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Frequently Asked Questions - Driver

Interstate:  Operations originating in one state and ending in another including the return trip.This would also include drivers who either start or finish a delivery that begins or ends in another state. 

Intrastate:  Operations that originate and end in the same state state with no part of the movement extending into another state or country.

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 be on duty for 16 hours.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, returns to the same working reporting location each day, has 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, at least 18 years of age, with a valid, proper class license may operate a commercial vehicle in intrastate commerce.
  5. Farm vehicle drivers operating, operating a “covered farm vehicle” are exempt from CDL requirements when operating intrastate within ND and within a 150 air mile radius of their farm when crossing state lines. Farm vehicle drivers not meeting the definition of a “covered farm vehicle” are exempt within 150 air mile radius of their farm when traveling intrastate.  The drivers 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, not to town, are exempted from HAZMAT regulations.  A farmer is exempt from training and emergency response information when transporting agricultural class 2 hazardous materials anywhere or any other hazardous materials when going to town 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 by either an earpiece or speakerphone.

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 or the vehicle meets the definition of a "covered farm vehicle."  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.

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 (short haul) 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 when they are loaded, but they must keep time records when empty and 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 person meeting the definition of a “covered farm vehicle” in intrastate commerce or within a 150 air mile radius in interstate commerce does not need a medical card.  If the articulated farm vehicle does not meet the definition of a “covered farm vehicle” or is outside the 150 air mile radius in interstate commerce, a medical card would be required.

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 must be obtained from a medical examiner on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

Yes, if you are traveling in intrastate commerce.  If you are traveling in interstate commerce, you should have self certified yourself as Category 1 (non-excepted interstate) and provided a copy of your medical card to your states driver’s license division.  Your medical status would then be available on your CDLIS (Commercial Drivers License Information System) record.

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 be in compliance with the U.S. regulations prior to leaving the border.

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 six 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 must have a record on your on-duty time for the last seven days at the carrier 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) vehicle 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.

For the purposes of a New Entrant Safety Audit and/or a MCSAP Safety Investigation here is a listing of the time periods. Keep in mind that these time frames are for records retained under the Federal Motor Carrier Regulations. Time frames for the International Registration Plan (IRP), International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are different.  Please contact the NDDOT Motor Carrier Services for specific questions on IRP and IFTA. Contact the Internal Revenue Service or the ND Tax Department for questions on income tax related record retention. 


Federal Motor Carrier Regulation retention period for New Entrant Audits and MCSAP Safety Investigations:

Accidents - must maintain an accident register for 3 years and all copies of crash reports/investigations for 3 years.


DQ file- entire time the driver is employed and for 3 additional years.  The annual DMV check, annual list of violations, annual review, and medical certification info must be maintained for 3 years from the date it was done.


Logs and supporting documents - 6 months


Vehicle Maintenance files - 1 year's info and retain for 6 months after vehicle leaves carrier's control


Annual periodic inspections - 14 months


Driver/Vehicle inspection report - 90 days, only required if defect is found by driver or somebody else that day.


Drug and Alcohol Testing- this is testing done by the company


Positive alcohol or drug tests, refusals, Driver evaluations and referrals, Calibration documentation, records related to the administering of tests, copy of annual summary- 5 years


Records related to drug and alcohol collection process- 2 years


Records of negative or cancelled tests-1 year


Records of education and training (includes drivers, managers, everyone).  Maintained entire time that person is involved with that activity and for 2 years after ceasing that duty.- Indefinite


IRP-3 year retention period

IFTA-4 year retention period




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.