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This is an excerpt from FMCSA's Motor Carrier Safety Planner specific to your interests. As you navigate through the pages, pay close attention to any notes and highlights. Click here to read the entire Safety Planner and find more resources to help you comply with safety regulations.

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.
  • Pass a driver’s road test or equivalent.
  • Is not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle under the rules in 49 CFR 391.15.

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

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