Commercial truck drivers operate large, massive vehicles that often carry heavy goods and/or hazardous materials. Because these truck drivers share the road with smaller passenger cars, they’re held to a higher standard to obtain and maintain their commercial driver’s license (CDL). If a semi-truck driver is involved in a crash or commits a traffic offense, the driver could lose their CDL and be permanently disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle.  Trucker CDL licenses

Commercial Driver's License Qualifications

The operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) is regulated at both the state and federal levels. The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) set federal regulations, which are overseen by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

If the trucker who hit you had points on their license or wasn’t fully qualified to operate the commercial vehicle, it may be considered negligence in your truck crash case. Your attorney should investigate whether the truck driver in your accident violated any of the following:

General Requirements to Apply for a CDL

To qualify for a CLP, a driver must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older for an intrastate CLP (Massachusetts only)
  • Be 21 years of age or older for an interstate transport CLP
  • Hold a valid Class D license for the entire length of the commercial permit
  • Be a lawful, permanent resident of the U.S. with a valid Social Security number
  • Be a resident of Massachusetts
  • Be clear of outstanding obligations to any state
  • Not hold an out-of-state driving license
  • Be able to meet minimum CDL medical standards
  • Be able to pass all required exams and road tests for licensure

In addition, if a driver’s license or right to drive is suspended or revoked in any other jurisdiction, their Massachusetts CDL will be indefinitely revoked.

CDL Testing and Training Requirements

Before operating a commercial motor vehicle in Massachusetts, drivers must pass a general knowledge exam, skills test, or combination vehicle exam for the specific type of CDL:

  • Class A licenses are required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or greater, to include a towed vehicle heavier than 10,000 lbs. This applies to tractor-trailers, truck/trailer combinations, tankers, livestock carriers, and flatbeds.
  • Class B licenses are required to operate a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or heavier or any vehicle towing another vehicle weighing less than 10,000 lbs. This includes box trucks, straight trucks, dump trucks, large buses, and segmented buses.
  • Class C licenses are required when a vehicle does not meet the criteria for either a Class A or Class B license but is meant to transport 1) at least 16 passengers, including the driver, or 2) hazardous material (HAZMAT) meeting federal guidelines. These vehicles include passenger vans, small HAZMAT vehicles, and small trucks towing a trailer.
  • Endorsements are required for drivers of particular types of CMVs such as for a school bus (S), passenger transport (P), hazardous materials (X), tanks (N), double/triple trailers (T), or air brakes (L).

CDL Medical Requirements and Self-Certification

  • Pass the Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examination. Drivers must attend and pass a physical exam by a certified medical examiner. A medical examiner's certificates are valid for up to 2 years.
  • Have no disqualifying conditions. Drivers may not have medically disqualifying conditions such as vision loss, hearing loss, epilepsy, or diabetes with insulin use.
  • Verify self-certification. Under federal law, all CDL holders must inform the Registry of Motor Vehicles of their interstate or intrastate status and verify their medical certification.

A Driver Could Lose Their CDL After a Trucking Accident

A commercial driver could have their CDL suspended or revoked for certain violations, even if they weren’t operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense. It’s vital to have your attorney track down the trucker’s driving record to see if they had a history of:

  • Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Refusing a roadside breathalyzer test
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Using the vehicle to commit a crime
  • Driving a CMV when their CDL is revoked, expired, or suspended
  • Failing to qualify for a valid CDL
  • Causing fatal injury through negligent operation of a CMV
  • Driving a CMV negligently while carrying hazardous materials
  • Making serious traffic violations such as speeding, reckless driving, or tailgating

Contact a Massachusetts Trucking Accident Lawyer

If you were hurt in a semi-truck crash, we can help you receive the total compensation you need to recover. Please contact us online, or call 508-879-3500 to schedule a free case evaluation with the injury attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP. 


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