• Kenneth Powell

What Is Considered a Commercial Vehicle in Missouri?

Generally speaking, any vehicle used for transporting goods or fare-paying passengers from one location to another is called a commercial vehicle (CMV). In the US, this term is a bit narrower, as it refers to any towed or self-propelled vehicle used for the same purposes.

Still, while this definition applies to the country as a whole, each state has its own requirements that a vehicle must meet to be called commercial. Here is what the law mandates in Missouri.


Missouri CMV Definition

Missouri CMV Definition


In Missouri, any vehicle designed or regularly used for carrying merchandise, freight, or more than eight passengers is seen as commercial. The only exceptions are vanpools and shuttle buses.

However, the definition changes depending on the type of commerce a vehicle is used for. In other words, there are differences between interstate and intrastate CMVs.


Interstate vs. Intrastate CMVs


As their name suggests, interstate CMVs travel between multiple states and carry goods or passengers. Their gross combination weight or gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) needs to be at least 10,001 lbs.

Interstate CMVs are those that can fit nine or more passengers, including the driver. Finally, such vehicles are also commercial if they transport material in a quantity that legally requires placards.

On the other hand, intrastate CMVs operate wholly within Missouri’s borders. As such, the conditions they must meet are slightly different from the ones that move beyond the state.

For one, the actual weight or GVWR of the vehicle must be no less than 26,001 lbs. The passenger and hazardous material transport rules are the same as for interstate vehicles.

There is one more feature that can distinguish an intrastate CMV. Namely, it has to weigh at least 10,001 lbs. and transport any amount of hazardous material within the state.


Markings for CMVs in Missouri


Regardless of where they operate, all CMVs must bear proper markings to be on the road. Again, the type of marking depends on whether the vehicle serves for interstate or intrastate commerce.


Interstate Markings

All interstate commercial vehicles must bear the following labels:

● The motor carrier’s identification number is preceded by USDOT (e.g., USDOT 579201)

● The motor carrier’s legal name or trade name

● Any other vital identifying information

These marks have to appear on both sides of the vehicle. In addition, they must contrast sharply with the background so as to be fully visible to everyone. While the vehicle is stationary, the signage must be legible from a 50-foot distance in the daylight.

Drivers can choose between two ways of marking their vehicles. One is to paint all the relevant information on it, while the other is to write it on a sign and put it on the vehicle. As long as all the data is visible, it is completely up to the operator.

Finally, drivers must ensure that the marking is in pristine condition. In other words, they must replace it as soon as it becomes ineligible due to age or damage from external conditions.

Intrastate Markings

Every intrastate commercial vehicle operated for-hire must bear the following markers:

● The motor carrier’s identification number is preceded by USDOT and followed by MO (e.g., USDOT 579201 MO)

● The motor carrier’s legal name or trade name

● The vehicle’s owner's legal name and address

All interstate for-hire passenger carriers (like limousines designed for 13 or less) can display their USDOT number on the rear of the vehicle instead of the side. For limousines, the exception is justified because they require a certain aesthetic appearance that the sign might disrupt.

If a private motor operator drives the vehicle, they must display:

● The vehicle owner’s legal name and address

● The word “local” in bold lettering

The same marking visibility and maintenance rules apply to these vehicles as for the interstate ones.


Enforcing the Rules


The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division is there to ensure that all drivers comply with these rules. Officers have the right to inspect all vehicles on the road and confirm that they meet all the necessary requirements. It is important that the vehicle is safe to operate, which is why it's important to ensure how far the tires stick out in Missouri. Aside from checking the vehicle, they can also ask for proof of a commercial driver’s license (CDL). You can find out which vehicles require a CDL in Missouri.

Officers can issue fines and citations if drivers break the law. By doing so, they ensure the safety of all commercial drivers as well as everyone else around them.


For any questions regarding operating CMVs, you may consult experienced truck accident lawyers in St Louis.