Q: When Do I Need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
A: You will need a CDL if you drive a commercial motor vehicle. A commercial motor vehicle is:
- a single vehicle with a gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
- a trailer with a gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
- a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more occupants (including the driver) or a bus
- any vehicle that requires hazardous material placards
Q: What if I Drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle Without a CDL?
A: Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL is a crime in New York. You could incur a $5,000 fine or even go to jail.
Moreover, if you need a CDL, it is likely that driving is what you do to make a living. The last thing you want to do is lose your job over a traffic violation. Thus, make sure to have a CDL and do not play fast and loose with the rules.
Q: When am I Exempt from Getting a CDL?
A: Remember, not all large vehicles require a commercial license before being able to operate them. If you drive an RV for personal or family recreation, then you will not need a CDL.
The general rule of thumb is if you are not going to use the vehicle for a commercial use, then you do not likely need a CDL.
For example, military vehicles that are driven for military purposes, farm vehicles driven on farms by farmers, and emergency vehicles driven by emergency personnel do not require the driver to have a CDL.
Q: Are There Additional Requirements if I Drive a Bus?
A: Yes. Bus drivers owe their passengers a duty to protect their well-being. This means that you will be held to a higher standard of care under the law if you cause an accident.
Moreover, this means that your employer will have to do a few extra things before you will be allowed to drive a bus for them.
Q: Can I Have Both a CDL and a Regular NY License?
A: No. Under federal law, it is illegal for you to have more than one driver’s license (of any kind). Accordingly, you can only have a driver’s license from the state where you are a legal resident.
In other words, if you originally had a regular NY driver’s license and recently obtained a CDL, you must surrender your regular license. If you fail to do so, you could face a $5,000 fine or jail time.
Do not forget, all 50 states share information about CDL drivers with one another. If you have two licenses, they will find out.
Most importantly, your CDL lets you drive both regular vehicles and commercial vehicles in all fifty states. Therefore, you have absolutely no need to keep your old license. Make sure that you turn it over to the DMV when you get your CDL.
If you get a traffic ticket with a CDL license make sure to call Rosenblum Law at 1-888-883-5529