1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Cdl license excemptions for firefighters

    I am looking for information pertaining to the Federal State that supercedes State Law regarding CDL excemptions for firefighters. I know that there is a federal exemption law that was implemented by Congress that exempts all firefighters, paid or volunteer, from having to obtain a CDL license for operating a fire truck. Any help would be greatly appreciated in getting the information and/or Law # on this. Thanks

    Bill Little

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    From the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations:
    Subpart A - General
    382.103 Applicability

    (d) Exceptions
    (3)(ii) Firefighters or other persons who operate motor vehicles which are necessary for the preservation of life or property or the execution of emergency governmental functions, are equipped with audible and visual signals, and are not subject to normal traffic regulation.

    Hope this helps.


  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I doubt the above would exempt you if the State Motor Vehicles requires you to have a CDL. My state requires a CDL or a "2Q" which is the road test for a CDL without the written part.

    And the way I'd read our vehicle code, a fire truck is operating under normal traffic regulations, but is given specific circumstances were it may disregard certain parts (such as one way streets) while operating lights and sirens. Others, like weight limits, are still enforced.

    What happens when the calls over and you need to return to the station without lights & sirens, no emergency exists, and no statutory exemption exists from normal traffic regulations?

    If your State DMV says CDL required, they're probably in the best position to say. Because I'm certain there's states were fire trucks do fall outside of normal regulations, and others that consider them just another tanker like the oil truck going down the road.


  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    New Hampshire took the waiver and allows firefighters to not obtain a CDL. But my understanding has always been (and I may very well be wrong) that without a CDL, someone could drive to a scene with lights and siren as an emergency vehicle, but once the emergency is over, i.e. returning to the station, a CDL would be required as the vehicle is no longer operating under emergency conditions.
    PS- My Department requires it for full-time staff, but no CDL is required for Call personnel.


  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Everyone is probably going to flip out when I say this, but if you need to pass a specific test to be a firefighter (ie, FF1 or FF2) then you should have to have certification to drive also. I think a CDL for the engineer is important. A small example of why...When I got my NYS CDL in 1995, one of the things that I had to pass on my written and practical tests was sound knowledge of air brake systems and how they work/fail. How many engineers today, especially volunteers know the in's and out's of their braking systems...I would say that less than half of the fire truck operators using airbrakes today are educated....just a small point as to why CDL's are impt.

  6. #6
    Capt. Zada
    Firehouse.com Guest



    U.S.D.O.T. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

    Look at 390.3(f)(5). Also 390.3(f)(2)is rather interesting.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I want to thank all those who responded. You were able to provide me with the information I was searching for and I really appreciate it. Hopefully it will help all fire fighters nationwide. Thanks again.

    Bill Little

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