NYS has apparently came up with a new DMV law about 4 years ago and forgot to tell anybody.. So now you can't drive your fire truck back from a fire call or go to a parade unless you have a CDL.


Our station may have to go "out of service" until we can match this requirement although NYS Association of Fire Chiefs think they have control over all of the volunteer stations. We do not have the funds or the manpower to meet this requirement. Our Governor is too busy with cuts to the budget to tackle this problem at this time.

So what do you think.

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From the FASNY Legislative Affairs Office

Countless inquiries have been generated from all over NYS regarding a recent opinion issued by NYS Department of Motor Vehicles that requires a CDL license to drive Fire Apparatus. The confusion surrounds an amendment to the NYS Transportation Bond Act of 2005 which went largely unobserved because the amendments were inconsistent, confusing and arguably unenforceable because of their vague nature.

Three years later,a group of Volunteer Fire Service leaders discovered the language of the Bond act and without advice of Counsel, asked the NYS DMV for an opinion as to what the amendments meant. DMV responded with an unfavorable opinion which basically stated that you could drive apparatus to an emergency but could not drive it back to the Firehouse without a CDL.

Obviously this was not the intent of NYS legislators voting on the Bond Act or the Governor who signed it at that time, and it has become clear that it is the intent of the Federal Government to allow states to grant exemptions to volunteer organizations for their vehicles without the threat of conflict with Federal Statutes or funding streams.

That the question was asked of DMV three years later forced the unfavorable opinion and current situation but it also necessitated amendatory legislation to immediately correct the unintended prohibition. The bills will be sponsored by Senator Brian Foley and Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, both from Long Island, and we expect swift passage.

Basically, the bills delete the language in the vehicle and traffic law that disallowed the CDL exemption that existed before 2005. With this language deleted there will be no requirement for a CDL for any emergency vehicle use by volunteer fire company personnel.

The NYS Association of Fire Chiefs with FASNY and the Association of Fire Districts have worked together, through Senator Charles Schumer's office to get clarification from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on this issue. The FMCSA has stated to the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles that the exemption from the CDL requirement enjoyed before the 2005 would not endanger federal highway funds. DMV is supportive of changing the law. Now time is of the essence.

Although there are no bill numbers assigned, interested parties are urged to communicate with Senator Foley and Assemblyman Sweeney by going to WWW.FASNY.com and clicking on LEGISLATION. There you will be given an opportunity to register your email address and within the next few days the bills will be assigned numbers. Using the bill numbers you can correspond directly with the legislators and express your support.
sorry to hear that.. dont know if pa has that law yet or not... maybe they do since they dindt tell u guys they might not have told anyone around here... i know if it really does happen there will prob be alot of departments in trouble... cant just leave a truck on scene.... and if u cant get it home some ppl wont take them out... how would the ppl that made this law feel if it was their house on fire and no trucks showed up??
Wow that sucks but i think we are we do not have that requirements yet here in NJ but ill check it out
"We do not have the funds or the manpower"

I didn't realize it was that expensive to get a commercial endorsement there. In Texas, you take and pass the written and driving exam, pay the fee $60, have your picture taken.

My department requires a commercial license for all operators, in addition to 25 hrs of supervised driver training and completion of EVOC. We also will not allow anyone under age 18 to operate any apparatus.
If your department operates on a $16,000.00 a year budget that includes payments on electricity, fuel to heat, and maintenance on your vehicles and their fuel. $60.00 can be a budget buster.
Don't feel like the Lone Ranger up there in NYS. It is the same here in Texas but it is not a CDL, you have to atleast have what they call a Class B Exempt license. It is there way of knowing and testing you to see if you are able to drive an Emergency Vehicle just short of having a CDL.
If you do not have this, then it is the same as it is up there. You can take it to the scene, but you ain't driving it back. So you better hope someone there has the Class B Exempt or technically it is stuck there till someone is able to get it back.
This only applies to apparatus such as Engine, Tanker or Ladder, the bigger trucks over 26001 LBS.
The test to get this license is very similar to getting the CDL in fact it may be the same, you just do not have the classes you take to get the CDL and cost less than 20 bucks.
No, we don't have this law. All you need in PA is EVOC training and in-house training on how to drive and operate. No CDL required to go to or from an incident.
This is a federal law, not state. I am using this as a recruiting tool to get new members. I dont agree with it but it is what it is, the current law.
This not only effects the volunteer fire service but also the paid guys as well. And as usual my friend Mary Ellen has all the info you need to know , but the important part is that YOU the street level firefighter take the time to call or email your elected officials and let your thoughts be known!! they work for you. They need to hear it from you, not just the associations.
Tn has the same law, I personally think it is a good idea to have them. As for the cost a class B license here cost you twelve dollars for the written test and 20 dollars for the driving test.
The waiver not requiring a CDL, Class B, etc was designed to fill in the cracks during an emergency only. My small VFD operates off a very limited budget also and has a few FFs qualified to drive the tanker/engine without the waiver. Sensing liability we don't want to give our precious funds away to a shark lawyer by being penny wise and pound foolish. We''ll continue to use qualified drivers and use the waiver only when absolutely necessary. Parades. funerals and showing off are not emergencies. TCSS
After 30 plus years, I can't see how this works for a "recruiting tool?" The firefighting requirements have more than tripled since I joined back in 1976 and yet the fires seem to be the same. If you haven't noticed, the membership has dropped along with the rise of requirements. Somewhere there has to be a middle level, I guess it is the million dollar question. As for the law sharks, we the public have let them have their way with us through our instance on suing everyone and everything we see. It seems the almighty $$$$$ has blinded our common sense.

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