One of the first things that our team looks at when we are investigating a trucking accident is whether the vehicle qualifies as a “commercial motor vehicle.” Many times the at-fault vehicle is not aware that the operator should have a CDL and be registered with the DOT. For example, in Georgia, you must have a CDL to operate:
Any Single Vehicle With a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
- The GVWR of the vehicle is attached on a sticker, usually with the VIN number of the vehicle, typically found on the driver’s side door. If the vehicle is rated for 26,001 pounds or more, then registration with the DOT is required.
Any size vehicle which requires hazardous material placards or is carrying material listed as a select agent or toxin.
- This is something that comes up infrequently. We have done two cases involving the transportation of hazardous materials, and both times the companies had the required placards.
A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver)
- This regulation catches folks all the time. The key is whether the vehicle being operated at the time of the accident was designed to transport 16 or more persons. If the answer is “Yes,” then it is subject to DOT registration. Examples that we have encountered include limos, shuttle buses from an airport or hotel, and groups that charter a large van and have a member drive it, such as a church or sports organization.
A combination vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds
The important thing to note here is that it is the GVWR that counts, not what the vehicle actually weighs. Thus, there are many situations that arise where you can have a large pickup truck or SUV pulling a trailer in excess of 10,000 pounds that would make the operator subject to the regulations. For example, we have seen this come up with trucks pulling racecars to a racetrack (Road Atlanta is not too far from Atlanta) and trucks pulling a large boat or other watercraft.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident in the Atlanta area, contact James and his team for a free consultation from experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys. It’s imperative that you hire a trucking accident lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the various state and federal regulations.
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