The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration don’t regulate the use of moving vans for interstate travel if the van’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 10,000 lbs. or less. For larger vehicles, the agencies proscribe several requirements to which drivers and vehicle owners must adhere. Because the Department of Transportation has powers to regulate interstate trade only, each state has its own requirements that apply to moving vans and other box trucks.[/box]
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration classifies any vehicle that weighs 10,001 lbs. or more that’s used in a commercial setting as a commercial vehicle, and regulates who can operate these vehicles. All drivers of commercial vehicles must provide a medical certificate signed by a doctor that clears them of health conditions that could adversely impact their ability to drive safely a large vehicle. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires drivers who operate a vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more to obtain a commercial driver’s license, which requires demonstrated knowledge and ability of driving towed vehicles in highway and city settings.
The Department of Transportation requires all moving vans and other vehicles with a GVWR of 10,001 lbs. This number provides roadside inspectors at weigh stations and other roadside inspections a means to directly identify the vehicle and its owner, and consistently track all safety violations for a single company. Many states—Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming—also require moving vans with a GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. to obtain a USDOT number for intrastate transport.
Unless a moving van possesses a hazmat safety permit, it may not be used to transport explosives, radioactive materials, methane or other materials that are poisonous if inhaled.
Hours of Service Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limits the amount of hours a commercial vehicle driver may be behind the wheel without a rest break. A driver may drive a maximum of 11 hours in a single setting, and no driver may get behind the wheel after 14 hours on duty, regardless of how few hours he worked. After reaching their hours-of-service limits, drivers must have 10 hours of uninterrupted rest before being allowed to drive again.
All state driving laws apply to commercial vehicles such as moving vans. Some states may additionally limit commercial vehicles from operating on certain roads or in passing lanes during peak traffic hours.