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Truck Driver's Guidebook

Definitions
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Part 390
& Michigan Vehicle Code

Table of Contents

Some of the following definitions may be incomplete or rephrased. Please refer to the actual rules for complete definitions.

Agricultural operation
FMCSR 395.3

The transportation of agricultural commodities or farm supplies in a state, if such transportation is limited to an area within a 100-air mile radius from the source of the commodities or the distribution point for the farm supplies and is conducted during the planting and harvesting seasons within such state, as determined by the state

Bus
FMCSR 390.5
Any motor vehicle designed, constructed and/or used for the transportation of passengers, including taxicabs

MVC 257.4b
A motor vehicle designed for carrying 16 or more passengers, including the driver. "Bus" does not include a school bus.

Chauffeur
MVC 257.6

  • A person who is employed for the principal purpose of operating a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more; or

  • A person who operates a pupil transportation vehicle used for the regularly scheduled transportation of pupils between school and home, or a person who operates a bus or school bus; or

  • A person who operates a taxi or limousine

NOTE: Michigan law considers someone to be employed for the "principal purpose" of operating a motor vehicle "when the person's employment customarily involves the necessary use of a motor vehicle for hire, for transporting passengers for hire or when transporting any merchandise for display, sale or delivery.

Commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
Michigan Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1963

Any self-propelled or towed vehicle used on public highways to transport passengers or property and:

  • Has either a gross vehicle weight rating or actual gross weight or gross combination weight rating or an actual gross combination weight of 10,001 or more pounds; or
  • Is designed for carrying 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or
  • Is used in the transportation of hazardous materials in a quantity that requires the vehicle to be placarded pursuant to 49 CFR, parts 100 to 180

Commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
FMCSR 390.5
Any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle:

  • Has either a gross vehicle weight rating or actual gross weight or gross combination weight rating or an actual gross combination weight of 4,536 kg (10,001 lbs.) or more, whichever is greater; or
  • Is designed or used to transport more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
  • Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 USC 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C

Commercial motor vehicle driver
FMCSR 390.5
A person who operates a commercial motor vehicle

Elected Gross Weight
MVC 257.13a

The empty weight of a vehicle or combination of vehicles, fully equipped for service, plus the weight of the maximum load which the owner has chosen to carry on such vehicle or combination of vehicles

Empty Weight
MVC 257.13b

Empty weight means the shipping weight of a vehicle as furnished by the manufacturer or a scale weight taken from a weight receipt furnished by the weighmaster operating scales approved and sealed by the State Department of Agriculture.

NOTE: For commercial vehicles, empty weight shall also mean fully equipped for the use for which the vehicle is intended.

Farmer
FMCSR 390.5
Any person who operates a farm or is directly involved in the cultivation of land, crops or livestock which are owned or directly controlled by that person

Farm vehicle driver
FMCSR 390.5

A person who drives only a motor vehicle that is:

  • Controlled and operated by a farmer as a private motor carrier of property, within 150 air miles of the farm, and transporting either agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies to or from a farm; and
  • Not being used in the operation of a for-hire motor carrier; and
  • Not carrying hazardous materials of a type or quantity that requires the vehicle to be placarded

Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)
FMCSR 390.5

The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the power unit plus the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle(s) or trailer(s) being towed

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
FMCSR 390.5

The value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle

Gross Weight
MVC 257.19
The weight of a vehicle without load plus the weight of any load thereon

Implement of husbandry
MVC 257.21
A vehicle which is either a farm tractor, a vehicle designed to be drawn by a farm tractor or an animal, a vehicle which directly harvests farm products, or a vehicle which directly applies fertilizer, spray or seeds to a farm field

Interstate commerce
FMCSR 390.5

  • Trade, traffic or transportation in the United States between a place in the state and a place outside of such state (including outside of the United States); or
  • Between two places in a state through another state or a place outside of the United States; or
  • Between two places in a state as part of trade, traffic or transportation originating or terminating outside the state or the United States

Intrastate commerce
FMCSR 390.5
Any trade, traffic or transportation in any state which is not described in the term "interstate commerce"

Medical examiner's certificate (Medical Card)
FMCSR 391.43
A document issued by a medical examiner to a commercial motor vehicle driver certifying the driver is medically qualified under state and/or federal standards to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Note: The certificate or a copy must be carried by the driver when operating a commercial motor vehicle, and the employer is required to keep either the original or a copy in the driver's qualification file.

Medical waivers
Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1963

Michigan intrastate drivers only

Physical Defect Waiver - Issued to a commercial motor vehicle driver who, because of a medical reason, would otherwise not be qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle

Grandfather Rights Waiver - Issued to a commercial motor vehicle driver who:

  • Has been a regularly employed driver of the same motor carrier continuously since before June 10, 1984; and
  • Has continued to be a regularly employed driver of that motor carrier; and
  • Is otherwise qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle

For waiver applications, contact the Motor Carrier Division at (517) 336-6416.

Michigan Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1963
Act 181 of 1963

An act to promote safety upon the public highways by regulating commercial motor vehicles and the operators of those vehicles

Private motor carrier of passengers
FMCSR 390.5

Business: A private motor carrier engaged in the transportation of passengers which is provided in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise and is not available to the public at large

Nonbusiness: A private motor carrier involved in the transportation of passengers who does not otherwise meet the definition of a private motor carrier of passengers (business)

Spacing between axles
MVC 257.61

The distance from axle center to axle center

Special mobile equipment
MVC 257.62
Every vehicle not designed or used primarily for the transportation of persons or property and incidentally operated or moved over the highways, including farm tractors, road construction or maintenance machinery, mobile office trailers, mobile tool sheds, trailers for housing stationary construction equipment, ditch-digging apparatus, well-boring and well-serving apparatus

Tandem axle
MVC 256.67
Two axles spaced more than 3 feet, six inches apart and less than 9 feet apart

Tandem axle assembly: Tank Vehicle
MVC 257.67a

Refers to two axles spaced more than 3 feet, six inches apart and less than 9 feet apart with one axle in front of the other and so attached to the vehicles wherein an attempt is made by connecting the mechanism to distribute the weight equally between the two axles

A Tank Vehicle means any CMV (as defined in 257.7a) that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous material within a tank that is permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle. It does not include a portable tank having a rated capacity of less than 1000 gallons.

Table of Contents

Due to frequent changes in federal and state regulations, the Michigan Center for Truck Safety cannot ensure the accuracy of the material contained in the Guidebook beyond the date of publication. For current information, contact the Center at (800) 682-4682. This document is not intended for legal purposes.

   

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