“I Don’t Really Have a Commercial Truck, Just a ‘Farm’ Truck …”

Andrew Smith
Sr. Assistant Director
Governmental Relations
A comment I hear most often when talking to farmers about their vehicles is “I don’t really have a commercial truck, it’s just a ‘farm’ truck”. With the majority of farmers only operating their trucks to haul their own products, the term “commercial” does confuse some.

For many vehicle regulations, especially those of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) such as Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), UCR and the USDOT Number, a farm truck is considered “commercial” generally based on its size. If it is over 10,000 pounds GVWR or a combination vehicle (truck & trailer) with a GCWR over 10,000 pounds, it’s commercial. A “farm” license plate does not determine the commercial or non-commercial status. Farmers that operate only in their home state, intrastate commerce, are exempt from most FMCSA regulations, however, once crossing the state line it does bring the need for added attention to what requirements they must follow.

For many years farmers have enjoyed an exemption from the CDL requirement when operating their trucks within 150 miles of their farm operating solely for intrastate purposes. In 2012 Congress passed the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21) which provides a number of exemptions to farmers doing business in and near their home state.

To learn about the MAP-21 Exemptions and requirements farmers should review check out two new handouts posted on the Governmental Relations Resource library here.

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