What is a commercial vehicle?

When we talk about commercial vehicle accidents, we often discuss crashes involving massive tractor trailers. However, these are not the only type of commercial vehicles. In fact, there are several different types of vehicles that fall into the category of commercial vehicle.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, if a vehicle is used to transport goods or passengers and also meets specific weight, passenger capabilities and/or hazardous cargo requirements, the vehicle is a commercial vehicle. Generally speaking, if a vehicle is very large and/or used for commercial purposes, it can be considered a commercial vehicle.

The following is a list of vehicles that are typically considered commercial vehicles.

  • Passenger vans
  • Passenger buses
  • Cargo van
  • Box truck
  • Flatbed truck
  • Catering truck
  • Limousines
  • Motor home
  • Hearses
  • Delivery trucks and vans
  • Ice cream trucks
  • Garbage trucks
  • Taxis
  • Food trucks
  • Tractor trailers
  • Tanker trucks

Knowing that there are a number of different types of commercial vehicles is important, particularly if you are involved in an accident with one of them. There are different rules and regulations for commercial drivers and vehicles than there are for regular motorists and cars, which can affect things like liability after a crash.

If you are injured in an accident with a bus or taxi, for instance, that vehicle should be insured as a commercial vehicle, and the driver is required to have a commercial driver's license to lawfully operate the bus, van or truck. There are also regulations involving drunk driving, hours of service and inspections with which commercial drivers and vehicles must comply or face penalties. Further, there may be other parties carrying liability, including the owner of the vehicle and the driver's employer.

With all this in mind, we encourage anyone who has been injured in an accident with a commercial car, truck, van or bus to consult an attorney to assess the situation. Details like whether a vehicle is a commercial vehicle or not can have a considerable impact on liability, negligence and the compensation that may be available.

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