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Frequently Asked Questions - Driver

CDL Class Flowchart

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.