CDL licenses and GVW?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Dirty Water, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794


    I've been looking at small dump trucks, The FreightLiner FL70's are pretty affordable so I've been keeping an eye on them.

    I do not have a CDL, its kinda a catch 22, as I'd like to get one, but in WA you have to take a skills test in a vehicle that requires a CDL...I guess I need to make friends with someone with a big truck.

    The owner of the pictured truck claims that you don't need a CDL to operate it, is this because of its GVW and the lack of airbrakes? Its a 6 speed manual.
  2. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 946

    I am in NJ, so I am not sure if this is across the board type thing. I believe that if the vehicle is under 26k or under GVW and does not have air brakes you will be alright. I currently do not have any trucks that require aa cdl. However, when I worked for my family they did. I do not have a cdl, so I could drive most of the trucks. The one's that I could not drive were those with air brakes and those that were over 26k GVW. I would check with your DMV.
  3. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    In Illinois, if you pull any trailer oveer 10k GVW, you'll need a cdl. If the vehicle gvw or the combo is over 26k, you'll need a cdl. And, if your gvw on the truck is over 10k, you'll need a cdl physical card.
  4. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,168

    SCL made the point but to add to that. The trucks that don't require a CDL to run also can't legal carry a load of any size. So empty you may be legal however put 5-6 yards of topsoil or gravel on one of these under 26K trucks and you are overweight and illegal. I have a 33K single axle. I am just legal with 6 yards of roadbase.
  5. janb

    janb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    nice sized truck I suggest you get a CDL so as not to reduce your truck choices, or to result in ticket. CDL's are also handy for picking up 'odd-jobs'. I have a few contractors, farmers, and freight guys who call me when they need a 'stand-in' driver.

    I think the idea of CDL is to have 'national standard', so rules and testing should be uniform - (school bus laws changed this year - to become National Standard, resulting in loss of cert for those of us who are not currently School Bus drivers, tho we can still drive passenger shuttles and coaches)

    fyi, when the regs changed to req CDL's (~1990?) I took my class A (combination CDL) in my 1 ton pickup (GVW 8500#)towing my Equip trailer (GVW 20,000#). The GCVWR of combo needs to be 26001+

    They allowed me to keep my air brake cert, by just running through the related questions and having me illustrate I knew how to adjust 'slack adjusters'... tho would have let me use their air brake unit for that portion (contract test company ' Test-U' - Vanc, WA) They also rent you a rig if needed. You can get your 'learners permit' as an option, and may need that to lease their rig.

    Hint- when you take the written test... skip questions you are unsure of. Computer just keeps asking you questions till you get required number correct. If you skip too many they may start repeating, but I think the guy told me there are 110 questions and you need 75 correct answers.

    driving test is very simple, (pre-trip inspection is toughest portion) just remember to get out and walk behind vehicle BEFORE backing, even if you just drove up to an empty parking lot (I missed that :realmad: ) also sound horn before backing. I recommend taking some passengers out on some 'pre-test' drives and you narrate your way through a sample driving test. I also explain all my moves to tester. "look left, right and left AGAIN", "checking mirrors", "car approaching on right" (blindside...)

    My wife and I took a 1week driver training course when working for FedEx. They taught the 'Smith System Inc' of defensive driving which has some significantly great pointers. They (Smith) have a video and training materials I highly recommend for employees and all drivers as a refresher. I asked my wife to make laminated reminder cards of the 'five points' to keep in the car and review. (Good for kids, required safety meetings...)

    The pointers are Trademarked, so I can't post, but they are simple to remember in invaluable to keep fresh in mind. They are second nature to those of us who drive alot, but a good reminder. Not everyone thinks 'proactively' while driving, and you want your employees and kids doing that !
    Basically, keep your eyes open and plan ahead

    another highly stressed point of FedEx was AVOID BACKING whenever possible. (majority of accidents) If you have multiple employees it is a good policy to REQUIRE a spotter when backing.

    I had my first backing 'damage' accident this year :blush: (maybe due to 32 years in the office job) Unfortunatley was in a nice KW dump while worrking for neighbor.
    I was trying to snake it and a 30' trailer, backing around a piping yard, (at 5am, (dark)) caught the front fender on a pipe sticking out of rack due to front end swing of 'set-back' axle. (I was watching mirrors...) Just a scrape, nothing broken. I will need to repaint when weather permits, but left him a few hundred dollar deposit payup till I get to it...guess I worked that day for free...
  6. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    In WA state, you need a CDL if your GCVWR exceeds 26,001 pounds. Then, you need an airbrake endorsement for any truck with air brakes which is just an additional written test. Janb pointed things out pretty well, sounds like you shouldn't have too many problems.
  7. turfquip

    turfquip LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    How about locating a FL 60 instead?

    A CDL is a good thing to have no doubt, but keep in mind with a class 6 you won't need one in most instances of light duty landscaping. I get by just fine with mine. Its the back bone of my company for sure. I just make sure I don't run heavy...ever.

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