Ugh. I've read the rules and been confused. Haven't you? I was speaking with a landscaper yesterday and getting their insight.: They said what I thought I understood when I read the rules: When pulling a trailer with a non-CDL truck, you need to add both the trailer GVWR and the truck GVWR together and if it >= 26,001#, you need a CDL. Fortunately, I found today that YOU DON'T! Yep, I read on both the FMCSA website and PA DOT website. FMCSA website states "Question 6: A driver operates a tractor of exactly 26,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), towing a trailer of exactly 10,000 pounds GVWR, for a GCWR of 36,000 pounds. HM and passengers are not involved. Is it a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)s and does the driver need a CDL?
No to both questions. Although the vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 36,000 pounds, it is not a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) under any part of the definition of that term in §383.5, and a CDL is not federally required."
Now if that trailer is 10,001# you DO need a CDL. PA DOT explains: "The definition of a commercial vehicle is: 1) a combination of vehicles with a (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, PROVIDED THE VEHICLE BEING TOWED IS IN EXCESS OF 10,000 POUNDS..." (Caps were added by me for emphasis.)
There it is! The answer we all look for. Do you have any questions I can answer? Ask away!