerated-van trailers, and all heavy-duty tractors that pull them on California highways. Any person or business residing in California who sells an affected vehicle must provide a disclosure notice about the regulation to the buyer. Fleets must report to take advantage of short haul, local haul or storage trailer exemptions and passes. For more information see www.arb.ca.gov/cc/hdghg/hdghg.htm.

Low-rolling resistance tires are required on all 2011 MY or newer tractors and trailers, and are required on older equipment as shown in the table below.

Low-Rolling Resistance Tires
Date Requirements for 2010 MY and Older Equipment
January 1, 2013 All Tractors
January 1, 2013 All trailers (except 2003-2009 MY reefer trailers have until 2018-2020).


Smart Way aerodynamic requirements must currently be met by all 2011 MY or newer sleeper-cab tractors and trailers. Older trailers must meet the following:

Smart Way Aerodynamic Requirements
Date Requirements for 2010 MY and Older Trailers
June 1, 2012 Optional phase-in registration deadline for fleets with 21 or more trailers.
July 1, 2012 Optional phase-in registration deadline for small fleets with 20 or fewer trailers.
January 1, 2013 All trailers are not using a phase-in schedule

Length of Vehicle/Loads–Single Vehicle

The maximum length for a single vehicle is 40 feet. This length may be exceeded by parts complying with fender and mudguard provisions of the California Vehicle Code (CVC).

Note: Some vehicles are conditionally exempted from the 40-foot maximum length (e.g., semitrailers, buses, housecars).

The front bumper of a vehicle must not extend more than two feet ahead of fenders, cab, or radiator, whichever is foremost.

On a bus, a front and/or rear safety bumper may extend an additional foot, and a wheel chair lift may extend up to 18 inches ahead of the bus. Additional extensions up to 36 inches in front or 10 feet in the rear of some buses may be added to transport bicycles.

Length of Vehicle/Loads–Combination Vehicles

In a combination of vehicles, auxiliary parts or equipment which do not provide space for carrying a load or are not used to support or carry the vehicle may exceed the single vehicle length limit, but the combination may not exceed the length limit for combinations.

An articulated bus or trolley coach cannot exceed a length of 60 feet.

A semitrailer being towed by a motor truck or truck tractor may exceed 40 feet when certain conditions are met (CVC §35400b(4)).

A combination of a truck tractor and a trailer coupled together shall not exceed a total length of 65 feet except as provided in CVC §§35401 and 35401.5.

A combination of vehicles consisting of a truck tractor, a semitrailer, and a trailer cannot be longer than 75 feet, providing the length of either trailer does not exceed 28 feet 6 inches.

If posted, cities and counties may prohibit a combination of vehicles in excess of 60 feet in length on highways they control.

Other exceptions can be found in CVC §35401.5. Extension devices are allowed with restrictions (CVC §35402).

The load length on any vehicle or combination of vehicles may not be more than 75 feet long measured from the front of vehicle or load to the back of vehicle or load.

Length Exceptions

Some length exceptions are listed below:

  • If the load consists only of poles, timbers, pipes, integral structural materials, or single unit component parts, including: missile components, aircraft assemblies, drilling equipment, and tanks not exceeding 80 feet in length; provided they are being transported on one of the following:
    • pole or pipe dolly or other legal trailer used as a pole or pipe dolly pulled by a motor vehicle.
    • semitrailer.
    • semitrailer and a pole or pipe dolly, pulled by a truck tractor to haul flexible integral structural material (CVC §35414).
  • Public utilities. Refer to CVC §35414(B) for load exceptions.
  • The load on any vehicle or combination of vehicles must not extend more than three feet beyond the foremost part of the front bumper or tires. There are exceptions for booms, or masts of shovels or cranes, or water well drilling and servicing equipment (CVC §35407). A load composed solely of vehicles may extend four feet ahead of the front tires or the front bumper.
  • The load on any single vehicle may not extend to the rear, beyond the last point of support, more than two-thirds the length of the wheel base of the vehicle. On a semitrailer, the wheelbase extends from the center of the last axle of the towing vehicle to the center of the last axle on the semitrailer.

Width of Vehicles and Loads

The outside width of the body of the vehicle or load must not exceed 102 inches (8 1/2 feet). The width of a vehicle with pneumatic (air filled) tires, measured from the outside of one wheel to the outside of the opposite wheel, must not exceed 108 inches (9 feet).

Permitted devices limited to door handles, hinges, cable cinchers, chain binders, and placard holders may extend three inches (6 inches on one side for vehicles used for recreational purposes) on each side of the vehicle or load.

Required devices limited to lights, mirrors, or other devices may extend up to 10 inches on each side. Cities and counties may post highways, which they control, to permit wider vehicles, but may also prohibit vehicles wider than 96 inches (8 feet).

Special mobile equipment and special construction and highway maintenance equipment may not be more than 120 inches (10 feet) wide.

Motor coaches or buses may be 102 inches wide. When operated by common carriers for hire in urban or suburban service, they may be 104 inches wide.

When a vehicle is carrying loosely piled agricultural products such as hay, straw, or leguminous plants in bulk rather than crated, baled, boxed, or stacked, the load and the racks that hold the load, may be no more than 120 inches wide.

A special trip permit may be obtained from the California Department of Transportation (Cal- Trans) to transport trusses and similar one-piece construction components up to 12 feet wide (CVC §35780.5).

Variances for farm equipment.

Implements of husbandry (farm equipment) are generally exempted from width and length limitations if they are being operated, transported, or towed over a highway incidental to normal farming operations. Owners and operators of such equipment should refer to the California Vehicle Code provisions which apply. A CalTrans transportation permit may be necessary (CVC §§36000 and 36600).

Height of Vehicles and Loads

The vehicle height limit and/or load limit, measured from the surface of the roadway on which the vehicle stands, is 14 feet.

Exceptions:

  • Double deck buses may not exceed 14 feet, 3 inches.
  • Farming equipment moved incidentally over a highway.

Weight Limits–General

CalTrans has authority to post signs at bridges and along state highways stating the maximum weight they will sustain. Such weight may be greater or lesser than the maximum weight limits for a vehicle specified in the California Vehicle Code (CVC §§35550-35557).

Counties and cities may post higher or lower weight limits along highways and at bridges they control. Alternate routes may be given for vehicles which are too heavy for posted highways and bridges.*

* Weight limitations by local ordinance do not prevent commercial vehicles from entering posted streets or highways by direct route to (a) make pickups or deliveries of goods, wares, and merchandise, (b) deliver materials for bona fide construction, repair, etc. of a structure for which a permit has been obtained, or (c) make public utility construction or repairs.

Axle Weight Limits

The gross weight which can be carried by the wheels of any one axle must not exceed 20,000 pounds (20,500 pounds for buses). Additionally, the load limit stated by the tire manufacturer (molded on at least one sidewall) shall not be exceeded.

The weight carried by the wheel or wheels on one end of an axle must not exceed 10,500 pounds. This limitation does not apply to vehicles transporting livestock (CVC §35550).

Combinations of vehicles made up of a trailer or semitrailer, and each vehicle in the combination, must meet either the weight provisions of CVC §35551 or the following:

  • The gross weight placed on a highway by the wheels on any one axle of a vehicle must not exceed 18,000 pounds. The gross weight on any one wheel, or wheels, supporting one end of an axle and resting on a roadway must not exceed 9,500 pounds.
  • Exceptions:
    • the gross weight placed on a highway by the wheels on any front steering axle of a motor vehicle must not exceed 12,500 pounds.
    • vehicles carrying livestock are exempt from the gross weight limit which applies to a wheel at one end of an axle.

A complete listing of vehicles exempt from front axle weight limits can be found in CVC §35551.5(b).

The total gross weight, with load, placed on a highway by any two or more consecutive axles of a combination of vehicles, or a vehicle in the combination, where the distance between the first and last axles of the two or more consecutive axles is 18 feet or less, must not exceed that given for the respective distance as shown in the table in CVC §35551.5(c).

When the distance between the first and last axles is more than 18 feet, use the table shown in CVC §35551.5(d).

Weight Limit–Logs

Weight limits for vehicles transporting logs are contained in CVC §§35552 and 35785. Such additional weight may not be transported on interstate highways.

Weight-to-Axle Ratio (CVC §35551)

Highways and bridges are designed to carry only a certain amount of weight per foot of distance between axles. Vehicles carrying heavy loads must not put too much weight on any point. The California Vehicle Code shows limitations in the tables found in CVC §§35551 and 35551.5.

The total gross weight in pounds placed on the highway by any group of two or more consecutive axles must not exceed that given for the respective distance in that table.

In addition to the weight specified in the previously mentioned table, two consecutive sets of tandem axles may carry a gross weight of 34,000 pounds each, if the distance between the first and last axles of the sets of axles is 36 feet or more. The gross weight on each set of tandem axles must not exceed 34,000 pounds and the gross weight on two consecutive sets of tandem axles must not exceed 68,000 pounds (CVC §35551(b)).

Loading/Unloading (CVC §35553)

Load limits are not enforced when vehicles are loading or unloading in the immediate vicinity of a loading or unloading area.

A driver moving a load under a special permit may not change the route. Exception: to avoid violating a local city traffic regulation, the driver may detour the route on nonresidential streets only and return to the route as soon as possible.

Penalties for Weight Restriction Violations

A driver who changes from the permitted route for an extralegal load, without a peace officer's authorization to do so, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

CHP Uniform Weight Standard

A standard for enforcing weight laws has been established by the CHP. The standard states, "Vehicles weighing in excess of the legal limits by 100 pounds or more shall not be permitted to proceed until the overload has been adjusted or removed."

In practice, CHP will allow for a 200 pound variation factor. After applying the variation factor, any vehicle exceeding the axle weight, axle group weight, or gross weight limits by 100 pounds or more will be issued a citation and required either to adjust the load to make it legal or obtain an overweight permit before proceeding.

Hazardous materials cargoes may be allowed to proceed unless unloading or load adjustment can be handled with reasonable safety to the driver and the public.

Livestock and field-loaded bulk perishable agricultural products destined for human consumption being transported from the field to the first point of processing have a special exemption. The vehicles transporting livestock and perishable agricultural products will be cited and allowed to proceed as long as the weight does not exceed legal limits by 1,000 pounds on any axle or axle group of a single truck, or 2,000 pounds gross weight on a combination of vehicles.

Permits

Transporting an oversize extralegal load without a permit is punishable by a $500 fine or six months in jail or both. Also, excess load penalties may be imposed.

It is against the law in California to drive or move, on any street or highway, any vehicle which is wider, higher, or heavier than the limits described here. Permits for oversized vehicles may be obtained from:

  • Caltrans–for state highways
  • The city or county–for city or county highways.

Motor Carrier Permits

Any person who operates any commercial motor vehicle either for hire or privately (not for hire) must obtain a motor carrier permit (MCP) (CVC §34620).

The MCP definition for a commercial motor vehicle is any:

  • Self-propelled vehicle listed in CVC §34500(a), (b), (f), (g), and (k).
  • Motor truck with two or more axles weighing more than 10,000 lbs. GVWR.
  • Other motor vehicle used to transport property for hire.

NOTE: An MCP commercial motor vehicle does not include vehicles operated by household goods carriers (PUC §5109), pickup trucks (CVC §471), or two-axle daily rental trucks (noncommercial use) weighing less than 26,001 lbs. gross.

To obtain MCP forms and information, go to www.dmv.ca.gov/mcs/mcs.htm or write or call:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Motor Carrier Services Branch MS G875
PO Box 932370
Sacramento, CA. 94232-3700
(916) 657-8153

Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)

Interstate or foreign motor carriers transporting property are required to obtain UCR, as outlined in the final regulations issued by the Federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005. UCR fees can be paid online at www.ucr.in.gov. To obtain UCR forms and information go to www.dmv.ca.gov/mcs/mcs.htm or write or call:

Department of Motor Vehicles
MCP MS G875
PO Box 932370
Sacramento, CA 94232-3700
(916) 657-8153

Speed Limits

The maximum speed limit in California is 55 miles per hour (mph) for the following listed vehicles (CVC §22406): a graphic of 55 mile per hour speed limit sign

  • Any truck or truck tractor having three or more axles.
  • Any vehicle pulling any other vehicle./li>
  • A school bus transporting any pupil.
  • A farm labor vehicle transporting passengers.
  • Any vehicle transporting explosives.
  • A trailer bus.

For all other vehicles, the maximum speed limit on most California highways is 65 mph. However, for two-lane undivided highways, the maximum speed limit is 55 mph, unless posted for a higher speed. On some highways the maximum speed limit is 70 mph, but only if there are signs posted showing 70 mph.

No person shall drive at such a slow speed as to impede or block normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or for compliance with the law, or when the size and weight of the vehicle or combination makes reduced speed unavoidable.

Right Lane Rule

Vehicles listed in CVC §22406 must be driven in the designated lane or lanes when signs are posted.

When no signs are posted, these vehicles must be driven in the right-hand traffic lane or as close as possible to the right edge or curb. On a divided highway with four or more traffic lanes in one direction, these vehicles may also be driven in the lane just to the left of the right-hand lane. When overtaking or passing another vehicle going in the same direction, drivers of such vehicles must use either: (1) the designated lane, (2) the lane just to the left of the right-hand lane, or (3) the right-hand traffic lane when such use is permitted.

Designated System Access

Designated System Access does not apply to a driver who is: (1) preparing for a left- or right-hand turn, (2) in the process of entering or exiting a highway, or (3) driving in a lane other than the right-hand lane "to continue on the intended route."

Buses, except school buses or trailer buses, may drive in any lane as long as they are not towing any other vehicle.

Movement off or onto the designated (freeways/highways) system by larger trucks is allowed only at interchanges or exits which have the following signs:

  • Movement is allowed along signed routes to reach terminals. Terminals are locations where: a graphic of the sign allowing movement along route to reach terminals
    • Freight is consolidated.
    • Full loads are off-loaded.
    • Vehicle combinations are regularly maintained, stored, or manufactured.
  • Movement is allowed up to one mile from the identified exits or entrances leading to or from specified highways to obtain: a graphic of the sign allowing movement up to one mile from the identified exits or entrances leading to or from specified highways
    • Food
    • Fuel
    • Lodging
    • Repairs

Slow Vehicle Rule

On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe, a slow-moving vehicle with five or more vehicles behind it must turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated by signs as a turnout, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, to let the following vehicles pass.

Hours of Service

You are required to comply with California's driver hours of service regulations when you are involved in INTRAstate commerce. You are considered to be involved in intrastate commerce when you do not:

  • Cross the state line.
  • Transport cargo which originated from another state.
  • Transport cargo destined outside of California.
  • Transport any hazardous substance or waste. (49 CFR 171.8)

Other Rules

You are required to comply with federal hours of service regulations when you are involved in INTERstate commerce. You are considered to be involved in interstate commerce when the cargo you transport:

  • Originates out of state.
  • Is destined out of state.
  • Consists of hazardous substances or wastes. (49 CFR 171.8)
  • Any combination of the above.

Driver’s Record of Duty Status

The California Highway Patrol is authorized to develop additional safety and driving regulations (CVC §§34501 and 34501.2).

A driver's record of duty status must be used to record all of the driver's hours. Drivers of commercial vehicles must be in compliance with the hours of service requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 49, §395.8 and the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 13, §§1201–1213.

A driver's record of duty status, in duplicate, must be kept by each driver and each co-driver while driving, on duty but not driving, or resting in a sleeper berth. The record of duty status must be presented for inspection immediately upon request by any authorized CHP employee, any regularly employed and salaried police officer, or deputy sheriff. There may be instances when you do not need to maintain a record of duty status.

Collision Reporting

Every driver involved in a collision which results in death, injury, or property damage over $750 must report the collision on a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (SR 1) to DMV. The report forms are available at www.dmv.ca.gov, or by calling 1-800-777-0133, or at CHP and DMV offices.

You (or your authorized representative) must submit the report within 10 days of the collision whether you caused the collision or not and even if the collision occurred on private property. This form is required in addition to any other report made to or by the police, CHP, or your insurance company if the collision resulted in any damage over $750 and/or an injury or death. If you do not report the collision to DMV, your driving privilege will be suspended.

NOTE: CDL holders may downgrade to a noncommercial license during any mandatory suspension period to be eligible to obtain a restricted license. All tests and fees will be required to upgrade when eligible.

California law states that you must notify your employer within five days if you have a collision while driving your employer's vehicle (CVC §16002). However, your employer may require you to notify him or her immediately.

Hours of Service
Condition Federal (Interstate commerce) California (Intrastate commerce)
Driving time You may not drive for more than 11 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty. You may not drive for more than 12 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
On duty time You may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 hours off duty. You may perform work, except for driving, after being on duty for 14 hours. You may not drive after having been on duty for 16 hours. You may perform work, except for driving, after being on duty for 16 hours.
Multiple day on duty time limitations You are not eligible to drive after having been on duty for 60 hours in a 7-day period. However, if a motor carrier has commercial motor vehicles operating 7 days a week, the driver is not eligible to drive after having been on duty for 70 hours in an 8-day period. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. You are not eligible to drive after having been on duty for 80 hours in any 8 consecutive day period or if transporting farm products after having been on duty 112 hours in any consecutive 8-day period.

For truck drivers, any period of 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours.

Off duty time

After driving for 11 hours or being on duty for 14 hours, you may not drive again until you have had 10 consecutive hours off duty.

Exception: If the truck is equipped with a sleeper berth, these 10 hours may be broken up into 2 periods provided one is not less than 8 hours.

After driving for 12 hours or being on duty for 16 hours, you may not drive again until you have had 10 consecutive hours off duty.

Exception: If the truck is equipped with a sleeper berth, these 10 hours may be broken up into 2 periods, provided one period is not less than 8 hours.

Adverse driving condition You may drive an additional 2 hours if you encounter adverse weather conditions which were not apparent at the start of the trip. You may drive an additional 2 hours if you encounter adverse weather conditions which were not apparent at the start of the trip.

Regardless of the adverse conditions, you are not allowed to drive for more than 14 hours or after having been on duty more than 16 hours.

Note: The changes to hours of service (HOS) rules do not affect bus drivers, at this time. For up-to-date HOS rules, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov or www.chp.ca.gov.

Financial Responsibility Requirements

Motor carriers of property. Most commercial vehicles transporting property are under the regulation of the Department of Motor Vehicles, whose liability and property damage requirements are listed below. The following limits do not apply to pickup trucks as defined in CVC §471 and two-axle daily rental trucks with a GVWR less than 26,001 pounds when operated in noncommercial use.

  • Transporting general freight exclusively in vehicles having a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less: $300,000 combined single limit.
  • Transporting general freight in vehicles having a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more: $750,000 combined single limit.
  • Transporting petroleum products in bulk on the highways: $500,000 for injury or death of one person, $1,000,000 for injury or death to two or more persons, $200,000 for damage to property, or $1,200,000 combined single limit.
  • Transporting oil, hazardous materials, or waste: combined single limit of $1,000,000.
  • Transporting hazardous substances, compressed gas, liquefied compressed gas in cargo tanks, portable tanks, or hopper-type vehicles with capacities in excess of 3,500 water gallons, or transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives, poison gas, or highway-route controlled quantities of radioactive materials: combined single limit of $5,000,000.

Information on transporting hazardous materials or wastes may be obtained from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the CHP.

NOTE: Not all coverage requirements are listed in this section. For questions related to liability insurance for motor carriers, call the DMV Motor Carrier Services Branch at (916) 657-8153.

Financial responsibility may be maintained by one of the following:

  • Certificate of Insurance (MC 65 M).
  • Surety bond (MC 55 M).
  • Certificate of Self Insurance Motor Carriers of Property (MC 131 M).

Motor carriers must maintain evidence of insurance on file during the active life of the permit. Whenever DMV determines that a motor carrier's Certificate of Insurance or surety bond has expired or been cancelled, DMV will suspend the MCP. To avoid MCP suspension, contact your insurance provider to submit valid liability coverage.

Proof of FR Before a Driving Test

Drivers must show evidence of financial responsibility prior to taking the driving test. Evidence is met if the vehicle displays exempt plates or is owned, leased by, or under the direction of, the United States Government.

A driver is disqualified from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) if convicted of any of the following offenses while operating either a COMMERCIAL or NONCOMMERCIAL motor vehicle (non-CMV):
Offense 1 st conviction or DUI test refusal in CMV 1 st conviction or DUI test refusal in non-CMV 1 st conviction or DUI test refusal in CMV transporting Hazmat 2 nd conviction or DUI test refusal in separate incident of any of these offenses in CMV 2 nd conviction or DUI test refusal in separate incident of any of these offenses in non-CMV
Under the influence of alcohol 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life
Under the influence of controlled substance 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life
BAC of 0.04% or higher while operating CMV 1 year Not applicable 3 years Life Not applicable
Refusing to take DUI test required by implied consent laws 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life
Leaving the scene of an accident 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life
Using vehicle in felony not involving a controlled substance 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life
Driving CMV while DL is revoked, suspended, or canceled or when disqualified from operating a CMV 1 year Not applicable 3 years Life Not applicable
Negligent operation of CMV causing a fatality 1 year Not applicable 3 years Life Not applicable
Using vehicle in felony involving a controlled substance Life Life Life Life Life
Synopsis of Table 1 Section 383.51 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration


A driver is disqualified from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) if convicted of any of the following SERIOUS offenses:
Offense 2nd conviction in separate incident within 3 years of anyof these offenses in a CMV 2nd conviction in separate incident within 3 years of any of these offenses in a non-CMV, if conviction results in revocation, cancellation, or suspension of all driving privileges 3rd or subsequent conviction in separate incident within 3 years of any of these offenses in a CMV 3rd or subsequent conviction in separate incident within 3 years of any of these offenses in a non-CMV, if conviction results in revocation, cancellation, or suspension of all driving privileges
Speeding 15 mph or more above the posted speed limit 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days
Reckless driving 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days
Making improper or erratic lane changes 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days
Following too closely 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days
Violating a traffic law which causes a fatal accident 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days
Driving CMV without obtaining a CDL 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable
Driving CMV without CDL in possession 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable
Driving CMV without proper class CDL and/or endorsements 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable
Synopsis Table 2 Section 383.51 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration


A driver is disqualified from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) if convicted of any of the following RAILROADHIGHWAY GRADE CROSSING offenses (either federal, state, or local):
Offense 1st Conviction 2nd conviction in separate incident within 3 years of any of these offenses 3rd or subsequent conviction inseparate incident within 3 years of any of these offenses
Fails to slow down to check for approaching train.

NOTE: Regulations may not require the driver to stop.

No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year
Fails to stop before reaching the crossing if tracks are not clear.

NOTE: Regulations may not require the driver to stop.

No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year
Fails to stop before crossing the tracks.

NOTE: Regulations require the driver to stop.

No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year
Fails to allow enough space to completely cross the tracks without stopping. No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year
Fails to obey traffic device or directions from a railroad crossing guard No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year
Cannot cross tracks because of insufficient undercarriage clearance No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year
Synopsis of Table 3 Section 383.51 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration


A driver is disqualified from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) if convicted of any of the following OUT-OFSERVICE orders:
Offense 1st conviction 2nd conviction in separate incident within 10 years of any of these offenses 3rd or subsequent conviction in separate incident within 10 years of any of these offenses
Violates a driver or vehicle out-of-service
order while transporting non-HazMat
No less than 90 days or more than 1 year No less than 1 year or more than 5 years No less than 3 years or more than 5 years
Violates a driver or vehicle out-of-service
order while transporting HazMat or 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
No less than 180 days or more than 2 years No less that 3 years or more than 5 years No less than 3 years or more than 5 years
Synopsis of Table 4 Section 383.51 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration


Table of Contents | Section 2: Driving Safely