Truck Accident Attorney in Seattle

What is Considered a Commercial Vehicle

Most people picture 18-wheeler trucks that weigh tens of thousands of pounds and result in devastating damage in an accident when they wonder what is considered a commercial vehicle.

In truck accident law, as well as automobile accident law, where a passenger vehicle is involved. The question of whether or not a vehicle is designated a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is crucial. The ownership and operation of commercial vehicles are governed by a complex web of federal and state laws. Therefore, it is important to know if a vehicle, under the regulations and laws, is considered a commercial vehicle.

What is a Commercial Vehicle?

Few people are aware of how broadly a CMV might be defined. Tractor trailers are among the commercial vehicles that are simple to recognize. But what is considered a commercial vehicle?

It’s often one that is operated on a public highway for interstate commerce following federal definitions. Even if it does not match all other criteria, a vehicle that exceeds specific weight limits and transports hazardous chemicals or has a particular number of passenger seats is considered a commercial vehicle.

what is considered a commercial vehicle

Factors Determining Whether a Truck is Considered a Commercial Vehicle

Gross Combination Weight Rating

Should they have towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds when it is used in interstate, foreign, or intrastate commerce to transport people and or property and has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 26,001 pounds or more.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

It is defined as a heavy straight vehicle with a total weight of 26,001 pounds or more, which transports people and or property. It may also be utilized in interstate, international, or intrastate trade.

Transporting Passengers

A vehicle or combination vehicle which can transport 16 or more people, as well as the driver, and is used in interstate, foreign, or intrastate commerce is regarded as a commercial vehicle.

 Transporting Hazardous Materials

The commercial vehicle definition is a vehicle or combination vehicle that is used in interstate, international, or intrastate commerce to carry property, is of any size, and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials.

Why Does it Matter What a Vehicle is Considered?

If you can establish that a vehicle meets the definition of a CMV, certain Federal and/or State regulations and rules can apply to the operation of the vehicle on public roadways and highways.

In addition, specific training and standards of care can apply to the motor carrier and the commercial driver.

Establishing that a CMV was involved in an accident can target rules, regulations, and tools that can assist in establishing liability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does that Determination come into play when it Comes to Accidents?

Driving a huge truck that is fully laden is a challenging job that calls for accuracy and skill. To operate these large commercial vehicles safely, drivers must possess a valid license and have received the necessary training. When they don’t, fatal accidents may happen. According to statistics, truck drivers are mostly responsible for the majority of on-road trucking accidents.

What is the Difference Between a Commercial Vehicle and a Car?

The size distinction between the two types of vehicles is the most glaring. The size disparity is enormous and causes other differences.

Passenger automobiles are defined as motor vehicles with at least four wheels that are meant to carry people and have no more than eight-seat total, not including the driver’s seat. Light commercial vehicles, large trucks, coaches, and buses are all considered commercial vehicles.


Should you require assistance in figuring out what is considered a commercial vehicle and legal representation if you are involved in an accident with a vehicle, which is classified as a CMV, don’t hesitate to contact Coluccio Law.

Kevin Coluccio at Coluccio Law is a certified Truck Accident Attorney with expansive knowledge of commercial vehicles.  He would be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

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