florida commercial vehicle definition

Florida Commercial Vehicle Definition Explained

Do you have a business in Florida that uses motor vehicles for commercial transportation? Having an understanding of the Florida commercial vehicle definition is important in ensuring compliance and managing your companies risk.

Let’s face it; Florida is full of commercial vehicles of a wide variety sizes that make up a large part of the vehicular traffic in the state. 

Here’s the problem – most Florida business owners aren’t aware that the vehicles used in their business are not only regulated by the state, but may also be regulated under Federal Motor Carrier Safety rules

This means that many businesses that have transportation operations struggle with DOT Compliance simply because they didn’t know the requirements in the first place. 

Do you have a local business? This includes businesses that use commercial vehicles exclusively in intrastate commerce or entirely within the state of Florida.

Florida Commercial Vehicle Definition

Below is the definition from Florida Statute 316.003 that has been edited for length. If you’re involved in motorsports, have a corporate sponsorship or want to read the whole rule, follow this link.

The Florida CMV definition follows the federal definition of a commercial vehicle pretty close but does have some important differences. 

truck with intermodal container hauling hazmat

Why Does The Florida CMV Definition Matter?

Because Florida has adopted many of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for commercial transportation, the state’s definition of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) matters significantly. This is because the CMV definition will determine how many of the FMCSRs will apply to your business operations within Florida.

If your business operates vehicles that fit into the definition above, they will be considered a commercial motor vehicle in the state of Florida.

Do D.O.T. Rules Apply To Florida Commercial Vehicles?

Yes. Florida has adopted the FMCRs in 49 CFR. How many of them apply to you will depend on the size of your vehicles and type of operation. 

If you’re saying to yourself “I didn’t see anything about this in the rule above” you would be correct, it’s not listed. 

The breakdown for how the federal rules are applied to Florida commercial vehicles is found in a separate statute (FS 316.302). This state law specifies that once you meet the definition of a commercial defined above, specific parts of the FMCSRs will be applied to you.

Owners and drivers of commercial vehicles are required to comply with 49 CFR parts 382, 383, 385, 386 and 390-397. These parts are defined as:

382 – Drug and Alcohol

383 – CDL requirements

385 – Safety Fitness Procedures

386 – Proceedings

390 – Applicability

391 – Driver Qualification

392 – Driving of CMVs

393 – Parts and Accessories

395 – Hours of Service

396 – Inspection and Maintenance

397 – Hazmat

That being said, there are questions about your operations that you need to be able to answer so that you know which of the 49 CFR parts listed above will apply to your operations. 

Here are some questions you should be able to answer about your business:

  • Are you in interstate or intrastate commerce?
  • What is the gross vehicle weight rating and/or gross combination weight rating of your company’s vehicles?
  • Do you transport hazardous materials that require placarding per 49 CFR 172.500 of the hazardous materials regulations?

Florida Commercial Vehicle Examples

Here’s a few examples of the types of commercial vehicle transportation operations in Florida and how DOT (or FMCRs) would be applied to them. 

Business 1

Business one transports intermodal containers and operates vehicles that have a gvwr and/or gcwr over 26,001lbs in interstate commerce, which includes furthering an interstate move of product. 49 CFR parts 382, 383, 385, 386 and 390-397 Will apply (everything). 

Business 2

Business two is a local landscaper (no hazmat) with a pickup truck and trailer that has a gvwr and/or gcwr of 14,000lbs that operates entirely in the state of Florida (intrastate). This vehicle must comply with 49 CFR parts 382, 392, 393, 396.3(a)(1) and 396.9.

Business 3

Business three is a Florida trucking company that moves freight entirely within the state of Florida (intrastate) and operates vehicles 26,001lbs gvwr and/or gcwr. 49 CFR parts 382, 383, 385, 386 and 390-397 Will apply

Are Forestry Trucks Exempt in Florida?

No. Forestry trucks operating entirely in the state of Florida must comply with 49 CFR parts 382, 392, 393, 396.3(a)(1) and 396.9 per FS 316.002.

If the vehicle is over 26,001lbs or has three axles regardless of weight, they must display the name of the vehicle owner or motor carrier and the town their based out of on each side of the motor vehicle. 

What’s Next?

Do you have a business in Florida that uses vehicles and you’re confused about the Florida commercial vehicle definition and you need some help? Drop us a line or give us a call! We’d be happy to help assess your needs and get you DOT compliant with an audit or training. 

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