Are all pickups in California commercial?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Are all pickups in California commercial? We will explain what a commercial vehicle is, why pickups are considered commercial, and how to register your truck as a commercial vehicle. 

Are all pickups in California commercial?

Yes, pickups in California are considered commercial vehicles. The reason for this is because a pickup truck has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more). Thus, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), you need a CDL to drive a pickup truck. 

Commercial vehicles carry passengers and goods where they need to go for any business. The transportation itself can be to get people to destinations or to take employees to workplaces; Goods can be moved from one business location to another or directly to individual customers.

Operating a commercial vehicle requires a special driver’s license and trademarks, including a DOT number that stands for supervision by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).

USDOT classifies vehicles as commercial if they are:

  • Designed to carry more than 15 passengers
  • Weighing more than 10,000 pounds
  • With a towed unit or the total weight of the units at 26,001 pounds, or weighing more than 26,001 pounds alone.
  • Additionally, any vehicle that is used to transport hazardous materials is considered a commercial vehicle.

Commercial vehicles designed for heavy loads may involve trailer units, which are larger and more difficult to handle. Driving these vehicles requires great skill and knowledge, plus operational and safety training for any additional equipment. 

What is a commercial vehicle?

A commercial vehicle is any vehicle designed to transport merchandise and passengers for business purposes.

You can take people to a personal destination, take them on a sightseeing tour, or transport employees to their workplace.

When the vehicle transports merchandise, it moves them from one business location to another. You can also take the merchandise directly to customers.

Some of these vehicles are designed to carry heavy loads, such as trailer units, which are more powerful and wider than most vehicles. Driving these types of vehicles requires excellent awareness and impeccable driving skills.

To operate a commercial vehicle, you need a special license from the United States Department of Transportation. The license is called a commercial driver’s license (or CDL).

What is classified as a commercial vehicle?

According to the FMCSA, a commercial motor vehicle has a “gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more.” However, it is important to know that a commercial vehicle is not defined by its weight, but by its weight rating.

Here are three ways an ordinary vehicle can be considered a commercial vehicle:

  • Passenger transport. If a car is designed to carry more than 16 people, including the driver, then it is a commercial vehicle. So if you have a small bus or van, you can use it to carry a limited number of passengers.
  • Gross weight classification. A vehicle with a gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more is considered a commercial vehicle.
  • Transport hazardous material. Any vehicle that transports hazardous materials is a commercial vehicle.

Different types of commercial vehicles

Now that you have a better understanding of what a commercial vehicle is, let’s get to know different types of commercial vehicles.

If you are an entrepreneur, choosing the correct vehicle is essential. Different businesses have different requirements. If you want products to reach your customers quickly and comfortably, the right vehicle will make the difference.

For example, most people use vans when there is a need to haul more than a regular car can carry. But workers in the construction industry need very large vehicles, such as trucks, with ample cargo space for their materials and tools.

Check out the types of commercial vehicles below to help you make a better decision.

  1. Commercial cars. If you have a small business and need to transport a few materials, tools or supplies, then a car is the best option. With a commercial car, you can take people to a destination or deliver a small load.

The best thing about a small vehicle is that it is easier to manoeuvre and no specialized driving training is needed. Better yet, small cars are inexpensive, and you’ll spend less on repairs, maintenance, and gas.

Also, commercial cars come in various styles. If you need more cargo space, a station wagon or a hatchback are the perfect options. Since they tend to have folding seats and better towing capacity, these two vehicles offer large cargo space and good fuel efficiency.

  1. Commercial SUV.  In today’s world, professionals have started to use SUVs as an alternative to commercial trucks. Although most SUVs don’t have high towing capacity like heavy trucks, they are capable of decent capacity.

If you need to transport passengers to a job site, a full-size SUV with a capacity of approximately 8 or 9 people will be a great choice as it is cost-effective, efficient, and economical.

Most SUVs are built with folding rear seats that will allow you to configure the interior in a way that fits all of your passengers or your cargo. Midsize SUVs are excellent commercial vehicles for less bulky jobs.

  1. Commercial Trucks & Vans . Trucks and vans are the most common type of commercial vehicles. Both of these vehicles are designed with ample cargo space. Similarly, both types of vehicles have powerful engines.

Heavy trucks are used in many industries for towing and hauling. A large truck powered by a V-8 engine will tow something that a regular vehicle cannot. And although vans have the least towing capacity, they are great for hauling cargo.

How to register a commercial vehicle?

Now that you know what a commercial vehicle is and the different types, we will explain the registration process to you.

When registering a commercial vehicle, make sure you know the laws and requirements of your city or state.

  1. Local vehicle registration Each state has a different meaning for what they consider to be a commercial vehicle. Therefore, check with your local DMV to see if the car you want to register can be considered commercial.

In the US, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that you must have a DOT number before registering your car.

  1. The next step will be to fill out a form online or directly at a local DMV office. You will have to provide information such as:
  • DOT number
  • Tax ID
  • Type and size of the vehicle you are registering

There may be other information or additional documents that you will need to complete the registration. You may need to report on:

  •  The weight of your vehicle
  • Your location
  •  Insurance information
  • The property title
  • An official ID.

If your registration is successful, you will receive a license and stickers to place on the registered vehicle. You will receive two of them for each vehicle. You must display the decals properly and replace them annually along with the license.

The above registration processes will help you avoid legal problems. We hope that you now have a clear idea about what a commercial vehicle is and how to register for one. 

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Are all pickups in California commercial?

How to know if a vehicle is commercial?

Commercial vehicles are defined as motor vehicles – together with those that tow (trailers and semi-trailers) – intended for the transport of goods or people by road. Trucks, road trains, articulated trucks, buses and special vehicles form part of this type of vehicle.

Who can buy a commercial vehicle?

Anyone can buy a commercial vehicle. The commercial vehicle must be subject to economic activity of at least 50%. ATVs cannot be registered as Adaptive Mixed Vehicles.

How can I know what type of vehicle I have?

You should know that the type to which your vehicle belongs is defined by a four-digit figure that appears on its Technical Sheet of the vehicle. In this green or white card, depending on its age, the classification of the vehicle appears according to a 4-digit code.


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