A truck is a large and heavy motor vehicle that is specially designed to carry goods, materials, etc. from one place to another. In California, any vehicle that is designed to transport goods or other merchandise is considered a commercial vehicle. So regardless of whether or not you are using your truck for commercial purposes, it will always be considered a commercial vehicle in California because of the design of the truck and the definition of “commercial vehicle”.
- The fees of registering commercial vehicles in California depend on the weight of the vehicle
- In order to get a commercial driving license in California, you must be at least 18 years old
- You have to provide proof of age identity and residency before you can get a commercial driving license in the California
- If you want to register a commercial vehicle in California then you have to complete and submit Application for Title or Registration (REG 343), Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (CGW) (REG 4008), etc.
Definition Of Commercial Vehicle In California
According to the 13.010 Commercial Vehicle Definitions of Department of Motor Vehicle, California –
“A commercial vehicle is a vehicle required to be registered which is used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.”
The following vehicles may be registered as passenger or commercial:
1. Multipurpose vehicles
2. Passenger-type vehicles transporting persons for hire
3. Pickup trucks with a camper permanently attached
4. Station wagons
Bus (CVC §233): In California, a bus will be considered as a commercial vehicle when it is used to transport persons for hire, compensation, or profit or when bus transportation is supplied by a profit-making entity. It means when a customer pays for the bus service then it will be considered as a commercial vehicle.
Motor Truck (CVC §410): A motor truck is primarily designed for the transportation of property, therefore; it is also a commercial vehicle.
Pickup (CVC §471): It’s a motor truck with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 11,500 pounds. Moreover, it is equipped with an open box-type bed less than nine feet in length. According to the California Code of Regulations, Title 13 §150.04 further define pickup trucks:
(a) Pursuant to CVC §471, any motor vehicle, except a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or motorized quadricycle, with an open box-type bed, not exceeding 9 feet in length is by definition a pickup. Examples of this type of motor vehicle include the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, Nissan Frontier, and similarly designed vehicles.
(b) Pursuant to CVC §471, any motor vehicle, except a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or motorized quadricycle, that may be configured or reconfigured to provide an open box-type bed not exceeding 9 feet in length is by definition a pickup. Examples of this type of motor vehicle include the Chevrolet Avalanche and similarly designed vehicles.
So, if your truck is defined as a commercial vehicle then you have to register your truck as a commercial vehicle in California. Moreover, you will need a commercial driving license to drive your truck.
How To Register Commercial Vehicle In California
If you want to register a commercial vehicle in California then you have to complete and submit:
Fees To Register Commercial Vehicle In California
The fees of registering commercial vehicles in California depend on the weight of the vehicle. If the vehicle weighs 6,001 lbs. or more; then the registration fees are determined based on the GVW, or the CGW of the vehicle. According to the Collection and Payment Of Fees and Penalties of Department of Motor Vehicle, California –
1. Weight fees for vehicles operated less than 10,001 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) and for pickups are determined by the number of axles and unladed weight
2. Weight fees for vehicles operated over 10,001 pounds GVW are determined by the declared GVW or combined GVW (CGW) as shown on the Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (CGW) (REG 4008)
3. Weight fees are subject to penalties based on the date fees are paid
However, the following commercially designed vehicles are exempt from weight fees –
1. Agricultural water-well boring rigs (CVC §9405)
2. Vehicles operated in accordance with a permit issued by DMV
3. Nonresident vehicles operated in accordance with reciprocity agreements
4. Forklift trucks that are moved unladed over the highways (CVC §9409)
5. Commercial-type motor vehicles manufactured in 1936 or prior (CVC §9401(a))
6. A vehicle operated or moved over the highway exclusively for the purpose of historical exhibition or other similar noncommercial purposes (CVC §9400)
7. A commercial vehicle with an unloaded weight of 8,000 pounds or less which is registered to a disabled person and displays Disabled Person License Plates (CVC §9410)
How To Get A Commercial Driving License In California
If you want to get a commercial driving license in California then you have to fulfill some requirements. They are –
1. Your age must be at least 18 to drive within the state and 21 to drive between states
2. You have to provide proof of age identity and residency
3. You have to show the original copy of your social security documents
4. You have to pay the required fees
5. You have to submit your driving history checks for the past ten years
6. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background checks (If required)
7. You have to fill some applications and submit them
8. You have to pass all the certification tests
However, you have to remember that our CDL may be denied or revoked, if you –
1. Fail the tests
2. If you don’t have the required documents for identity, residency, age, etc.
3. If there is any “Hold CDL” from another state
8. If you have committed crimes, violate traffic, or commit drug or alcohol offenses
Get A Commercial Learners Permit (CLP)
This is the first step of your obtaining a commercial driving license in California. Without the CLP there is no way you can get the CDL. In fact, you have to hold the CLP for at least 14 days before you can get a CDL. To apply for the CLP, you will need to –
1. Have an ordinary driver’s license (DL)
2. Complete the CDL application online
3. Submit the driving history record check for the past ten years
4. Provide proof of social security number while in the office
5. Provide an identity document to verify your identity
6. Submit a recent medical evaluation form
7. Pay the application fee
8. Scan your thumbprint
9. Take a passport size photo while at the office
10. Pass the vision and knowledge tests
Once you have completed all the requirements you will be able to get your CLP. CLP is valid for 180 days from the day you get it. If you want to drive a commercial vehicle with a CLP then you must have to carry a valid DL.
Take The Skills Test
After holding the CLP for at least 14 days, you can apply for the CDL skills test. After that, you have to call the DMV to schedule an appointment for your skills test. Then you can take the skills test with the type of commercial vehicle that suits the class of license you want. Usually, the skills test includes inspection of the commercial vehicle, a basic control test, and a road test. You have to complete a test in order to participate in the next test. There is no way you can participate next test without passing the previous test. You have three trials for the skills test, and you have to pay a fee for each skills test. However, if you have a Certificate of Driving Skill from your employer (authorized by DMV) then you won’t require taking the skills test. Once you pass the skills test, you will get a temporary license that is valid for 90 days. Finally, you’ll receive your plastic CDL within 90 days.
Types Of Commercial Driving Licenses
There are three types of CDL in California. They are:
1. Class A CDL: You will require this licence if you operate combination vehicles and your commercial vehicle’s gross combination weight rating (GCWR) is 26,001 pounds or more
2. Class B CDL: You will require this licence if you are driving a single commercial vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more
3. Class C CDL: You will require this type of CDL license if your vehicle does not meet the criteria for Class A or Class B CDL
Finally, I hope the above information has helped you understand why your truck is registered as a commercial vehicle in California. Now make sure you will register your vehicle accordingly. Moreover, don’t forget to obtain a commercial driving license because without the CDL you won’t be able to drive your truck in California.
Last Updated on October 19, 2022 by Magalie D.
Magalie D. is a Diploma holder in Public Administration & Management from McGill University of Canada. She shares management tips here in MGTBlog when she has nothing to do and gets some free time after working in a multinational company at Toronto.