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What rules and regulations apply to commercial motor vehicles?

In order to understand what rules and regulations apply to commercial motor vehicles, one must have a basic understanding of what vehicles are considered to be CMV's in Arizona. Under current Arizona law, CMV is defined as any single or a combination of vehicles that are specifically made, utilized or maintained to either transport people or goods for profit on Arizona highways.

CMV's are generally involved in both intrastate and interstate commerce. Examples of CMV's include, but are not limited to, trucks, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks and buses. If a business generates revenue from operating a truck and the gross vehicle weight rating of the truck is greater than 10,000 pounds, then one must get a U.S. Department of Transportation number. The type of USDOT number will depend on what is being transported. Federal USDOT rules and regulations have been adopted by all states in the U.S., and thus would apply in Arizona.

As part of a joint venture with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in Arizona the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement bureau is in charge of ensuring that trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles are safely operated and maintained to prevent truck accidents. The enforcement bureau is tasked with making sure that the FMCSA regulations are followed. Enforcement is achieved through checking the weight of the trucks, traffic enforcement and inspections of the trucks to ensure that all trucking regulations are followed. Additionally, outreach on safety is conducted.

Annually, Arizona conducts over 46,000 truck inspections. For instance, when it comes to tow trucks, Arizona inspectors not only conduct inspections annually but also have the authority to conduct inspections that are unannounced. The purpose of unannounced inspections is to ensure that the condition of the truck is in accordance with existing rules and regulations. These inspections can happen at the roadside or at the truck company's place of operation.

Source: Arizona Department of Transportation, "FAQs: Commercial Services," Accessed Feb. 16, 2015

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Law Office of Keith A. Hammond, P.C.

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