Our new engine is a sterling cab, wieghs well over 26000 pounds I'm not sure of the excact wieght and has air brakes. At my day job I have to have CDLs to drive an f-750 that wieghs 28000 pounds and has air brakes. Tn law states any vehicle with air brakes or excedes the wieght limit of 26000 pounds you have to have a class b cdl to drive it. But there is an excemption for emergency vehicles that just doesnt make sense to me. does anyone elses dept. require cdls or anyone think they should. I think you should have to have cdls and have evoc tought by a state instructor before you can drive. Just my opinion.
10-19-08 I contacted The Tennessee DMV and they told me that a non cdl driver could drive an engine to an emergency under the excemtion law but would be breaking the law if they drove back to the station to get fuel or was just out driving. The dmv also if a non cdl driver was involved in an accident driving a large truck they would be driving a commercial vehicle without a license and could lose their license or have to do jail time. They also told me all that was needed was a class be cdl in Tn thats only 2 written test and a short on road driving test.

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What is a CDL? I suppose it's similar to our requirement, where you need extra training and testing for different weights of vehicle?

We have to abide by the law - no endorseement for the heavier vehicle then you don't drive it. At all. If volunteers don't have the endorsement when they join, then the Service will cover all costs to get them there. We have people qualified to train and test so cost is minimised! It helps to be a State run Fire Service! We also have to have passed our Services driving course before we're allowed to drive lights and sirens.

To be allowed to drive a large heavy vehicle for emergencies but not under normal conditions is stupid.
CDL = Commercial Drivers License and it is the US version of your drivers license endorsement for said vehicle weights and air brakes, tank, tractor-trailer etc.
Thanks FETC. I thought so.
The problem with the fire departments paying to get their members a cdl is once they have it they can go get a job drive for trucking companies or become delivery drivers and not be around to drive the trucks.

We all know if someone can get a job to better support their families even if it is at the fire departments expense they will do it.

So now if you make CDL'S manditory and it should be the department who pays to send the drivers to get them how do you keep the members from getting the CDL and using it for jobs and not what they are supposed to be for.
Are you saying they don't work now?
If a skill or qualification obtained as a firefighter helps someone to get a better job, isn't that a good thing overall? After all, if a you're a vol then it's family, work then firefighter, in that order of priority. If someone gets the CDL and then gets a better job, is that necessarily going to make them less available? They're still going to be at home and able to turnout at times.

Getting endoresements isn't all that expensive here, so having someone join just to get them is highly unlikely. Especially with a Brigade like mine where you won't be given the chance to get the required endorsement for at least two years!
Sounds like most states do it the same, I can only tell you what I think on Illinois law. We are excempt from a CDL, and now is where you got to love lawyers, only going to a fire or emergancy, the ride home is a different story. Now if you happen to get in a wreck going to; your insurance carrier may not cover because you don't have a CDL. Some have said a class B will work, I'm not sure as most of todays trucks have aid brakes. They say if you have a certified drivers training program in place, that covers you.There is way to much shades of gray in this law, The only way to find out for sure is to have a claim, spend the $75 and get your CDL, then I know you are covered.
I agree with you 100% about the CDL and EVOC. Sometimes we assume because you drove yourself to work that you are ready to drive apparatus, but how wrong we are. Perhaps, with more designated and certified drivers their will be more pride in the position. In my department, if you are assigned to drive, it's because no one else wanted to and it sucks.
Yes they work what I was saying is if they get a better paying job driving trucks for a living and are not around to drive the fire trucks then the department shelled out the money and are not getting what they paid for.

And yes it is nice if they get a better paying job for their family but what has the department gained?
I do not think a CDL should be required to drive a fire truck. All that should be required is a certified driver ops course from your station coupled with an EVOC course from the County, City, or State. Just my opinion.
This is a good thought if the "good ole boy" system wasn't so prevolant in the country. A CDL is a standard which is a graded and certified course. I know the cost is high but I do think everyone should be required to get a CDL. There is a HUGE differance from "pointing the truck and going" and truely understanding driving and the dynamics involved.
(for the record I don't have a CDL. yet)
(think of 26,000 pounds+ in a dump truck. The dump truck usually maintains normal speed and drives in normal conditions. Now take a 26,000 pound piece of apparatus. Lights on, siren going, radio barking out orders and updates, congested traffic at an "increased" (I'm being nice) level of speed. Thats the major differance between aiming and driving)
I truly understand the "good 'ol boy" system. I have seen it many times. But someone who really wants to be better than that will seek a city or state course to take. I do have a CDL and it IS expensive. Alot of volunteers cannot afford to take a CDL course. Should they then not be allowed to drive, even if they are seasoned veterans and are good and safe at driving/pumping? Making this rule hurts alot of good volunteer departments. If a department/county is willing to pay for it...good deal. Knowledge and training IS power and promotes more safety. But, when rules like this are made, all aspects of fire departments should be concidered.(like paid, combination, paid on call, and volunteer.) I say we should instead have the Individual states make, enforce, and regulate (through state law enforcement) one set standard for drivers training/EVOC courses on all driver/ pump operators. And if on an audit any department allows anyone to drive who is not certified, they are heavily fined and made to take corrective actions.

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