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Arnold & Itkin LLP Truck Accident Blog2020JulyDoes a Box Truck Require a Commercial Driver's License?

Does a Box Truck Require a Commercial Driver's License?

Box trucks are most notable for how many are on the road. Also known as a cube truck or a box van, these vehicles are popular moving vans and are available at most truck rental companies. While large, box trucks differ from semi-trucks because their cargo area is typically bolted to the frame of the vehicle rather than being a trailer that’s pulled by a cab.  

Why Don’t Box Trucks Require Commercial Licenses? 

In the United States, a box truck can be rented by someone without a commercial  driver’s license (CDL) license if it has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds or less. A vehicle’s GVWR is the most amount it can weight—including cargo—and still be operational. Any truck or van with a rating of 26,001 pounds or more requires at least a Class B CDL. However, some vehicles with a GVWR below 26,000 might require a commercial driver’s license. For example, busses and other for-hire vehicles require drivers to have a CDL.  

Rentable vehicles with a GVWR below 26,000 pounds include the following: 

  • Pickup trucks 
  • Box trucks 
  • Cargo Vans 
  • Utility Trucks 

While the operation of a semi-truck takes many hours of safety training, a CDL, and hands-on experience, the operation of a box truck does not require a commercial license if it is below a certain size. In the United States, this usually means that a person can rent a truck that is between 22 and 26 feet long without any training. In other words: a person’s first experience behind the wheel that’s larger than a sedan might be in a large box truck. 

Who Is Responsible for a Box Truck Accident? 

Two parties are typically responsible for a box truck accident: the driver of the vehicle and the company that allowed the reckless driver to use the vehicle. Companies are required to make sure they are renting their vehicles out to responsible individuals. If a rental service fails to use their discernment to stop a reckless or unlicensed person from using their vehicles, they might be liable for the accident. Additionally, rental companies are responsible for making sure the truck is safe to operate by keeping up with all vehicle maintenance such as tire changes, oil changes, and other types of mechanical upkeep. 

Next, the drivers of box trucks have the responsibility to make sure they can operate the vehicle safely. It’s simple: if a person doesn’t have the confidence, driving skills, or desire to drive safely, they shouldn’t be assuming control of a vehicle that is larger and heavier than most on the road.  

All drivers of box trucks should: 

  • Watch their surroundings 
  • Drive slower to account for longer stopping times 
  • Use their mirrors to check for smaller vehicles 
  • Reverse slowly and safely 
  • Respect their box truck’s need to make wide turns 
  • Avoid attempting maneuvers they are not comfortable with 

In short, if a person is renting a box truck, they are assuming the responsibility to drive it safely, whether they can do so or not. So, if a person is uncertain of their driving skills, they should consider hiring a professional driver or find the help of someone who is ready to operate a large and heavy vehicle!  


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