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Frequently Asked Questions

The consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages in a house car is allowed if the consumption or possession occurs in the area of the house car used as sleeping or living quarters and that area is separated from the driving compartment by a solid partition, door, curtain, or some similar means of separation; however, consumption is not authorized while the house car is in motion.

Actual physical control is being in immediate control or having the ability to operate the motor vehicle while being under the influence or having a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more.

The "per se" alcohol concentration in North Dakota is 0.08 percent.  For drivers operating a commercial vehicle, the alcohol concentration is 0.04 percent, and for operators under 21 years of age, the alcohol concentration is 0.02 percent.  Even if someone is operating a vehicle with lower alcohol concentrations than those listed, that person may be charged with DUI if they are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to a degree which renders them incapable of safely driving.  (Reference NDCC 39-08-01.)

Troopers use several different tests on suspected impaired drivers. They consist of two parts: (1) roadside tests and (2) tests done after the arrest. Roadside tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand test. A preliminary breath test is also used to screen suspected impaired drivers prior to arrest. After an arrest is made, an impaired driver will be asked to submit to a chemical test which will be used to determine his or her blood alcohol content (BAC). For a chemical test, troopers collect breath, blood, and/or urine samples.

Yes - If someone refuses to submit to an on-site screening test or a chemical test, their driving privileges may be revoked for up to four years.  Under North Dakota's implied consent law, anyone who operates a motor vehicle is deemed to have given consent to a chemical test.  (Reference NDCC Chapter 39-20.)

A first or second offense for driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs in a seven-year period is a class B misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 30 days imprisonment and/or $1,500 fine. A third offense in a seven-year period is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and/or $3,000 fine. A fourth or subsequent offense regardless of the time since the previous offense is a class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine.

No.  If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you are not eligible for a work permit.

Interstate:  Operations originating in one state and ending in another including the return trip.
Intrastate:  Operations that originate and end in the same state.

Yes, but you must meet the definition of an intrastate driver to take advantage of these exemptions.  NDCC 39-32-02, 39-06.2, and 39-06-14 all provide some type of exemption.

  1. Vehicles less than 26,000 lbs GVWR that are not carrying placarded amounts of HAZMAT nor designed to carry 15 or more passengers (including the driver) are exempt from all federal requirements.
  2. Following 10 hours off duty a driver may drive 12 hours, and a driver may be on duty a total of 70 hours in seven days.
  3. A driver is exempt from maintaining a log book if the operation is within 150 air miles of the normal work reporting location and at least 10 hours off duty separate each 12 hours on duty, and the motor carrier maintains time records for a period of six months.
  4. A driver, 18 years of age, with a valid, proper class license may operate a commercial vehicle in intrastate commerce for agricultural purposes if the transportation is limited to an area within a 100 air mile radius of the source of the commodities or distribution point for the farm supplies.
  5. Farm vehicle drivers operating within a 150 air mile radius of their farm are exempt from CDL requirements, medical certificates, log books, and vehicle inspection records.  NOTE: The CDL exemption does not allow the operation of double or triple trailers or the operation of truck/tractors by drivers under the age of 18.
  6. The transportation of hazardous materials, other than class 2, that are ag products transported by a farmer over local roads between fields of the same farm are exempted from HAZMAT regulations.  A farmer is exempt from training and emergency response information when transporting agricultural class 2 hazardous materials within 150 miles of the farm as long as the quantity is less than 16,094 pounds for ammonium nitrate fertilizer, 502 gallons for liquids, or 5,070 pounds for all other hazardous materials.

Effective January 3, 2012, certain Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers are restricted from holding a mobile telephone to conduct voice communication and dialing a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button.  Hands-free use is allowed via either an earpiece or speakerphone function.

The new rule applies to drivers of all CMVs in interstate commerce (operating across state lines), drivers of CMVs over 26,000 pounds in intrastate commerce (operating within ND), and all drivers of CMVs transporting a quantity of hazardous material that requires placarding.

In September 2010 FMCSA issued a regulation banning text messaging while operating a commercial truck or bus and PHMSA released a companion regulation in February 2011 banning texting by intrastate hazardous materials drivers.  Texting is also prohibited for all drivers in North Dakota.

Research commissioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event such as a crash, near-crash, or unintentional lane deviation is six times greater for CMV drivers who engage in dialing a mobile telephone while driving.

View FMCSA's Final Rule or the Mobile Telephone FAQ in reference to CMV cell phone regulations for more information.

Saskatchewan or Manitoba farmers hauling their own farm product on farm registered license plates in an interstate operation are exempt from trip permits, but a fuel permit is required.  A fuel permit is $15 and valid for 72 hours or when the vehicle leaves the state, whichever occurs first.  Fuel permits may be purchased online.

Manitoba farmers hauling or gainfully employed intrastate within 20 miles of the border are exempt from registration but would need a fuel permit.

  • DOT registration and United Carrier Registration (UCR).
  • Name and DOT number displayed on both sides of the truck.
  • Drug and alcohol testing when driving a semi tractor trailer (straight trucks or straight trucks pulling a pup are exempt).
  • Within 150 miles of the origin (farm) a log book is not required for a loaded truck hauling farm products.  An empty truck on return would be required to have a log book. 
  • Annual inspection of the vehicle.

No, state law does not provide for a split sleeper berth option other than the federally adopted 10 hour split sleeper berth option.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Part 390.5 defines a farmer as "any person who operates a farm or is directly involved in the cultivation of land, crops, or livestock which are owned by that person or are under the direct control of that person."

This exemption applies to farmers from adjoining states if there is a reciprocity agreement.  North Dakota has reciprocity agreements for farm Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDL) exemptions with South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, and Wyoming when within 150 miles of the farm.

It depends on which area of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR Title 49, Transportation) that is being discussed.  The exemption in Part 383.3 related to commercial driver's licenses is 150 miles. The exemptions in Part 395.1 related to log books is 100 air miles.  The intrastate exemptions for farm operations in North Dakota (CDL requirements, medical certificates, log books, and vehicle inspection records) are 150 air miles (reference NDCC 39-06.2-17).

The exemptions apply specifically to the farm where you are operating from.

Yes, drivers must have a CDL with endorsements to haul doubles/triple trailers in North Dakota.  The federal regulations which allow a farmer to operate within 150 miles of their farm without having a CDL do not restrict the pulling of doubles/triple trailers; however, the regulations do require that you operate in your state unless your state has a reciprocity agreement.

North Dakota and South Dakota have a reciprocity agreement which states that ND will recognize a SD farm vehicle operator; however, the SD operator has to abide by the same laws as ND farmers.  Therefore, a SD farm vehicle operator can haul doubles/triple trailers in SD, but they can’t do it in ND unless they are properly licensed.

The federal regulations show two different exemptions in Part 395:  (1) an agriculture exemption, and (2) a 100 air mile exemption. The main difference is that with the 100 air mile exemption the carrier must maintain time records and the property carrying driver can only work 12 hours with 10 hours separating each 12 hour shift; it doesn't matter what type property they are carrying.  With the agriculture exemption, there are no time record keeping requirements, but they must be carrying agricultural products.

If you are employed by a farmer you can operate under the farm exemption.  However, if you are employed by a custom combiner you have to have a CDL.  There is a restricted CDL that you can obtain based on custom combine work.   While there are no knowledge or skills test for a restricted CDL, there are many other limitations.  49 CFR 383.3(f) outlines the limitations.

A person meeting the definition of farm vehicle driver who operates a straight truck does not require a medical card.  A farm vehicle driver operating an articulated farm vehicle in interstate commerce requires a medical card at all times. A farm vehicle driver operating a farm vehicle (straight or articulated) in intrastate operations within 150 air miles of the farm does not need a medical card.

Note: Custom harvest operations do not meet the farm vehicle driver definitions, but custom harvest vehicle drivers are exempt from the medical card requirements when transporting machinery, supplies, crops, etc. Further info on medical cards can be found in Part 391.

Medical certificates are obtained from a medical facility where physicals are completed. When scheduling your physical be sure to let them know that you require a DOT physical.  Once the physical is complete, double check to ensure that an expiration date was entered on the certificate.

Yes, having a medical certificate is part of the driver qualifications (Part 391) not the CDL requirements (Part 383) so you have to have a medical certificate in your possession to operate a CMV.

The ND Department of Transportation's Drivers License Division may have a requirement that you take a test in a vehicle with a shoulder belt, but you can operate a semi with just a lap belt if that is how the vehicle was originally manufactured.

Normally you are required to carry the previous seven consecutive days, and your record of duty status must be current to the time shown for the last change of duty status.  But, you are not required to have log pages in your possession for days where you meet a qualification for exemption such as 100 air miles or agriculture (reference Part 395.8).

Once you enter the United States, you must meet the U.S. DOT's federal regulations. Although you may be legal to drive in Canada, once you get to the border you must spend at least 2 hours in the sleeper berth (if using the split sleeper option) or take 10 hours off if you do not meet the U.S. regulations.

While Canadian driving rules are very similar to the U.S. DOT's, there are some minor differences.  Canadian drivers do not carry a medical card since their CDL includes a medical certification.  Additionally, even though they don’t have the same ‘waiver’ program as the U.S., they do have a program in place.  Their CDL includes restrictions such as ‘automatic transmission only’ if a medical condition such as a missing leg exists.  However, the restrictions are not a hard and fast rule for every condition and should not be used in deciding whether to put a driver out of service.  The best rule of thumb if you feel a Canadian driver with a valid CDL has a condition that prevents him/her from legally operating in the U.S. is to contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for guidance.

Fuel qualifies as a farm supply if (1) it is “for agricultural purposes,” e.g. used in tractors or other equipment that cultivate agricultural commodities or trucks that haul them, but not in automobiles, station wagons, SUVs or other vehicles designed primarily to carry passengers, or for residential heating or cooking; (2) it is transported within the planting and harvesting season and within a 100 air–mile radius of the distribution point for fuel; (3) the motor carrier is operating in interstate commerce; and (4) the entire fuel load on the vehicle is to be delivered to one or more farms. A carrier may not use the exemption if any portion of the fuel load is to be delivered to a non-farm customer.

Yes, you do have to comply with the 60/70 hour rule. On the days you are in the shop you should have a time record that the company keeps on file for 6 months, and you should start a log page for the days that you are required to log driving.  If your company does not keep time records, you should reconstruct your last seven days of activity on log sheets and start a log sheet for the day you are driving.

No.  A CDL is only required in North Dakota when operating (1) vehicles over 26,001 pounds, (2) vehicles that require placards, (3) vehicles designed to carry 16 or more occupants including the driver, or (4) vehicle combinations that have a combined gross weight (or gross weight rating) over 26,001 provided that the gross weight (or weight rating) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,001 lbs.

In this case the combination is over 26,001 but the vehicle being towed does not exceed 10,001 lbs.  Likewise, a 9,000lb GVW vehicle pulling a 13,000lb GVW trailer would not require a CDL since the  combination weight of the  two vehicles does not exceed 26,001lbs.

No, the 25 mph restriction for anhydrous will still be in place because the tank does not meet the required specifications and the farm trailer isn't designed for highway speeds.

Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Hours of Service (HOS) frequently asked questions for additional driver-related information.

No, North Dakota does not require special permits to haul hazardous material within the state.  However, federal rules (which apply in ND) require commercial operators and anyone who hauls hazardous materials to have current Certificates of Registration as outlined in 49 CFR Part 107.608. Federal regulations also require a safety permit for interstate or intrastate transportation of certain radioactive, explosive, or poisonous materials which can be found in 49 CFR Part 385 Subpart E.

Farm vehicle operators driving for a farm operation are not required to have a CDL; therefore, no HM endorsement is required, even if the driver has a CDL. However, anyone operating as a commercial carrier is required to have a HM endorsement on their CDL when hauling nurse tanks.

Yes, the farm exemption in 49 CFR Part 383 does not apply to commercial transportation. You would need a CDL with the proper endorsements (tanker, HM) if the vehicle is over 26,000 lbs GCVWR or requires placarding.

If the tank has not been cleaned and purged, it is considered a bulk tank in transportation and you would need placards, shipping paper, etc. If the tank has been cleaned and purged, then you do not have to worry about HAZMAT requirements. 

The tank would not be considered a bulk tank and would have less than 1000 lbs of hazardous materials so it would not require placards, but shipping papers for the hazardous material would be required.

Generally the answer is yes, but your load must meet the definition of a hazardous material in 49 CFR Part 390.5.  If you still have HAZMAT in the mixture which meets the rules in the HAZMAT regulations then you will still have to comply.  If the state of the material is altered, the material may no longer pose a hazard and may not require compliance, but that decision must be made in accordance with federal regulations and cannot be decided solely because you diluted it.

Generally, any tank over 119 gallons is a bulk tank requiring compliance with the federal hazardous materials rules to include placarding, licensing, shipping, etc.  There are however, many exceptions to the regulations.

Basically, 49 CFR 173.5(a) and North Dakota state law state that a farm vehicle traveling on local roads between fields of the same farm and not carrying class 2 material is exempt from all HAZMAT requirements.  So, a farm vehicle traveling township/county/state roads between farm fields does not have to meet HAZMAT requirements. However, if traveling on interstate highways or to a neighboring farm, the farm vehicle must comply with HAZMAT requirements because the movement does not meet the local roads/fields of the same farm exception.

The second part of the question pertains to an anhydrous ammonia nurse tank which is a class 2 material.  49 CFR 173.5 and North Dakota state law states that a farmer carrying class 2 materials is only exempt from subpart G and H (which includes training requirements and emergency response information requirements).  So, a farm vehicle carrying anhydrous ammonia traveling on township/county/state roads is exempt from (1) training and emergency response information requirements in accordance with 49 CFR 173.5, (2) shipping paper requirements in accordance with 173.315(m), and (3) CDL HAZMAT endorsement requirements in accordance with 383.3(d).  The vehicle does, however, have to be placarded/marked in accordance with 173.315(m).

Yes, oversize/overweight movement permits can be purchased online by visiting E-Permits.  The following permits are also available online:

  • Trip permit
  • Fuel permit
  • 10 percent weight exemption permit (harvest and winter)
  • Custom combine permit (resident and nonresident)
  • Seasonal permit
  • Interstate permit
  • Self-issue single trip interstate permit
  • Longer combination vehicle permit

Yes, temporary registrations strictly for motor vehicles are available online, and an E-Permits account is not required to complete a purchase.  But, an E-Permits account IS required for noresident custom combine crews that want to purchase temporary registrations for motor vehicles and trailers.

The North Dakota Travel Information Map is maintained by DOT, and it shows the current road conditions.  You can also dial 511 from any phone to receive updated road information.

Load restriction information is available on DOT's website where you can sign up for load restriction updates delivered by e-mail, or you can call the NDHP Permits Section at 701-328-2621 for information.

Yes, farm vehicles are exempt from daily vehicle inspection records, but an annual inspection is required.

There is no requirement to be licensed to do truck inspections, but you must be certified.  Requirements can be found in 49 CFR Part 396.19.  Basically, you must complete a training program and have experience as a mechanic or a federal or state inspector or similar experience.  Forms for conducting the inspections can be obtained through motor carrier associations, truck stops, etc.

Applications can be obtained online from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (preferred method) or by contacting FMCSA's Bismarck office at (701) 250-4346. There is no charge for a US DOT number.

No, if you strictly travel within the state of North Dakota, a US DOT number is not required.

An exception in 49 CFR Part 390.3(f)(3) of the federal regulations states a person may make an occasional trip to transport personal property neither for compensation nor in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise.  Farming is a commercial enterprise and trips in and out of state to purchase equipment, sell grain or buy fertilizer would require US DOT registration. Likewise, travel out of state to purchase antique tractors for restoration and resale would require US DOT registration as would being hired by an acquaintance to travel out of state to pick up a purchase.

An FMCSA interpretation of 49 CFR Part 390.3 of the safety regulations states the following:

Does the exemption in §390.3(f)(3) for the ‘‘occasional transportation of personal property by individuals not for compensation nor in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise’’ apply to persons who occasionally use CMVs to transport cars, boats, horses, etc., to races, tournaments, shows or similar events, even if prize money is offered at these events?

Guidance: The exemption would apply to this kind of transportation, provided: (1) The underlying activities are not undertaken for profit, i.e., (a) prize money is declared as ordinary income for tax purposes, and (b) the cost of the underlying activities is not deducted as a business expense for tax purposes; and, where relevant; (2) corporate sponsorship is not involved. Drivers must confer with their State of licensure to determine the licensing provisions to which they are subject.

A US DOT number identifies carriers operating in interstate commerce while an MC number identifies a carrier who transports regulated commodities in interstate commerce. Generally, items that have been changed from their natural state are regulated commodities requiring an MC number. Determining whether an MC number versus a US DOT number is required is made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, not the ND Highway Patrol.

49 CFR Part 387.7 states that "Form MCS 90" is an "Endorsement for Motor Carrier Policies of Insurance for Public Liability Under Sections 29 and 30 of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980."  While it may appear to be an insurance certificate, in reality it is more.  It is an endorsement that shows proof of required financial responsibility, and all vehicles operated by for-hire carriers must have an MCS 90.  In the US, motor carriers domiciled in contiguous foreign countries (Canadian carriers) must have a legible copy, in English, on board the vehicle while US carriers must have the form at their principle place of business.  Be aware though, some Canadian carriers are leased onto and operating under the authority of a US carrier when operating in this country and thus would not need the form in the vehicle.

The ND Department of Transportation has entered into reciprocity agreements which allow the NDHP to waive the 72-hour trip permits and other registration requirements as follows:

  • Manitoba (MB) - Farm registered vehicles within 20 miles of the MB border hauling the owner's own goods, property, and supplies are exempt to include gainful employment and intrastate operation.
  • Saskatchewan (SK) - All SK registered vehicles operating interstate within 20 miles of the SK border are exempt, but farm registered vehicles hauling their own goods are not restricted to the 20-mile free zone provided the movement is an interstate operation only.
  • Minnesota (MN) - All MN registered vehicles within 20 miles of the MN border are exempt.  Farm registered vehicles have an expanded free zone (for interstate and intrastate operations) when hauling their own products, supplies, or farm equipment.  The expanded free zone is east of a line extending from state highway 256 to US highway 83 to state highway 1804. Full reciprocity for gainful employment is extended within the free zone but any vehicle remaining in the state more than 24 hours is subject to ND registration requirements.
  • Montana (MT) - Farm registered vehicles operating interstate and hauling their own farm products, farm supplies, or farm equipment are exempt.
  • South Dakota (SD) - All SD registered vehicles operating interstate within 20 miles of the SD border on the most reasonably direct route are exempt.  Farm registered vehicles hauling their own farm products, farm supplies, or farm equipment in an intrastate operation are not limited to the most direct route. Full reciprocity for gainful employment is extended within the free zone but any vehicle remaining in the state more than 24 hours is subject to ND registration requirements.

There is no restriction on how far you can travel on farm plates; however, if traveling over 100 air miles (or 150 miles for CDL or 150 air miles for intrastate operations), you would have to comply with Federal Motor Carrier regulations. Additionally, if traveling out of state you may have to pay temporary registration fees with other states.

The 26,000 pound exemption applies to a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 lbs or less, not to a combined weight rating.

Yes. If the piece of equipment has a plate with the weight or weight rating it can be used with the weight rating of the towing unit.  One could also weigh the combination and use that weight to determine whether the combination exceeds 10,000 pounds. An interpretation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is below:

A company has a truck with a GVWR under 10,001 pounds towing a trailer with a GVWR under 10,001 pounds. However, the GVWR of the truck added to the GVWR of the trailer is greater than 10,001 pounds. Would the company operating this vehicle in interstate commerce have to comply with the FMCSRs?

Guidance: §390.5 of the FMCSRs includes in the definition of CMV a vehicle with a GVWR or GCWR of 10,001 or more pounds. The section further defines GCWR as the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination (articulated) vehicle. Therefore, if the GVWR of the truck added to the GVWR of the trailer exceeds 10,001 pounds, the driver and vehicle are subject to the FMCSRs.

Yes, the vehicle manufacturer plate shows the GVWR as manufactured.  It is possible the axles on the vehicle were upgraded at some point after manufacture or some other change affecting the vehicle's GVWR occurred after manufacture.

No, you must have an interstate permit and all weights must be legal by axle and bridge.

Hay is secured in the same manner as any other commodity outlined in 49 CFR Part 393.100.  Generally, in the absence of a "headache rack" the first bale on the trailer requires two straps and each succeeding bale requires one strap.

No, front end structures (sometimes called headache racks) are not required by the federal requlations; however, if you have a front end structure and wish to use it as part of your cargo securement system it must meet the standards in 49 CFR Part 393.112.

Yes, since you are operating a vehicle that does not require you to have a CDL you do qualify for the non-CDL exemptions.  However, the agricultural exemptions listed in 49 CFR Part 395 give you more flexibility and you would be better off using those exemptions if you qualify.

As with all of the annual permits (seasonal, approved equipment, ID supplement, etc.), the Approved Equipment Certificate has to be purchased every year.  The vehicle does not have to be inspected/measured each year unless there are changes such as different tire sizes.

  • The first method is to transport it in a locked and closed trunk or luggage compartment of a motor vehicle.

  • Second, a handgun, carried by a person permitted by law to possess it, may be carried unloaded and in a secure wrapper from the place of purchase to that person's home or place of business, or to a place of repair, or back from those locations.

  • The third method, which includes rifles, shotguns or a weapon that will expel a projectile by action of a spring, compressed air or compressed gas (i.e. BB gun, air rifle or C02 gun) must be unloaded while carried in a motor vehicle in plain view.

A concealed weapon is defined as a firearm or dangerous weapon that is concealed if it is carried in such a manner as to not be discernible by the ordinary observation of a passerby. The only way to legally carry a concealed weapon in North Dakota is to apply for and receive a concealed weapon's permit issued through the Chief of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The applicant, however, will need to have a valid reason for carrying the firearm or dangerous weapon concealed. For further information visit the Bureau of Criminal Investigation's website.

There is no federal regulation prohibiting the possession of a firearm in a CMV. Drivers need to abide by State laws in relation to carrying a weapon in their vehicles. 

Convicted felons or disqualified individuals are disallowed from possessing any firearm. 

 

Further information on concealed weapons, including the concealed weapons license manual, can be found on the Bureau of Criminal Investigation's website.

  • Front windshield – at least 70% light transmittance (no more than 30% tint)
  • Other windows – at least 50% light transmittance (no more than 50% tint)
    • When calculating total tint, the factory tinting on windows must be included.  For example, a 50% tint added to a window with a 30% factory tint would be over the allowed limit.
    • Windows behind the operator may be tinted with zero light transmittance as long as the motor vehicle is equipped with outside mirrors on both sides.

Yes. They are permitted between October 15th and April 15th of each year.

  • All front seat occupants must be properly buckled up regardless of age (secondary enforcement).
  • All occupants younger than 18 must be properly restrained regardless of their location in a vehicle (primary enforcement).
  • Children under 7 years of age must be in an approved safety restraint; however, children under 7 years of age who are at least 57 inches tall (4' 9") and weigh 80 pounds or more may use a seat belt.
  • A child weighing more than forty pounds may use only a lap belt if the vehicle is not equipped with lap and shoulder belts or if all lap and shoulder belts are in use by other occupants.  (This is because booster seats require both a lap and shoulder belt.)
  • Children ages 7 to 17 must be properly secured in a seat belt or child restraint.

A trooper may not issue a citation for a seat belt violation unless you're lawfully stopped or detained for another violation; however, you can be stopped if anyone in the vehicle (including the driver) is under 18 years of age and is not properly restrained.

Yes, there are a few exceptions:

  • Vehicles that were not originally manufactured with seat belts (prior to January 1, 1965)
  • Drivers of implements of husbandry or farm vehicles
  • Rural mail carriers while on duty
  • Occupants with a medical or physical disability who possess a signed statement from a qualified physician
  • When all front seat restraints are in use by other occupants

Yes. North Dakota Century Code 39-21-45.1 states that all motor vehicles required to be registered in North Dakota must have front and rear bumpers.

  • Maximum bumper height = 27"
  • Maximum body height = 42" (body height is measured from a level ground surface to the floor of the cargo area)
  • Maximum suspension lift = 4"

Reference NDCC 39-21-45.1.

North Dakota Century Code 39-21-01 states that headlights are required anytime from sunset to sunrise and on farm vehicles on the highways from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise. They are also required when it is raining, snowing, sleeting, foggy or hailing or during other adverse driving or weather conditions when the conditions prevent a person from clearly making a vehicle discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead.

You can estimate your vehicle's speed by measuring the time it takes to travel one mile. The best way to conduct the test is to set your cruise at one speed and time how long it takes to travel between two green "milemarkers" that can be found along interstates and other US/state highways.

Seconds Miles Per Hour
45.5 79
46 78
46.7 77
47 76
48 75
48.5 74
49 73
50 72
50.5 71
51.5 70
52 69
53 68
53.5 67
54.4 66
55 65
56 64
57 63
58 62
59 61
60 60
61 59
62 58
63 57
64 56
65.5 55
66.5 54
68 63
69 52

(Revised 07-2003)

Yes, the camper must be attached by a fifth-wheel hitch. It is illegal for passengers to ride in a camper connected with a bumper hitch.

North Dakota Century code section 39-04-11 requires two plates to be on each motor vehicle. The plates must at all times be kept free and clear of mud, ice, or snow, to be clearly visible and all number plates, markers, or evidence of registration or licensing except for the current year must be removed from the vehicle. A fee of $10 dollars will be assessed if this section is violated.

A motor vehicle may draw two trailers. This would allow the towing of a boat trailer behind a gooseneck or bumper hitch camping trailer.

  • If the first trailer is a gooseneck or 5th wheel connection, the first trailer must be equipped with brakes, and the second trailer must be equipped with safety chains.
  • If the first trailer is a bumper hitch connection, the first trailer must be equipped with brakes and safety chains, and the second trailer must be equipped with safety chains at a minimum.  If the gross weight of the second trailer exceeds 3,000 pounds, brakes are also required.

The length of any vehicle combination, measured from the extreme front to the extreme rear of the entire combination, cannot exceed 75 feet.

Every trailer is required to have two taillamps, two reflectors (one on each side), and one stoplight.

  • A stoplight is not required if the towing vehicle’s stoplight is visible.

Clearance lamps, one on each side of the trailer, front and rear, are required if the trailer is over 80 inches (6' 8") in width.

Vehicles must be registered in North Dakota at the time residency is established or when employment is accepted in state, whichever occurs first.  A person is deemed a resident of North Dakota when the person has lived here for 90 days, unless they are a nonresident student, a tourist, or a member of the armed forces.  Full-time students and military personnel are exempt from registration as long as they display current license plates from their home state on their vehicle.

Application for registration must be made to the Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Division in Bismarck or to any of the branch offices around the state.

Drivers must carry a registration card in their vehicle including registration cards for any towed units that are required to be registered.  Registration cards are subject to inspection by any peace officer.  Any person violating this section (NDCC 39-04-55) will be assessed a fee of $20 dollars. However, a person cited for violation of this section may not be found to have committed the violation if the person, within 48 hours after being cited, displays the registration card to any peace officer.

Drivers must be able to provide proof of insurance in written or electronic format. Drivers who are unable to show proof of insurance will be issued a citation, and proof of insurance must be provided to the applicable office of the court in order to get the citation dismissed.

Every trailer must be equipped with safety chains or brakes when operated upon a highway at a speed in excess of 25 mph.

Yes.  Either a taillamp or a separate lamp must illuminate the rear registration plate with a white light and render it clearly legible from a distance of fifty feet to the rear.

There is an excise tax of 5 percent on new and used vehicles purchased from dealers and private owners. The tax is based on the full purchase price of the vehicle with credit for your trade-in, if applicable.

Class III off-highway vehicles must be equipped with one head lamp, one tail light, and brakes.

Definition:  A class III off-highway vehicle weighs less than 8,000 pounds, travels on four or more tires, has a seat and a wheel for steering control, and is designated for or capable of cross-country on or over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain.

An individual may operate a registered off-highway vehicle on a gravel, dirt, or loose surface roadway and on a paved highway designated and posted at a speed not exceeding 55 miles per hour.

A licensed driver over 16 years of age may operate a registered class III off-highway vehicle on a paved highway designated and posted at a speed not exceeding 65 miles per hour if the vehicle is equipped with a mirror, horn, speedometer and odometer, brake light, lighted headlamp, and 350 cubic centimeter motor or greater.  (Reference NDCC 39-29-09.1.)

Additional off-highway vehicle information (including registration and insurance requirements) can be found at:

Yes. Anyone under 18 years of age who operates or rides upon a motorcycle must wear a helmet which complies with standards established by the Department of Transportation. If the operator of the motorcycle is required to wear a helmet, any passenger must also wear a helmet regardless of the age of the passenger.  (Reference NDCC 39-10.2-06.)

Yes. North Dakota Century Code 39-27-10 states each wheel must have a fender or be covered by the body configuration. Fenders must be securely mounted and of sufficient size and strength to minimize water or other road surface substances from coming in contact with the vehicle riders, or throwing the road substances unreasonably to the rear of the vehicle.  The fender design must be effective in reducing side spray.

The minimum age to operate a motorcycle in North Dakota is 14 years of age. Applicants who are 14 or 15 years of age may be issued a motorcycle learner's permit by successfully completing an approved motorcycle safety course. After two months with a learner's permit, operators under 16 may apply for a motorcycle license.  Any person under 16 years of age who holds a permit or license is restricted to the operation of a motorcycle powered with an engine of 250 cubic centimeters or less

A person who is at least fourteen years of age may obtain a motorized bicycle operator's permit.  To obtain a permit, the applicant shall pay a fee of ten dollars and take a written examination of the applicant's knowledge of traffic laws and general rules of the road. If the applicant passes the written examination and the director is satisfied that the applicant has adequate eyesight, the director may issue the applicant a motorized bicycle operator's permit, even if the applicant does not have an operator's license.

A person who has an operator's license, a temporary permit, an instruction permit, or a motorcycle permit is not required to obtain a motorized bicycle operator's permit and may operate a motorized bicycle.

A motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding implements of husbandry.

Motorcycle inspection items include the following:

  • Brakes
  • Tires, wheels, rims
  • Steering and suspension
  • Frame and chasis
  • Fuel system
  • Muffler
  • Mirror (at least one)
  • Fenders (each wheel)
  • Seat
  • Chain guard
  • Vehicle stand
  • Horn
  • Speedometer and odometer
  • One headlamp (with high beam indicator)
  • One taillamp
  • One stop lamp
  • Passenger seat, footrest, and highway bars, if applicable

North Dakota Century Code 39-06-02 provides an exemption for nonresidents who are at least 16 years of age who have a valid operator's license from their home state or country to drive a motor vehicle in North Dakota.

No.  A nonresident who is at least sixteen years of age who has in that person's immediate possession a valid operator's license issued to that person in that person's home state or country may operate a motor vehicle in this state.  An instruction permit would not qualify.

Many traffic violations are assigned a certain number of points based on the seriousness of the offense. When an operator accumulates 12 or more points on their driving record, their driving privilege will be suspended. If the operator is under 18 and accumulates 6 or more points, their driving privilege is cancelled.

If the number of points assigned to a violation are two or less, the violation is entered on an operator’s driving record in a separate area that is not available to the public.

Nonresidents age 16 and over are not required to obtain a license until 60 days after residence has been established in North Dakota.  A person is deemed a resident of North Dakota when they have lived here for 90 days, unless they are a nonresident student, a tourist, or a member of the armed forces.

Visit your local Driver's License Branch Office.

A North Dakota driver's license expires at midnight on the date of birth of the applicant. Commercial licenses are valid for four years from the holder’s date of birth. Noncommercial licenses are valid for four or six years from the holder’s date of birth.

Non-commercial driver's license:

  • Class D for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 lbs or less and trailers 10,000 lbs or less.
  • Class M for motorcycles.

Commercial driver's license (CDL): 

  • Class A for vehicle combinations with a GVWR over 26,001 lbs. towing a trailer over 10,000 lbs.
  • Class B for a single vehicle with a GVWR over 26,001 lbs., and any such vehicle towing a trailer 10,000 lbs. or less.
  • Class C for a vehicle under 26,001 lbs. transporting hazardous materials or carrying 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
  • If an operator accumulates 12 or more points, their driving privilege will be suspended for 7 days for every point over 11.  Once the points have been reduced to 11, one point will be reduced for every three-month period during which no points are recorded against the operator’s driving record.
  • Operators may elect to attend an approved defensive driving course which will reduce three points from their driving record.  This three-point reduction can only be used once every 12-month period.  Proof of course completion must be mailed to the NDDOT’s Drivers License Division.
  • Operators issued a citation with a penalty of five points or less may elect to attend an approved defensive driving course in lieu of entry of points on the operator’s driving record.  The operator must notify the court at the time they post their bond and provide proof of course completion to DOT within 30 days.

Visit the ND Department of Transportation's website and select "Drivers License" as your topic.

Option 1: When you receive a traffic citation you must return the specified bond in the "bond envelope" provided with the citation within 14 days. You may simply place the bond in the envelope and send it to the address indicated on the envelope. The address will be the Clerk of District Court for the county in which you were stopped. No signature is required on the citation. This method results in an automatic forfeiture of the bond.

  • NOTE: Citations may be paid online using a credit card through the North Dakota State Court’s website. Visit www.ndcourts.gov/publicsearch to complete a transaction.

Option 2: You may sign and date the appropriate section on the citation to request a court hearing. Once the citation is filled out, you must mail the citation in the envelope provided along with your bond within 14 days. If the court determines that you are not guilty at the hearing, the bond amount will be returned to you.

The Highway Patrol enforces the posted speed limit in normal driving conditions. In inclement weather speed may be enforced at a lower speed than the posted limit.

A written warning is given as a reminder that you have committed a violation. You should do as the officer instructs you to do with the warning. For example, if the warning is for an equipment violation such as a headlight out, you should get the light changed in the specified amount of time. A warning does not require you to send anything back in unless you are instructed to do so.

Many traffic violations are assigned a certain number of points based on the seriousness of the offense. When an operator accumulates 12 or more points on their driving record, their driving privilege will be suspended. If the operator is under 18 and accumulates 6 or more points, their driving privilege is cancelled.

If the number of points assigned to a violation are two or less, the violation is entered on an operator’s driving record in a separate area that is not available to the public.

The purpose of traffic enforcement is to keep the motoring public safe and to prevent injuries and fatalities that result from motor vehicle crashes.  Although fees and points are associated with specific offenses, the primary goal of traffic enforcement is to help change a person's future behavior by providing a penalty for unsafe driving.

State Troopers do concentrate on all types of "serious" crimes. Through their enforcement of traffic offenses, serious crimes such as the transportation of illegal drugs are discovered.

The reason for speed enforcement is for the safety of the motoring public and pedestrians that are along the roadway. Enforcing speed not only reduces the number of crashes but the severity of the crashes that do occur.

Approximately 30 to 40% of all fatal crashes in North Dakota are speed-related.

The Highway Patrol measures speed in one of four ways:

  1. Radar - Doppler radar's with moving and stationary capabilities mounted inside the patrol vehicle.
  2. LIDAR - Hand-held laser speed measuring devices that are used in a stationary position.
  3. Aircraft - Speed is calculated using a time and distance formula.
  4. Pacing - Certified, calibrated speedometers in patrol vehicles are used to match the speed of the violator's vehicle.

The speed limit is 55 mph on gravel, loose dirt, or on loose surface highways and on paved two-lane county and township highways if there is no speed limit posted.

The speed limit is 65 mph on two-lane highways if posted for that speed.

The speed limit is 70 mph on paved four-lane divided highways.

The speed limit is 75 mph on the interstate (I-29 and I-94).

Yes.  North Dakota is a member of the Non-Resident Violator Compact.  If you are from one of the 45 states participating in the compact, North Dakota will notify your home state of traffic citations that you receive while in North Dakota.

  • If an operator accumulates 12 or more points, their driving privilege will be suspended for 7 days for every point over 11.  Once the points have been reduced to 11, one point will be reduced for every three-month period during which no points are recorded against the operator’s driving record.
  • Operators may elect to attend an approved defensive driving course which will reduce three points from their driving record.  This three-point reduction can only be used once every 12-month period.  Proof of course completion must be mailed to the NDDOT’s Drivers License Division.
  • Operators issued a citation with a penalty of five points or less may elect to attend an approved defensive driving course in lieu of entry of points on the operator’s driving record.  The operator must notify the court at the time they post their bond and provide proof of course completion to DOT within 30 days.

If an authorized emergency vehicle is parked or stopped on the interstate system or on a multilane highway outside the limits of a city, and the authorized emergency vehicle is displaying a flashing, revolving, or rotating amber, blue, white, or red light, the driver of an approaching vehicle shall proceed with caution and yield the right of way by moving to a lane that is not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if the move may be made with due regard to safety and traffic conditions or if not, the driver shall proceed with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle, and maintain a safe speed for the road conditions.

This law also applies to DOT maintenance vehicles.

Motorists who strike a deer or other undomesticated animal do not need to report the crash to law enforcement if the crash results in property damage only, regardless of the amount of damage to the vehicle. The driver may proceed to their destination if the vehicle is able to be driven. Law enforcement will respond to the crash scene to provide assistance if your vehicle becomes disabled.

If someone is injured as a result of the crash, law enforcement must be contacted.

If in a municipality, contact the local police department. If outside a municipality, then notify the sheriff's office or the nearest Highway Patrol Office.

Crash reports may be obtained online through Docview's website. The crash report available through Docview is not an official copy, but the report is available for immediate download. There is a $15 fee for this service. Depending on the length of the crash investigation, it may take up to 14 days before a crash report is available through Docview.

To obtain an official copy of a crash report, fill out a Request for Crash Report Information (PDF) form and mail it to the ND Department of Transportation's Drivers License Division. The mailing address is included on the form. There is a $2 fee for the officer's report, a $5 fee for the officer's opinion, and a $7 fee for both.

Dialing 911 will place you in contact with emergency officials who will be able to summon assistance for you.

Upon the immediate approach of an emergency vehicle displaying emergency lights, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right of way by moving to the right-hand edge or curb clear of any intersection and stop and remain stopped until the emergency vehicle passes. If an emergency vehicle is parked or stopped at the scene of an emergency and is displaying emergency red, white, or blue lights, traffic shall move to the right and stop. Once stopped, traffic may proceed with caution unless otherwise directed.

Yes. The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting only in damage to highway fixtures or other property shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such property. You must provide your name and address and the registration number of the vehicle involved.  NDCC 39-08-08 (51kb PDF)

The governing police agency shall immediately be given notice of a crash where the apparent extent of property damage is $1000 (combined or otherwise). NDCC 39-08-09 (51kb PDF)

Any person who is an unpaid volunteer, who in good faith, renders emergency care or services at or near the scene of a crash, disaster, or other emergency, or en route to a treatment facility, is not liable to the recipient of the emergency care or services for any damages resulting from the rendering of that care or service. This does not apply to willful misconduct or gross negligence on the part of any intoxicated person or other person rendering aid. NDCC 39-08-04.1 (51kb PDF)

You must immediately stop and notify the owner of your name, address, and your insurance policy carrier. If you cannot locate the owner, then you must leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle the above information and the circumstances of the collision.  NDCC 39-08-07 (51kb PDF)

There are many factors to consider before deciding what to do but generally speaking there are only a few critical responses. First, make sure you protect yourself from other traffic or traffic hazards in the area that may have led to the crash. Do not obstruct traffic more than necessary. Next, if the scene is safe, obtain all the information you can and call 911. Be sure to provide the location of the crash and the number of vehicles and occupants involved. Then, if it is safe to do so, render any kind of aid that you can to the injured.

Finally, remain on the scene until help arrives. Remember that you can be a great asset to the investigating officers if you inform them of what you know about the crash.

Alhough there is no law specifically prohibiting road rage, this type of behavior exhibited by such drivers could fall under a number of categories ranging from simple traffic violations to criminal offenses. The charges that may apply depend upon the circumstances.

By driving defensively and in a non-aggressive, courteous fashion one can avoid most conflicts associated with road rage. If you become the victim of road rage, call 911 immediately to report the incident.

Complaints may be given in person, over the phone, or in writing. Individuals should be willing to identify themselves and give specific information relating to the complaint. However, anonymous complaints will be handled in the same manner unless there is no supporting information, evidence, or witnesses for corroborative purposes.

All employees will courteously and promptly accept and record in writing any complaint made by any citizen. Employees may attempt to resolve the complaint, but will not attempt to dissuade any citizen from lodging a complaint. Employees will immediately forward, through channels, to the Field Operations Commander, written summaries of such complaints.

Motorists can access road conditions, construction reports, and seasonal load restriction information by dialing 511.  511 is a national service for travelers to get the information they need to safely travel across North Dakota.  It's free and simple to use.

Additional information can be found online by viewing the ND Department of Transportation's Travel Information Map.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation provides information on the following winter driving topics:

Winter Survival Kits, Car Care Tips, and Travel Tips

You can request a safety talk through this website by filling out the online form and submitting it electronically. An NDHP employee will then contact you to make final arrangements.

  • The use of dyed diesel fuel is not allowed for on-road use in licensed vehicles in North Dakota.  Under ND law, the injection of red dye into diesel fuel indicates the fuel has not been subject to an excise tax. Instead, dyed diesel fuel is subject to the special fuel excise tax of $.04 per gallon.
  • Dyed diesel fuel is sold for use in off-road, non-licensed equipment used for farming or construction and is exempt from the per gallon fuel tax. Dyed fuel continues to be taxed at a different rate and is intended for off-road non-licensed vehicle use only.

Source:  Office of State Tax Commissioner

Background checks must be requested through the ND Bureau of Criminal Investigation by visiting BCI's website or by calling 701-328-5500.

Contact us if you were unable to find your answer.