Do you really need a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) to drive a box truck? Well, if your box truck is like most box trucks available on the market, you don’t.
However, if it is a big and heavy box truck you do. You need a CDL if your box truck weighs more than 26,000 pounds in terms of GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating).
If you have a normal box truck, you do not need to worry much about a CDL as stated above. This is because most box trucks are made to be driven using the normal driver’s license.
So if you have a box truck or you intend to rent one, you should know that you most likely do not need a CDL to drive it. However, to be sure, you will need to know its GVWR to know for sure that you do not need a CDL to drive it.
The definition of a box truck
There are many types of box trucks on our roads. They differ in size, shape, and other things. However, while they are different in several ways, they are all called box trucks because of their elongated chassis.
The elongated chassis or frame has a box fitted permanently on it. This box is what gives box trucks their name. Box trucks are also called straight trucks because they are one stretched piece of equipment and not two like semi-trailers and other trucks.
The uses of box trucks
Box trucks are mainly used for deliveries. Their relatively small size makes them ideal for delivering goods/parcels.
This is because of two things. First, it makes them cheaper to drive in terms of the gas economy. Second, it makes them easier to maneuver and park in city streets.
Box trucks are also used for moving houses. They are perfect for moving for individuals who do not have a lot of stuff e.g. students or those living in small studio apartments.
Small professional service providers such as cleaning services companies, plumbing contractors, and electricians, also use the box truck. They use it to carry everything they need to offer their services.
Lastly, box trucks are rented. They are rented by companies such as PENSKE and U-Haul for various uses including moving houses and carrying small cargo.
- Related: Do I need a cdl to drive a box truck of 24 ft dimension?
Do you need a CDL to drive a box truck?
Generally, you do not need a CDL to drive a box truck. This is because box trucks are generally small and lightweight and, therefore, do not need a special driver’s license. However, to know for sure that you do not need a CDL, you should know the GVWR of your truck.
If the truck has a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or more, you need a CDL to drive it. GVWR is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. It indicates the weight of the vehicle and its maximum payload capacity. The GVWR is not affected by the weight of the cargo carried.
So it does not matter if you want to carry one thing or to fill your box truck to capacity. If your vehicle’s GVWR is 20,000 pounds, the figure will remain the same regardless of the weight of what you put in your box truck.
You will find the unchanging GVWR of your box truck indicated in the door jamb of your box truck as Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR).
But you will need to add the GAWR of both axles to find out the GVWR of your vehicle. If doing this math is too much for you, you should simply Google the GVWR of your box truck. You will know it within seconds when you do this.
If you find out your box truck has a GVWR of more than 26,000, you will need to get the CDL to drive it. If it is not more than 26,000 pounds, you can drive it with your basic driver’s license.
Why most box trucks don’t require a CDL and the vehicles that require it
Across the United States, people use box trucks extensively. They are used to carry goods, equipment, or furniture. Some are owned by businesses while others are owned by vehicle rental and moving companies.
The vast majority of box trucks on American roads are those that are between 22 and 26 ft. long. And they have a GVWR of less than 26,000. Because their GVWR is under 26,000 pounds, they do not require a CDL.
Big and long trucks typically require a CDL. Examples include big and long box trucks, utility trucks, semi-trailers, and buses. All these vehicles require a CDL.
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Who gets the blame in case of a box truck accident?
Two parties often get the blame or are held responsible in case of an accident involving a box truck – the individual behind the wheel and the company they work for.
The individual gets the blame because they were driving the truck, and the company that hired them gets the blame if it is found that they failed to take precautionary measures.
For example, if it is found that the company failed to take precautionary measures such as failed to ensure regular tire changes and this contributed to the accident, it will be held partly responsible.
Sometimes, accidents involving a box truck are not the responsibility of the driver and their company but the responsibility of a third party.
For example, a third party could be an oncoming vehicle overtaking suddenly or in a spot where overtaking is not recommended resulting in an accident.
Often police and investigators are relied on to create a timeline of events and to determine who was responsible for what.
Their statements are relied upon by insurers to make insurance payouts. They are also relied upon by those filing lawsuits. In case you are asked to assume responsibility, you should call your attorney before saying anything.