Trailers and CDL's

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by TREEGODFATHER, May 31, 2004.


    TREEGODFATHER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    Started in another thread, felt it merited its' own:

    Originally posted by DFelix, quoting myself:

    You do realize that any trailer with a GVWR over 10,001# requires a Class A CDL, right?


    No, it doesn't.

    Here in Indiana, the CDL manual states that (going from memory here, but I'm right) any combination of truck and trailer with a GCVWR of 26,001 pounds requires a Class A CDL- PROVIDED that the trailer wieght rating is 10,001 pounds or more.

    Simply put, I could pull an 18,000 pound trailer with my 1/2 ton truck and be legal without a Class A. I CANNOT pull a 12,000 pound trailer with an F-450 or F-550 and be legal though.

    If it's being used for commercial purposes, you need a DOT number, and if you need a DOT number you also probably need (in Indiana, at least) a Chauffer's license, unless you are up in the CDL range.

    Just because the trailer is rated 10,001 or more pounds doesn't make it necessary to have a CDL. I pull a 12,000 pound trailer on a daily basis behind an F-350 and I'm legal without a CDL....

    This may, and probably does, vary by state.


    TREEGODFATHER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    According to my MASS CDL book,

    The only license class that allows towing a vehicle over 10,001# is a class A.

    Class B and C both specify a towed vehicle UNDER 10,000.

    The CDL laws supposed to be the same for all 50 states; it was the reason they came out with the systen in the first place,- to make it universal.

    Oddly though, it doesn't specify anything for a class D. That may be where your F350 and trailer come in?

    BTW, with your example, you'd still be illegal.

    You said "Simply put, I could pull an 18,000 pound trailer with my 1/2 ton truck and be legal without a Class A. "

    Remember your 1/2 ton has a rating, too. You'd be far exceeding any 1/2 ton's GCWR, and hence in violation of DOT regs.

    I guess this could be the start of another thread?

    TREEGODFATHER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    I spoke with Sgt. Kelley at the Brookfield Sate Police barracks (curiousity at work).

    (Speaking relative to MA law...)
    According to him, it does indeed require a CDL. The fact that it's not specifically excluded from the lower class D doesn't mean it's allowed, by nature of it being specified elsewhere in the rules. The only license class that specifically does allow towing a trailer in excess of 10,00 pounds is a class A CDL.

    Since there may well be some variance from state to state, despite the supposedly universal CDL rules, I'd like to see other site members pose this question to their respective DMV's/etc and see what they have to say, for the benefit of other site members.
  4. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I don't have the book at home, but I'll try to remember to grab it at work tommorow and quote directly from it. As I read it and understand it, what I wrote earlier is the case in Indiana.

    Here, we have CDL Class A, B, and C. No D. IIRC, Class A is for truck and trailer combinations exceeding 26,000 pounds, provided the trailer is rated above 10,000 pounds. Class B is for trucks exceeding 26,000 pounds, with no trailer, or trailers 10,000 pounds or less. Again, IIRC, a Class C is for a passenger-type vehicle carrying enough haz-mat to warrant placarding.

    There is also a public-passenger chauffer's license, as well as a regular chauffer's license (which I hold). All the above licenses require a DOT physical, a standard operators license does not.

    All this being said, it does not matter what the GVWR is, if it has air brakes, you need a CDL, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are for vehicles registered as farm equipment, and for emergency vehicles (fire trucks). Those are specifically granted exceptions by state law.

    Whew. I'll try to remember to find the CDL manual tommorow.

    Oh, and around here, I doubt the state boys know what's what. We have to really worry about the Motor Carrier cops. They are the ones that can pull you over for no reason and ruin your day! And the DMV/BMV has no clue. They can't even give licenses to legals, let alone keep the laws straight!


    TREEGODFATHER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    By comparison:

    Air brakes here is a restriction, not an endorsement. So, as long as the vehicle doesn't require a CDL otherwise, the air brakes are irrelevant.


    My short bucket truck, the 47 footer, has a GVWR of 20,000 pounds. It has air brakes. You can drive that with a class D, as long as you don't have the "vehicles without air brakes" restriction.

    However, if it weighed OVER 26,000#, you'd need at least a class B cdl without the air brake restriction. If you get your CDL on a vehicle without air brakes, you'll have the restriction.

    (note: I'm referring to true air brakes, not air-assisted hydrualic brakes.)
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    Florida I have a Class D license good for 26,000 GVW. No CDL required and only a written (computer) test.

    F 350 has 12,500 GVW therefore it can haul a 13,500 GVW trailer. However the trailer can only be 35 feet long.

    Now Class E license which is the standard Drivers License is good only to 8,000 GVW. This means you should have a Class D to drive a 3/4 ton pick up. F 650 is still a class D but F 750 is a class C CDL license.

    TREEGODFATHER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    Ric, what's FL say about air brakes?
  8. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    Air Brakes you must have an endorsement. Now we have a F 9000 with a 24 ft flat bed and donkey fork lift piggy back. Class B CDL with air brakes is necessary to drive it. I have a partner in the sod business and he has the Class B with air brakes endorsement. Because he does not have the class A CDL license he can only pull a 20 ft trailer. However because of the Piggy back the truck can not pull a trailer. Yes the donkey forklift is just a little small for wet bahia sod but it handles St Augustine ok.

    TREEGODFATHER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203


    Any other states?

    C'mon guys, have some fun.
  10. FosterLawnscaping

    FosterLawnscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    I have my class A which is combination over 26,000 pulling over 10,000 trailer. In PA you can drive a truck with air brakes as long as the truck is registered 26,000 or below. From what I understand anyone can pull a trailer over 10,000 pounds as long as the GCVW of the truck and trailer is under 26,000 pounds.

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