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Driver Information

Immigration Requirements.  Canadian citizens entering the U.S. as visitors for business do not require either a passport or a visa.  Each applicant for admission is required to satisfy the inspecting officer of his or her citizenship.  Generally, an oral declaration may be accepted or the inspecting officer may request supporting documentation.  Such documentation may include, but is not limited too, a passport (valid or expired), birth certificate, or a certificate of citizenship.  Under heightened security procedures, all travelers may be required to present photo-identification.

Driver Qualifications.  State and federal safety regulations require drivers of commercial motor vehicles to meet certain minimum standards related to age, ability to communicate in English, and ability to safely operate their vehicle. Motor carriers (employers) must document and maintain each driver's qualifications in a driver qualification file.  Certain illegal offenses, such as driving under the influence of drugs or reckless driving can disqualify a driver from driving.  More information.

Michigan Commercial Driver's License (CDL).  Commercial driver's licenses issued by Canadian jurisdictions in conformance with the licensing standards established in the Canadian National Safety Code are honored in the U.S.  Canadian drivers are not be required to obtain a non-resident commercial driver's license in order to operate commercial vehicles in the U.S. Moreover, to ensure the "single license concept," Canadian drivers holding a commercial driver's license issued by a Canadian jurisdiction are prohibited from obtaining a driver's license, commercial or noncommercial, from a state or other licensing jurisdiction of the U.S.

A Michigan resident needs a valid operator Michigan Chauffeur license with a CDL designator added to operate a vehicle with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more.  More information.

Hours of Service.  Federal and state safety regulations limit a driver to the number of hours he/she can work. this means, once a driver has worked a prescribed number of hours, he/she is no longer eligible to drive until he/she has met the off-duty requirements established in the regulations. Accurate time records (for each driver) must be maintained at the employer's principal place of business for a period of at least six months and employers must ensure that driver compliance is met.  More information.

Federal Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements.  A comprehensive set of federal regulations requires persons holding a Commercial Driver License (including U.S. and Canadian drivers), and who operate a commercial motor vehicle to be tested for controlled substances and alcohol. These rules preempt any state testing requirements and apply to both interstate and intrastate drivers.  Companies can establish and conduct the drug and alcohol testing program in-house or may contract with a third party (consortium) to facilitate a drug and alcohol testing program. Most companies subject to these rules use the services of a third party.  More information.

Michigan Alcohol Laws.  Under Michigan law, a person who has an alcohol content of .04 grams or more may not operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) within Michigan.  A CMV operator will be placed out of service for 24 hours if he/she:

  • Refuses to take a preliminary breath test (PBT)
  • Consumes alcohol within 4 hours prior to operating a CMV
  • Consumes alcohol while operating a CMV

In addition to being placed out of service, if a driver is convicted of a violation of Michigan's drunk driving laws or those of another jurisdiction, the driver will have their CDL revoked.  More information.

Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program.  The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a Border Accord Initiative between the United States, Mexico, and Canada designed to ensure security and safety while enhancing the economic prosperity of each country.  One of the benefits of FAST is dedicated lanes at the border crossing for greater speed and efficiency in the clearance of FAST Trans-border shipments.  Eligibility for the FAST program requires participants (carrier, drivers, and importers) to submit an application, agreement, and security profile depending on their role in the Customs and Trade Partnership Against terrorism (C-TPAT) and FAST programs. 

FAST cards for drivers can be obtained on both the U.S. and Canadian side ­ i.e., it is a binational program. In order to qualify for a FAST card a driver must submit original documents establishing identity and citizenship; be fingerprinted; have a picture taken; have a background check (Canada and U.S) done. These drivers will be checked each time they cross the border.  As of November 2005, at the northern border about 59,000 drivers are carrying FAST cards, 86% of which are Canadian drivers.  More information. 


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