Probably the number 1 question we get from drivers contacting us through our website or by phone is related to...When a driver needs to have a Class A CDL, and how is that determination made?
The simple answer is that any combination with a physical weight or a GVWR over 26,000 requires a class A. The confusion comes from understanding the difference between GVWR (rating) and the (actual) weight when a combination crosses a scale.
Let's assume for now you are operating under 26,000. Your truck a Dodge RAM 3500 will have on the door jam a GVWR sticker, which depending upon the year, will be around 11,500 lbs. You will then match your trailer with a GVWR sticker of 14,500 pounds. The 2 weights, in combination then equal a GVWR of 26,000. This is the RATING of the combination and not the actual physical weight. You will never put 14,500 lbs on your trailer and operate “under” 26,000 lbs. It's the rating or the limit of what the trailer can weigh with a load, and not what the trailer actually weighs.
Where guys get jammed up with the DOT is when their truck is rated in combination with a trailer over 26,000 pounds and they don’t have a Class A CDL. When the rating of the combination is over 26,000 only a class A CDL driver can legally drive the combination even if it is empty. So if your combination is rated 28,000 and roll across a scale at 25,000, the driver still needs a class A CDL.
So what do you do if you want to stay under 26,000 GVWR your truck is rated at 11,500 and you can’t find a trailer rated at 14,500…. These and many other weight related questions will be answered in our upcoming driver training on Feburary 22nd. We invite you to attend.