Changes in American life over the past couple of decades have blurred the lines between personal and commercial vehicles. Many families have opted to purchase larger vehicles because they want more power or the ability to carry around more cargo. On the other hand, some businesses have been inclined to cut down on the size of their vehicles due to fuel costs and the increased use of outside contractors to haul goods. Numerous regulations specifically govern the use of commercial vehicles, and if you make a living as a driver or have been in an accident involving a business vehicle, it’s important to understand where the law stands.

Under Illinois law, commercial motor vehicles include the following:

  • Vehicles weighing at least 10,000 pounds which are used to transport property or passengers for commercial purposes
  • Trucks and other vehicles carrying hazardous materials in an amount sufficient to require a placard under the Illinois Hazardous Materials Transport Act
  • Buses and other vehicles designed to carry at least 15 people or that carry nine or more people in exchange for direct compensation

Typically, semi trucks (tractor-trailers), box trucks and buses are considered commercial vehicles and may require special licensing based on their size and use. For example, you need a Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to operate a truck with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating exceeding 26,000 pounds. The same license, along with a passenger endorsement, is also required to drive a bus built to transport 16 or more people.

Several types of vehicles that might have a commercial use do not fall into this category. Box trucks rented by U-Haul and other companies are not commercial vehicles. The same goes for motor homes and other recreational vehicles usually associated with personal use. Heavy agricultural and construction equipment might be mobile, but are not meant for traveling on public roads, so they do not qualify either.

If your job requires that you obtain a CDL, you must get extra training and guard against violations that could put your livelihood at risk. Skinner Law Firm, P.C. in Bridgeview defends commercial vehicle operators who have received traffic citations either on the job or while driving their personal car or truck.

Our firm also represents Illinois clients who have been injured in accidents involving commercial vehicles and other types of trucks. These claims are often complicated by the fact that the driver might not be the owner of the vehicle, so various parties could be liable for the crash. You can rely on us for knowledgeable counsel to help you pursue fair compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.

To make an appointment for a free initial consultation with an accomplished Chicago-area lawyer, please call 312-635-6459 or contact us online.