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Auto Accident 11.02.2021

How Can I Know If The Pickup Truck That Hurt Me Is A Commercial Motor Vehicle?

The following untangles the confusion about meaning of a commercial motor vehicle by discussing several ways to determine whether the vehicle that hit you is considered a commercial vehicle.  A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is any vehicle used to transport goods or passengers for the profit of an individual or business. CMVs can include garbage trucks, pickup trucks, snow plow, salt truck, box trucks, semi-trucks, vans, coaches, buses, taxicabs, trailers, and travel trailers. However, to be subject to the federal motor carrier safety regulations, the commercial motor vehicle must fall into one of the criteria set forth in the regulations.

Generally, a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is one that is operated for commercial, or business, purposes. In contrast, a driver operating a vehicle for personal reasons is not consider commercial because it lacks the business purpose. Sometimes, the truck may have placards of the business or may be owned by a business, which would generally automatically make the pick-up truck a commercial vehicle, but not necessarily regulated by the stringent federal motor carrier safety regulations.

An ordinary pickup truck can be considered a commercial vehicle under the federal regulations even though it is not a semi-truck or big-rig truck under certain circumstances. The following criteria found in definition §390.5 of federal motor carrier safety regulations make the vehicle subject to the safety regulations:

  • The vehicle weighs 10,0001 or more pounds.
  • The vehicle has a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and/or the GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating) of 10,001 or more pounds.
  • The vehicle is designed to transport 16 people, including the driver, or more, but not for revenue.
  • The vehicle is designed to transport 8 people, including the driver, or more, but for revenue.
  • The vehicle will be transporting hazardous materials which require placards.

If the smaller vehicle meets one of the above criteria then all of the federal motor carrier safety regulations apply to the vehicle. If you have been injured by a commercial vehicle, call our experienced and skilled commercial vehicle lawyers for a free consultation to protect and pursue your legal rights.

What Is The Importance Of Commercial Vehicle Criteria For My Injury Claim?

Federally regulated commercial vehicles are required to have $1,000,000 in liability coverage in the event you are injured in an accident with a CMV. The additional benefits are the driver and vehicle will be required to have complied with the stringent federal motor carrier safety regulations.

Pick-up trucks that fall in the definition of CMVs under the federal safety regulations must be reflected on the FMCSA registration (MCS-150). The business is required to make sure both the driver and the vehicle meet all of the applicable safety regulations.

The vehicle and trailer attached are subject to these federal motor carrier safety regulations:

  • USDOT markings.
  • Driver Hour of service limits.
  • Cargo securement.
  • Stop at Weigh station for roadside inspections (depending on the state).
  • Annual vehicle inspections.
  • Daily pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspections.
  • Record keeping for repairs and preventative maintenance.
  • Equipment requirements.
  • Vehicle standards.

In addition, the driver of a vehicle regulated by the federal safety regulations, including a pickup truck, must have a complete driver’s qualification file. In addition, the business may be required to install an electronic logging device (ELD) in the vehicle, unless it qualifies for one of the exceptions. However, an exception to the ELD requirements may not remove all Hour of service requirements.

ELDs exceptions used for pickups may include:

  • Vehicles manufactured prior to model year 2000, which is when electronic control modules were not required.
  • Drivers qualify under who §395.1(e) such as intermittent or occasional drivers can continue to use paper logs instead of ELD, but no more than eight days within any 30-consecutive-day period.
  • Drivers claiming utility service vehicles and certain agricultural operations exceptions.

Don’t make the mistake of failing to analyze and determine the kind of vehicle that injured you because the federal safety regulations may be extremely important to your compensation settlement or verdict. Our experienced Michigan truck accident law firm will decide if the vehicles that hurt you and drivers are subject to the federal safety regulations. We don’t limit ourselves to the big rigs. Commercial motor vehicle come in a many shapes and sizes, and are used for variety of business activities, not just transporting freight. We always compare the vehicle or vehicle combination (vehicle and trailer together) against the definition of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in §390.5. Our law firm specializes in large heavy truck accidents and we know the purpose of the federal regulations are to protect you and guarantee insurance coverage for your injuries.


Our experienced Michigan truck, Car, bus, pedestrian, and motorcycle Accident Attorneys can quickly respond to an accident, gather necessary information, and preserve evidence in order to maximize your chances of recovering compensation. Don’t wait, and don’t compromise your own claim – contact us today to see how we can help you. We guarantee you will pay us nothing, unless we are able to settle your case or win a verdict. Our consultation is free.  Contact us now at 1-866-447-3653 to schedule your free truck accident case evaluation and consultation.

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The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm, P.C represents Michigan clients in a full range of personal injury matters. If you have been injured, contact us for a free consultation.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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