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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: I don’t have to have a CDL to operate my vehicle. Why did a trooper pull me over and inspect my vehicle?
A: If you operate a vehicle in connection with your business, you will be considered commercial and inspected if your vehicle or combination of truck and trailer together, are over 10,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight rating for all companies that have vehicles that cross state lines and 26,001 lbs. or more if you never leave Alabama.
See: Federal Regulations

Q: The trooper wrote me a ticket for no medical card and no logbook. Why, my truck does not weigh enough to have a CDL?
A: If you meet the criteria in question 1, Even though you do not have to have a CDL, you are still required to have a current medical card. A logbook is required if you do not qualify for the 100 air-mile exemption.
See: Federal: Persons who must be medically examined and certified

Q: How do I qualify for the short haul exemption?
A: You can qualify for the short haul exemption if all of the following are met:

Short Haul Driver
A driver is not required to make out a log if the following criteria are met:
  1. The driver operates within a 100/150 air-mile (49 CFR 395.1) radius of the normal work reporting location
  2. The driver (except a driver salesperson) returns to the work reporting location and is released from work within 12 consecutive hours
  3. At least 10 consecutive hours off duty separate each 12 hours on duty
  4. The driver does not drive more than 11 hours
  5. The motor carrier maintains time records for 6 months showing:
  • The time the driver reports for duty each day
  • The time the driver is released from duty each day
  • Total number of hours on duty each day
  • Total time on duty for the preceding 7 days for drivers used for the first time or intermittently
Time records must also be maintained for days in which the driver does not work. Drivers are not required to have copies of the time records in their possession.

A driver can cross a state line and still come under the short haul exemption, if the five criteria listed above are met.

A short haul driver is not exempt from the 60–hour/7–day or 70-hour/8–day limit.

Q: Where do I get a medical card? Can my regular Doctor give me one?
A: Doctors who can perform medical exams will have the required forms.
See: Federal: Medical examination; certificate of physical examination PDF/136kb

Q: Do I have to have a DOT number?
A: If you meet the criteria of a commercial vehicle in Question 1, all commercial vehicles in Alabama must be marked with either an Interstate USDOT# or Intrastate USDOT#.
See: Marking of CMVs

Q: A trooper weighed my vehicle and said I was overweight. How can I figure out how much weight I can carry?
A: The manufacturer of the vehicle must put a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) on the vin spec plate of the vehicle(usually inside the drivers doorjam. A rating plate should be on the power unit and a rating plate should be on the trailer if a trailer is being used. You cannot carry more than the manufacturers rating. "No vehicle or combination of vehicles shall be permitted to operate on any portion of the Interstate Highway System of Alabama that shall have a greater weight than 20,000 pounds carried on any one axle…” Title 32-9-20(4)(c). Another guide is the computed gross weight table.
  • The formula used is: W = (500(LN + 12N + 36))/(N-1)
See: Department of Transporation, 32.9

Q: Where can I get books and information about these requirements?
A: The Alabama Trucking Association can help you with information about the requirements for running legally. You may view the regulations via the internet if you use the federal website.
See: Regulatory Guidance for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

Q: If my trucks are leased, do I have to repair the trucks or does the leasing company have to make the repairs?
A: That is between you and the company you lease from. If a citation was issued, you are responsible for paying any fines. You are also responsible for sending the driver/vehicle inspection form back to the Motor Carrier Safety Unit.

Q: I got a ticket when the trooper did an inspection, how much is the ticket and where do I pay it?
A: You must call the district court in the county where the ticket was issued. Each county sets the fines for tickets issued in their county. The fine will be sent to that court. The inspection form should be signed and sent to the Motor Carrier Safety Unit.

Q: How do I get a list of Alabama inspections reported to FMCSA.
A: You may purchase a carrier profile from us. This gives you a list of all inspections and accidents reported in Alabama. You may also get a carrier profile from FMCSA showing all reports and accidents nationwide.
See: Carrier Safety Profile Request Form

Q: Where can I get my truck tags.
A: The Alabama Dept. of Revenue issues all registration, tags, and fuel stickers. You can contact them at: 334-242-9000, 334-242-2999 or at their website: Alabama Department of Revenue

Highway Patrol Division


Captain Tim Pullin
Acting Division Chief

Motor Carrier Unit

Alabama Department of Public Safety
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