What Is Considered a Commercial Motor Vehicle?

Written by rob wagner
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  • Introduction

    What Is Considered a Commercial Motor Vehicle?

    The most recognisable commercial motor vehicle is typically a Class 7 or 8 big rig or tractor-trailer rig, commonly known as an 18-wheeler. This is used for hauling goods either locally or across the country, and requires a commercial driver's license to operate. Commercial vehicles fall into several other categories--including intracity delivery vans, coaches, buses, limousines and taxi cabs.

    (Kenworth, Amtrak, New York City)

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    Class 7 or 8 commercial vehicles can be identified by their cab-over-engine design, in which the driver sits above the front axle and engine, or the more popular conventional cab models that feature a long hood and sleeper accommodations toward the rear of the cab.

    The cab-over-engine cab fell out of favour in the 1990s when regulations permitted longer trucks. ()

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    Big Rigs

    Trucks are classified in categories 1 through 8, with Classes 7 and 8 identified as commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 11794kg.

    A Kenworth T800 long nose conventional cab big rig. ()

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    Passenger buses such as Greyhound or Amtrak coaches equipped to carry a minimum of nine passengers for fares are classified as commercial vehicles.

    Amtrak buses are commercial vehicles and drivers must possess a commercial driver's license. ()

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    Taxi cabs are commercial vehicles, which are licensed by local municipalities and subject to local and state safety laws.

    New York City cabs fall under the commercial vehicle category. ()

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    Small Business

    Plumbers' trucks, flower delivery vans, mobile auto repair trucks and similar vehicles are considered commercial vehicles but generally don't require a commercial driver's license.

    Delivery trucks are considered commercial vehicles, but do not require licensing. ()

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    Larger trailers or containers transported by big rigs fall under the commercial vehicle definition, but recreational or farm trailers do not.

    Class 7 and 8 commercial vehilces undergo rigorous inspections. ()

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