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Frequently Asked Questions - Motor Carrier

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.