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6.1 Hiring Qualified Drivers (Part 391)

Motor carriers must ensure and verify that their CMV drivers meet the minimum requirements specified in 49 CFR 391 before operating a vehicle. CMV owner–operators must comply with both rules that apply to motor carriers and rules that apply to drivers. An owner–operator is a person who operates a CMV under his or her own authority (U.S. DOT Number), as both a motor carrier and self-employed driver.

To drive a CMV in interstate commerce, drivers must comply with the general qualifications outlined in 49 CFR 391.11, including:

  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Speak and read English satisfactorily to:
    • Converse with the general public;
    • Understand traffic signs and signals;
    • Respond to official questions; and
    • Make legible entries on reports and records.
  • Drive the vehicle safely.
  • Be physically qualified to perform all duties of a driver.
  • Have only one valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued by one State or jurisdiction.
  • Provide an employing motor carrier with:
    • A list of all motor vehicle violations; or
    • A signed statement that the driver has not been convicted of any motor vehicle violations during the past 12 months.
  • Pass a driver’s road test or equivalent.

A disqualified driver must not drive a commercial motor vehicle for any reason. See 49 CFR 391.15.

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