A commercial vehicle is any vehicle that is used for transporting goods and paying passengers. The state of Georgia has three main criteria for determining if a vehicle is commercial or not. These factors are:
- Transporting Passengers – The vehicle must be designed to transport 16 or more passengers to be considered commercial (and between 9 to 15 people if it is a payment service)
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) – The vehicle must have a gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more to be considered commercial
- Transporting Hazardous Materials – Vehicles must be designed to transport any type of hazardous material to be considered commercial.
Vehicles that meet any one of these factors can be considered for commercial use in the peach state. This includes both vehicles made and used for businesses and ordinary vehicles that people can buy and drive themselves.
What Are Some Examples of Commercial Vehicles?
There are many different types of vehicles that could be considered for commercial use. These include:
- Semi-trucks (or 18-wheelers)
- Box trucks
- Pickup trucks (if they meet the criteria)
- Delivery vans (or step vans)
- Cargo vans (or sprinters)
- Passenger vans
- Motor coaches
- Tow trucks
- Street sweepers
- Passenger trolleys
- Fire trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Passenger cars for Uber or Lyft (if they meet the criteria)
This is not a comprehensive list of all the vehicles that are considered commercial. However, this list gives a clear understanding of which types of vehicles are commercial and why they would be considered commercial.
What Are the Regulations for Commercial Vehicles?
There are regulations that need to be strictly followed along with meeting the criteria for what defines a vehicle for commercial use. This includes:
- Correct vehicle identification (name and US DOT number)
- Must have a medical exam certificate
- Not allowed to use a radar detector
- Must have fire extinguisher onboard
- Must have stopped vehicle warning devices (reflective triangles)
- Driver must perform a pre-trip written inspection
- Must not surpass hours of service limits
- Must keep track of time records
- Must have an annual mechanical vehicle inspection
- Must have the required brakes, lights, and reflectors for trailers
- Must perform a post-trip written inspection
These are not all of the regulations for commercial vehicles in Georgia. This list details the most important commercial vehicle regulations. Violating any of these regulations could result in stark punishments like jail time, hefty fines, and a suspension of your driver’s license.
What Are the DUI Laws for Commercial Vehicles?
Laws pertaining to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are much stricter for commercial vehicles. There are to be absolutely no open containers of alcoholic beverages anywhere in the vehicle. These laws do vary a bit when it comes to commercial vehicles transporting alcohol as their cargo.
Commercial vehicle drivers are not allowed to have any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood system. The drivers are not even allowed to have drank alcohol 4 hours before reporting to work. These DUI laws are more stringent due to the fact that usually commercial vehicles are much larger and much more powerful than regular cars, which means they can do a lot more harm and damage in the event of a collision. It is also because commercial vehicle drivers are on the clock for work.
Violating any of these DUI laws is cause for serious penalties. These punishments include being suspended from work, having the commercial vehicle impounded, having your driver’s license suspended, hefty fines, prison time, and being forced to attend a DUI education program.
Do You Need a Commercial Driver’s License?
Yes, you will need some form of a Commerical Driver’s License (CDL) in order to operate large, heavy, and commercial vehicles. CDLs are categorized into three different classes. These include:
- Class A – This is for a combination of vehicles with a gross weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds (semi-trucks and tankers would fall into this class).
- Class B – This is for any single vehicle that is not hitched to a trailer and has a gross weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds (box trucks and school buses would fall into this class).
- Class C – This is for any single vehicle that has a gross weight rating of fewer than 26,001 pounds or is towing another vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds (double/tripe trailers and tankers would fall into this class).
Not having some kind of CDL while operating a commercial vehicle is illegal and can get you into serious trouble. A CDL would not apply to your passenger car being used as an Uber, even though it would be considered a “commercial” vehicle. You can apply for a CDL at your local DMV office as long as you are 21 and older and follow their other guidelines.
What to Do in a Traffic Accident with a Commercial Vehicle
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is already consuming and stressful enough. Colliding with a commercial vehicle can make it all that much more emotionally taxing. However, you should treat it like you would any other type of traffic accident.
- Alerting the police and emergency services
- Going to the hospital for your wounds if need be
- Meeting up with the other driver to exchange info
- Determining who is at fault
- Contacting your auto insurance provider for coverage for vehicle damages
- Contacting your health insurance provider for coverage for medical costs
- Hiring a lawyer if it comes down to it
Commercial vehicle crashes are different than other types of accidents due to the sheer size, weight, and overall power of the commercial vehicle. It can be very dangerous to get hit by a semi-truck going 70mph. For these reasons, it would be wise to hire a commercial vehicle accident lawyer and/or a personal injury lawyer following the traffic accident.
Let Our Team Help You Seek Compensation
An attorney from Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you through the unmitigated disaster that is dealing with a commercial vehicle traffic accident. We can assist you with negotiating with your insurance companies to ensure that you receive the appropriate amount of payments in your coverage. We can secure financial compensation for your personal injuries and property damages, along with holding the at-fault driver of the commercial vehicle liable.
Contact us today, and you can receive a free evaluation of your case.