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FAQs

Please browse the frequently asked questions. If you are unable to find the answer to your question, please email your question to cmvinfo@state.mn.us or call the State Patrol Commercial Vehicle Section at 651-405-6196.

Where can I get a Minnesota Annual Inspection on my vehicle?
There are more than 8,000 certified inspectors located at various truck/bus dealerships and repair facilities located throughout the state.

How do I become certified to conduct Minnesota Annual Inspections?
To attain a certification to conduct Minnesota Annual Inspections, you must attend an eight-hour certification course. For course dates and details contact: Alexandria Technical College at 888-234-1222, Dakota County Technical College at 800-548-5502 or Minnesota Trucking Association at 651-646-7351.
 
What is meant by Interstate commerce?
Federal Regulation 49 CFR 390.5 defines it as any trade, traffic, or transportation in the United States:
• Between a place in a State and a place outside of such State including a place outside of the United States,
• Between two places in a State through another State or a place outside the United States, or
• Between two places in a State as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the State or United States.
 
What is meant by Intrastate commerce?
Federal Regulation 49 CFR 390.5 defines it as any trade, traffic, or transportation that occurs entirely within the boundaries of one state.
 
What are the different classes of Minnesota Drivers Licenses?
Class D is valid for: 
• single vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less;
• recreational vehicles;
• certain farm vehicles;
• towing vehicles, regardless of weight, provided the GVW of the combination does not exceed 26,000 pounds;
• towing vehicles up to 10,000 pounds GVW when the combination exceeds 26,000 pounds GVW.
Class C is valid for:
• all Class D vehicles requiring a hazardous materials, passenger, and/or school bus endorsement.
Class B is valid for:
• all Class C and Class D vehicles and all other single unit motor vehicles including buses with proper endorsements;
• may tow vehicles with a GVW up to 10,000 pounds.
Class A is valid for:
• any vehicle or combination of vehicles with proper endorsement(s).
 
What is a medical card or health card and how do I get one?
A medical card (health card) is issued by a medical facility after completion of a medical examination indicating physical qualification to operate a commercial motor vehicle.  Any medical facility that offers a DOT physical examination may issue a medical card on the form prescribed in 49 CFR, 391.43.
 
Who is required to have a medical card?

 A driver must be medically qualified and carry a medical card when operating:
• a commercial motor vehicle with a GVW 10,001 pounds or more;
• any size vehicle transporting hazardous materials requiring to be placarded;
• transportation of eight or more individuals including the driver for compensation;
• transportation of 15 or more individuals including the driver not for compensation. 

 When is a driver required to use a Log Book?
All drivers are required to keep and maintain a log book unless operating under the 100 air-mile radius exemption for drivers requiring a CDL or 150 air-mile radius exemption for drivers not requiring a CDL.

How must a driver operating a vehicle requiring a CDL track his hours if he does not travel in excess of 100 air mile radius from the normal work location?

When a driver operates and stays within a 100 air-mile radius of his normal reporting location, a logbook does not have to be maintained if ALL of the following requirements are met:
• The driver returns to his work reporting location and is released from the work within 12 consecutive hours;
• A property-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver has at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty separating each 12 hours on duty;
• A passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver has at least eight consecutive hours off-duty separating each 12 hours on duty;
• A property-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver does not exceed 11 hours maximum driving time following 10 hours off-duty; or
• A passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver does not exceed 10 hours maximum driving time following eight consecutive hours off-duty; and
• The carrier maintains true and accurate time records showing the time the driver starts work, is released from work, total number of hours worked, and for drivers used for the first time or intermittently, the total time worked during the preceding seven days.

 
How must a driver operating a vehicle not requiring a CDL track their hours if they do not travel in excess of 150 air mile radius from the normal work location?
The driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle that does not require a CDL for operation and who operate within a 150 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location is not required to maintain a logbook if all of the following requirements are met:
• The driver returns to their normal work reporting location at the end of each tour of duty;
• The driver does not exceed 11 hours maximum driving time following 10 consecutive hours off-duty;
• The driver does not drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty five days a week or after the 16th hour after coming on duty two days a week; and
• The employer maintains and retains accurate time records for a period of six months showing the time the duty period began, ended, and total hours on duty each day in place of RODS.
 
How many hours may a driver drive a commercial vehicle each day?
Property-Carrying drivers shall not drive:
• More than 11 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty, or
• For any period after the end of the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
Passenger-Carrying drivers shall not drive:
• More than 10 hours following eight consecutive hours off duty, or
• For any period after having been on duty 15 hours following eight consecutive hours off-duty.

What is considered On-Duty time?
On-duty time is all time spent driving, performing work, being ready to work, loading or unloading a vehicle, fueling a vehicle, etc., until relieved from duty by the motor carrier.  This would also include any compensated work for a person who is not a motor carrier. i.e. working another job other than driving.

What is considered Sleeper Berth time?
It is all time spent in the sleeper berth including but not limited to sleeping, eating, watching TV, or resting.

May Sleeper Berth time be recorded as Off-Duty time?
No.

What is meant by the terms 60-hour rule and 70-hour rule?
The 60-hour rule means a driver may not drive after having been on duty more than 60 hours in any seven consecutive days if the carrier does not operate every day of the week.  The 70-hour rule means a driver may not drive after having been on duty more than 70 hours in any eight consecutive days if the carrier operates every day of the week.  On duty time includes all compensated time working for a motor carrier and a non-motor carrier.

 
What is a 34-hour restart and who may use it?
The 34-hour restart is an hours of service rule allowing a driver to restart the calculation of on duty time for a period of seven consecutive days (60 hours) or eight consecutive days (70 hours) following any off duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours. This applies only to drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles.
 
What emergency equipment must be carried in a commercial motor vehicle?
Emergency equipment that must be carried in a commercial motor vehicle includes a properly charged, secured and readily accessible fire extinguisher. Generally, a minimum of a Type 5:BC fire extinguisher is required. Vehicles transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded must have a Type 10:BC fire extinguisher.
A set of three reflective triangles or flares, or six fusees are also required to be carried in a commercial motor vehicle and must be properly deployed in the event of a breakdown.
 
What markings are required to be displayed on a commercial motor vehicle?
Interstate carriers: The name and USDOT number of the motor carrier must be displayed on both sides of the power unit in a contrasting color, visible from a distance of 50 feet during daylight conditions while the vehicle is stationary.
Intrastate carriers: The name and USDOT number of the motor carrier must be displayed on both sides of the power unit in a contrasting color, visible from a distance of 50 feet during daylight conditions while the vehicle is stationary.
 
Who is required to obtain a USDOT number?
All interstate motor carriers operating any of the following vehicles must obtain a USDOT number:
• A vehicle or vehicle combination greater than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight,
• A vehicle of any size required to display hazardous materials placards,
• A vehicle designed or used to transport more than eight passengers, including the driver, for compensation,
• A vehicle designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, not for compensation.
All intrastate motor carriers operating a truck or truck-tractor having a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds must obtain a USDOT number. Effective August 1, 2011, USDOT numbers must be displayed on vehicles operated intrastate.
The requirement to obtain and display a USDOT number does not apply to a farm truck that is operated intrastate.

How do I obtain a USDOT number?
Interstate carriers may obtain a USDOT number by filing a Form MCS-150 Motor Carrier Identification Report and MCS-15A Safety Certification Application with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For more information or to request a USDOT number contact the FMCSA at 651-291-6150, or visit their website at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/.
Intrastate carriers may obtain a USDOT number by completing the Form MCS-150. You may contact the Minnesota Department of Public Safety at 651-297-2688 if you need further assistance.  
 
What is UCR and to whom does it apply?
UCR stands for Unified Carrier Registration. Under UCR, individuals and companies who operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate or international commerce must register their business with the State of Minnesota and pay an annual fee based on the size of their fleet.
 
How do I register for the UCR program?
As a Minnesota carrier, you are required to use Minnesota as your base state. In filing your UCR application, you have the following options:
• You may complete the Unified Carrier Registration application. A PDF version of the current year UCR application with instructions is available on the Internet at www.dot.state.mn.us/cvo/unifiedcarrier.html  or,
• You may drop off your application and payment at the Transportation Building, 395 John Ireland Boulevard, St. Paul; or use one of the computers available in the lobby area to file electronically and pay online, or
• You may register in the national UCR online system hosted by the Indiana Department of Revenue.  Go to www.ucr.in.gov and follow the step by step instructions.

When are daily vehicle inspections required?
Drivers must perform a vehicle inspection at the completion of the workday or shift noting any deficiencies on the daily vehicle inspection report (DVIR).  One copy of the DVIR is to be turned in to the carrier and one copy is to be maintained in the vehicle until the next vehicle inspection is completed.  Drivers must perform a vehicle inspection at the beginning of the workday or shift if a copy of the DVIR is not in the vehicle.  All vehicle defects must be repaired before the vehicle is dispatched.
 
What are the legal dimensions for a commercial motor vehicle in Minnesota?
Maximum Height:  13’ 6”
Maximum Width:     8’ 6”
Maximum Length:
Single unit vehicle:  45’
Trailer: 45’
Semi-Trailer: 53’
Two unit combinations: 75’
 
What are the basic weight limits on Minnesota highways?
Listed below are the weight limits for trunk highways in Minnesota. Local and county roads may be posted for lower weight limits.
Single Axle: 20,000 lbs.
Tandem Axle: 34,000 lbs.
Gross Weight: 80,000 lbs.
Single tire weight:
Lesser of:
• 600 lbs. per inch of tire width (steering axle)
• 500 lbs. per inch of tire width (all other axles), or
• Manufacturer’s load rating as indicated on the tire
All axle groups must be in compliance with the gross weight schedule.  Link to gross weight schedule
 
How may I obtain an oversize/overweight permit?
For state trunk highways, oversize/overweight permits may be obtained by contacting the Minnesota Department of Transportation permit office at 651-296-6000 or online at dot.state.mn.us/cvo/oversize/oversize.html.
 
Are trucks hauling gravel or sand required to be covered?
According to Minnesota statute 169.81, subd. 5, No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless such vehicle is so constructed, loaded, or the load securely covered as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing, or otherwise escaping therefrom.

Are all trailers required to have brakes?
All trailers with a gross weight of 3,000 or more must be equipped with brakes on all wheels.
All trailers that are required to have brakes must also be equipped with breakaway brakes.
 
What vehicles are required to have wheel flaps (mud flaps)?
All trucks and trailers, except rear-end dump farm trucks and military vehicles, must have wheel flaps above and behind the rearmost wheels.
 
What is the maximum ground clearance allowed for wheel flaps?
The maximum clearance measured from the ground to the wheel flap must not exceed 9 inches when the vehicle is empty. Bottom unloading vehicles, i.e. belly-dumps, must also be equipped with a center flap with a clearance not exceeding 6 inches when the vehicle is loaded.
 
Is there a lower threshold for DWI while driving a CMV?
Under the FMCSRs, no driver of a commercial motor vehicle greater than 10,000 pounds GVW shall use alcohol, be under the influence of alcohol, have any measured alcohol concentration or detected presence of alcohol, or be in possession while on duty, operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle.
Under both the FMCSRs and Minnesota Statutes, the driver of a commercial motor vehicle requiring a CDL cannot drive, operate or be in physical control of any commercial motor vehicle when the person’s alcohol concentration is 0.04 percent or more.  A driver convicted of operating a commercial motor vehicle requiring a CDL with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more is guilty of a misdemeanor.  In addition to paying fines and/or serving jail time, the driver will be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle requiring a CDL for a minimum of one year.
 
Can I be arrested for a DWI in my personal vehicle under the CMV .04 alcohol limit?
The CMV .04 limit only applies while operating a motor vehicle that requires the driver to have a CDL, commercial or non-commercial.  In Minnesota, the alcohol limit is .08 in your personal vehicle.  However, you may be arrested for impairment with a lower blood alcohol content (BAC).
 
May I consume or transport alcoholic beverages in a commercial vehicle?
No.  Alcoholic beverages may only be transported in a commercial motor vehicle as part of a manifested load.   
 
May I tow a trailer behind my towed camper?
This combination of vehicles is referred to as a recreational vehicle combination and must meet these requirements.
Recreational vehicle combination includes:
• A full size pickup truck or recreational truck tractor.
• A middle vehicle attached by means of a 5th wheel and kingpin assembly.
• A trailer carrying only watercraft, snowmobiles, ATVs, motorcycles, motorized bicycles, golf carts, or equestrian supplies and equipment.
Limitations that apply to this combination are:
• The combination does not consist of more than three vehicles.
• The towing rating of the truck is equal to or greater than the total weight of all vehicles being towed.
• The combination does not exceed 70 feet in length.
• The operator must be 18 years of age.
• No operation in the seven-county metro area 6-9 am and 4-7 pm Monday thru Friday.


Is window tint allowed on commercial motor vehicles? 
Per 49 CFR, 393.60(d), windshields and side windows may be tinted provided light transmittance is not reduced to less than 70 percent.

I have received an inspection report with a violation I believe is listed in error. How can I challenge this violation?
Everyone has a right to due process. The FMCSA provides the DataQs website for this purpose. Go to http://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov to enter your challenge. It will be directed to the appropriate state agency for follow up. The DataQs information is also printed on your inspection report.