Commercial Motor Vehicle Groups
You must have a South Dakota Commercial Driver License to operate any of the following commercial motor vehicles (CMVs):
- A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds
- Any combination vehicle with a GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more towing a trailer with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more.
- A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more persons (including the driver)
- Any size vehicle which requires hazardous materials placards or is carrying material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR Part 73
These vehicles are grouped into various commercial motor vehicle (CMV) classes.
Class A – Combination Vehicles
Any combination of vehicles with gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. Most Class A vehicles are trucks, such as tractor-trailers or truck and trailer combinations.
Driving a Class A vehicle requires considerably more skill and knowledge than driving vehicles in Classes B or C. Because these skills include those required to drive a Class B and C vehicle (with appropriate endorsements), a driver with a Class A license also may drive vehicles in Classes B and C.
Class B – Heavy Straight Vehicles
Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds falls in Group B, or any such vehicle towing another vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR. Class B includes straight trucks and large buses.
Safely driving these heavy vehicles requires considerably more knowledge and skill than driving small trucks and buses found in Class C. Because they include the skills required to drive Class C vehicles (with appropriate endorsements), a driver with a Class B license may also drive vehicles in Class C.
Class C – Small Vehicles
Any single vehicle with a GVWR less than 26,001 pounds falls in Group C, or any such vehicle towing another vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR. However, vehicles of this size are included in the commercial drivers license (CDL) program only if they are:
- Designed to carry 16 or more passengers including the driver, or
- Used to transport hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding under hazardous materials regulations.
There is a great variety of vehicles in Class C, and some large ones may require more skill and knowledge to operate than smaller ones. However, the licensing category is based principally on the type of cargo carried. Because of the seriousness of an accident involving hazardous material or passengers, the safe operation of even the smallest vehicles in Class C requires special knowledge, and the drivers of these vehicles must have a CDL.