Generally, you must have a CDL to operate a motor vehicle on highways or premises open to the public in Oregon if the gross vehicle weight or gross vehicle weight rating is greater than 26,000 pounds, the vehicle is used to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, or the vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials. Exceptions exist for recreational vehicles operated solely for personal use, certain farm vehicles
when the driver is operating within the limitations of a farm endorsement, emergency fire vehicles operated by firefighters as defined in ORS 652.050, and emergency vehicles operated by emergency service workers as defined in ORS 401.025.
Issuance of a CDL or permit for operating a CMV in interstate commerce is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Oregon statute. Interstate commerce is defined as trade, traffic or transportation:
- Between a place in a state and a place outside such state;
- Between two places in a state through another state or a place outside of the United States; or
- Between two places in a state as part of trade, traffic or transportation originating or terminating outside the United States.
In other words, you may be engaged in interstate commerce even if your vehicle does not leave the state.
Interstate commerce may be “non-excepted” or “excepted”. All federal rules and standards are applicable to drivers of vehicles in non-excepted interstate commerce, while some federal rules and standards are not applicable to drivers of vehicles in excepted interstate commerce. Excepted interstate commerce includes:
- Transportation of school children and/or school staff between home and school;
- Operation by Federal, State or local government employees;
- Transportation of human corpses or sick or injured persons;
- Operation of fire truck or rescue vehicle during emergencies and other related activities;
- Transportation of propane winter heating fuel when responding to an emergency condition requiring immediate response such as damage to a propane gas system after a storm or flooding;
- Operation of vehicles responding to a pipeline emergency condition requiring immediate response such as a pipeline leak or rupture;
- Custom harvesting on a farm or to transport farm machinery and supplies used in the custom harvesting operation to and from a farm or to transport custom harvested crops to storage or market;
- Seasonal transportation of bees by beekeepers;
- Operation of a vehicle controlled and operated by a farmer, but is not a combination vehicle (power unit and towed unit), and is used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies (no placardable hazardous materials) to and from a farm and within 150 air-miles of the farm;
- Operation by a private motor carrier of passengers for non-business purposes; or
- Transportation of migrant workers.
Issuance of a CDL or permit for operating a CMV in intrastate or excepted interstate commerce is regulated by Oregon statute. Intrastate commerce is any trade, traffic, or transportation in any state which is not described in the term interstate commerce.
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