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Which Vehicles Qualify As Florida Commercial Motor Vehicles?


Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) make up a significant proportion of the traffic on U.S. highways, and yet many drivers have no idea which types of vehicles qualify. It may not seem relevant to most people, but in the event of a road accident, knowing these qualifications may help you decide how best to pursue a claim. CMVs are different animals than standard passenger vehicles, and filing suit against a CMV driver or operator must be done carefully.

Several Different Types

There are three criteria that a vehicle must meet in order to qualify as a CMV. It must (1) use ‘special’ or motor fuel on the highways; (2) not be owned or operated by a governmental entity, and (3) have either 3 or more axles, or weigh more than 26,001 pounds. As a result, there are several different types of trucks, buses, and vans that qualify – some include passenger vans and buses, dump trucks, flatbeds, big rigs, and pickup trucks with campers.

It is crucial to remember in particular that a vehicle owned by a governmental entity, no matter how large, does not qualify as a CMV. If you are involved in an accident with a government vehicle, you may have to seek damages under what is known as the Florida Tort Claims Act (FTCA), as many governmental entities are immune from suit. Commercial entities generally are not.

Why Does It Matter?

It is important for the average driver to understand the classification of a CMV because it can help them in the event of an accident. In Florida, an accident involving a CMV has certain factors involved that do not come up in crashes between two passenger vehicles. For example, the law requires that a traffic crash report always be filed in accidents involving CMVs, which can be full of information that can help a plaintiff in a future negligence lawsuit.

Another factor is that CMV drivers are subject not only to state laws and the rules of the road, but also to the oversight of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA has rules governing hours of service and other facets of commercial trucking, which are to be observed by drivers and their employers. Violating FMCSA rules, while not an immediate indicator of negligence, may be persuasive to a court in a lawsuit trying to definitively establish negligent behavior.

Contact A Tampa CMV Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial motor vehicle, your injuries are likely to be severe due to the size and speed of many of these vehicles. A Tampa CMV accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help you determine your best outcome after a crash. Contact our office for a free consultation today.



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