Dump trucks are heavy-duty vehicles that are not as big as tractor-trailers.
They stand somewhere in between medium-heavy trucks and heavy-duty trucks, which makes it difficult to understand when you need a CDL to drive a dump truck and when not.
So, If you plan to become a dump truck driver, you need to understand when you may need a CDL and when not. It also helps understanding the pros and cons of being a dump truck driver.
Finding the answer to this question is essential because it makes you more prepared for the road avoiding having possible issues with DOT.
Below, find a list of situation in when you might need a CDL to drive a dump truck.
These dump truck exemptions may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the operation.
Here are some examples of when dump trucks that might not require any CDL type:
1. Non-commercial use
In some regions, if a dump truck is being used for non-commercial purposes, such as on a private farm or property, it might be exempt from CDL requirements.
These exemptions acknowledge that the operation of the dump truck does not contribute to public roadway traffic and is limited to specific non-commercial activities.
- Farming operations
One exception to the CDL requirement for dump trucks involves farming operations.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drivers who operate a dump truck within 150 air miles of the farm or ranch where they are employed and who transport agricultural products or farm supplies for agricultural purposes do not need a CDL.
This exemption also applies to drivers who are transporting equipment that is used for agricultural purposes.
2. Private roads
Another example exemption of the CDL requirement for dump trucks involves driving on private roads.
Drivers who operate a dump truck exclusively on private roads are generally not required to have a CDL.
Private roads are not open to the public and are solely used for transporting goods or people within the property of the owner or lessee of the road.
3. Light-duty dump trucks
Different jurisdictions have varying weight limit regulations.
However, most often, if the GVWR of a light-duty dump truck falls below the weight threshold of 26,000 lbs and below then it can be exempt from CDL requirements.
This is because lighter trucks are considered more akin to regular vehicles in terms of operation and potential impact on road safety.
4. Intrastate operation
Some states have regulations that exempt certain vehicles from CDL requirements if they are only operated within the boundaries of that state.
This means that if a dump truck is used exclusively for intrastate transport, it might not need a CDL.
However, this exemption might not apply if the dump truck is involved in interstate commerce.
5. Personal use
The final example where the driver is exempt from holding a CDL involves personal use.
Personal use of a dump truck is considered when you own a dump truck and only use it for personal purposes such as hauling materials for home improvement projects.
However, it is essential to note that the definition of “personal use” can vary by state, so it is important to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to determine whether or not you need a CDL for your particular situation.
6. Recreational use
Dump trucks that are modified for recreational purposes such as off-road driving or other non-commercial activities might not require a CDL.
These vehicles are not typically used for commercial transportation and are subject to different regulations.
7. Dump trucks without air brakes
If the dump truck is not equipped with air brakes, the CDL requirement might be waived.
Typically, dump trucks that possess air brakes fall under the Class B or Class
A CDL category due to their increased complexity and the need for specialized training.
However, if a dump truck is designed with hydraulic brakes rather than air brakes, it might qualify for exemption from the CDL requirement.
This exemption is based on the understanding that hydraulic brake systems are generally considered simpler to operate than air brake systems, making them more akin to standard vehicles in terms of operation and control.
It's important to note that while this exemption might apply in some jurisdictions, regulations can vary significantly from one area to another.
As such, individuals should always verify the specific requirements within their local jurisdiction before assuming exemption from CDL regulations based solely on the absence of air brakes.
Class A CDL dump trucks
The largest and heaviest dump truck on the road must have class A CDL. Many are not even allowed to drive on regular roads to prevent destroying them.
These types of dump trucks have a GVWR of up to 80,000 lbs and more.
Class B CDL dump trucks
Class B dump trucks are smaller in size and weight capacity than Class A dump trucks but still require a CDL to operate.
Most often, these types of dump trucks have a GVWR weight limit between 26,001 and 33,000 lbs and are used to transport materials over shorter distances.
Class B CDL dump trucks are commonly used in landscaping and small construction sites.