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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 171

Section 171.02

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171.02 Licenses; types, endorsements, restrictions.

Subdivision 1. License required. Except when expressly exempted, a person shall not drive a motor vehicle upon a street or highway in this state unless the person has a license valid under this chapter for the type or class of vehicle being driven. The department shall not issue a driver's license to a person unless and until the person's license from any jurisdiction has been invalidated. The department shall provide to the issuing department of any jurisdiction, information that the licensee is now licensed in Minnesota. A person is not permitted to have more than one valid driver's license at any time. The department shall not issue to a person to whom a current Minnesota identification card has been issued a driver's license, other than an instruction permit or a limited license, unless the person's Minnesota identification card has been invalidated.

Subd. 2. Driver's license classifications, endorsements, exemptions. (a) Drivers' licenses shall be classified according to the types of vehicles which may be driven by the holder of each type or class of license. The commissioner may, as appropriate, subdivide the classes listed in this subdivision and issue licenses classified accordingly. Except as provided in subdivision 2a, no class of license shall be valid to operate a motorcycle, school bus, tank vehicle, double-trailer or triple-trailer combination, vehicle transporting hazardous materials, or bus, unless so endorsed.

There shall be four general classes of licenses as follows:

(b) Class D; valid for:

(1) operating all farm trucks operated by (i) the owner, (ii) an immediate family member of the owner, (iii) an employee of the owner not primarily employed to operate the farm truck, within 150 miles of the farm, or (iv) an employee of the owner employed during harvest to operate the farm truck for the first, continuous transportation of agricultural products from the production site or on-farm storage site to any other location within 50 miles of that site;

(2) operating fire trucks and emergency fire equipment, whether or not in excess of 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, operated by a firefighter while on duty, or a tiller operator employed by a fire department who drives the rear portion of a midmount aerial ladder truck;

(3) operating recreational equipment as defined in section 168.011, subdivision 25, that is operated for personal use;

(4) operating all single-unit vehicles except vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds, vehicles designed to carry more than 15 passengers including the driver, and vehicles that carry hazardous materials; and

(5) notwithstanding paragraph (c), operating a type A school bus without a school bus endorsement if:

(i) the bus has a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or less;

(ii) the bus is designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver; and

(iii) the requirements of subdivision 2a, paragraph (b), are satisfied, as determined by the commissioner.

The holder of a class D license may also tow vehicles if the combination of vehicles has a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less.

(c) Class C; valid for:

(1) operating class D vehicles;

(2) with a hazardous materials endorsement, transporting hazardous materials in class D vehicles; and

(3) with a school bus endorsement, operating school buses designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver.

(d) Class B; valid for operating all vehicles in class C, class D, and all other single-unit vehicles including, with a passenger endorsement, buses. The holder of a class B license may tow only vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or less.

(e) Class A; valid for operating any vehicle or combination of vehicles.

Subd. 2a. Exceptions. (a) Notwithstanding subdivision 2, (1) a hazardous materials endorsement is not required to operate a vehicle having a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less while carrying in bulk tanks a total of not more than 200 gallons of petroleum products and (2) a class C license or hazardous materials endorsement is not required to operate a farm vehicle as defined in Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, section 390.5, having a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less while carrying in bulk tanks a total of not more than 1,500 gallons of liquid fertilizer.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision 2, paragraph (c), the holder of a class D driver's license, without a school bus endorsement, may operate a type A school bus described in subdivision 2, paragraph (b), under the following conditions:

(1) The operator is an employee of the entity that owns, leases, or contracts for the school bus and is not solely hired to provide transportation services under this paragraph.

(2) The operator drives the school bus only from points of origin to points of destination, not including home-to-school trips to pick up or drop off students.

(3) The operator is prohibited from using the eight-light system. Violation of this clause is a misdemeanor.

(4) The operator's employer has adopted and implemented a policy that provides for annual training and certification of the operator in:

(i) safe operation of the type of school bus the operator will be driving;

(ii) understanding student behavior, including issues relating to students with disabilities;

(iii) encouraging orderly conduct of students on the bus and handling incidents of misconduct appropriately;

(iv) knowing and understanding relevant laws, rules of the road, and local school bus safety policies;

(v) handling emergency situations; and

(vi) safe loading and unloading of students.

(5) A background check or background investigation of the operator has been conducted that meets the requirements under section 122A.18, subdivision 8, or 123B.03 for teachers; section 144.057 or chapter 245C for day care employees; or section 171.321, subdivision 3, for all other persons operating a type A school bus under this paragraph.

(6) Operators shall submit to a physical examination as required by section 171.321, subdivision 2.

(7) The operator's driver's license is verified annually by the entity that owns, leases, or contracts for the school bus.

(8) A person who sustains a conviction, as defined under section 609.02, of violating section 169A.25, 169A.26, 169A.27, 169A.31, 169A.51, or 169A.52, or a similar statute or ordinance of another state is precluded from operating a school bus for five years from the date of conviction.

(9) A person who has ever been convicted of a disqualifying offense as defined in section 171.3215, subdivision 1, paragraph (c), may not operate a school bus under this paragraph.

(10) A person who sustains a conviction, as defined under section 609.02, of a fourth moving offense in violation of chapter 169 is precluded from operating a school bus for one year from the date of the last conviction.

(11) Students riding the school bus must have training required under section 123B.90, subdivision 2.

(12) An operator must be trained in the proper use of child safety restraints as set forth in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Guideline for the Safe Transportation of Pre-school Age Children in School Buses."

(13) Annual certification of the requirements listed in this paragraph must be maintained under separate file at the business location for each operator licensed under this paragraph and subdivision 2, paragraph (b), clause (5). The business manager, school board, governing body of a nonpublic school, or any other entity that owns, leases, or contracts for the school bus operating under this paragraph is responsible for maintaining these files for inspection.

(14) The school bus must bear a current certificate of inspection issued under section 169.451.

(15) The word "School" on the front and rear of the bus must be covered by a sign that reads "Activities" when the bus is being operated under authority of this paragraph.

Subd. 3. Motorized bicycle. (a) No motorized bicycle shall be operated on any public roadway by any person who does not possess a valid driver's license, unless the person has obtained a motorized bicycle operator's permit or motorized bicycle instruction permit from the commissioner of public safety. The operator's permit may be issued to any person who has attained the age of 15 years and who has passed the examination prescribed by the commissioner. The instruction permit may be issued to any person who has attained the age of 15 years and who has successfully completed an approved safety course and passed the written portion of the examination prescribed by the commissioner.

(b) This course must consist of, but is not limited to, a basic understanding of:

(1) motorized bicycles and their limitations;

(2) motorized bicycle laws and rules;

(3) safe operating practices and basic operating techniques;

(4) helmets and protective clothing;

(5) motorized bicycle traffic strategies; and

(6) effects of alcohol and drugs on motorized bicycle operators.

(c) The commissioner may promulgate rules prescribing the content of the safety course, examination, and the information to be contained on the permits. A person operating a motorized bicycle under a motorized bicycle permit is subject to the restrictions imposed by section 169.974, subdivision 2, on operation of a motorcycle under a two-wheel instruction permit.

(d) The fees for motorized bicycle operator's permits are as follows:

(1) Examination and operator's permit, valid for one year $ 6 (2) Duplicate $ 3 (3) Renewal permit before age 21 and valid until age 21 $ 9 (4) Renewal permit after age 21 and valid for four years $15 (5) Duplicate of any renewal permit $ 4.50 (6) Written examination and instruction permit, valid for 30 days $ 6

Subd. 4. Restricted commercial driver's license. (a) The commissioner may issue restricted commercial drivers' licenses and take the following actions to the extent that the actions are authorized by regulation of the United States Department of Transportation entitled "waiver for farm-related service industries" as published in the Federal Register, April 17, 1992:

(1) prescribe examination requirements and other qualifications for the license;

(2) prescribe classes of vehicles that may be operated by holders of the license;

(3) specify commercial motor vehicle operation that is authorized by the license, and prohibit other commercial vehicle operation by holders of the license; and

(4) prescribe the period of time during which the license is valid.

(b) Restricted commercial drivers' licenses are subject to sections 171.165 and 171.166 in the same manner as other commercial drivers' licenses.

(c) Actions of the commissioner under this subdivision are not subject to sections 14.05 to 14.47 of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Subd. 5. Exemption for certain backup snowplow drivers. Pursuant to the waiver authorization set forth in Public Law 104-59, section 345, subsection (a), paragraph (5), a person who operates a commercial motor vehicle for the purpose of removing snow or ice from a roadway by plowing, salting, or sanding is not required to hold a commercial driver's license if the person:

(1) is an employee of a local unit of government with a population of 3,000 or less;

(2) is operating within the boundaries of the local unit of government;

(3) holds a valid class D driver's license; and

(4) except in the event of a lawful strike, is temporarily replacing the employee who normally operates the vehicle but either is unable to operate the vehicle or is in need of additional assistance due to a snow emergency as determined by the local unit of government.

HIST: (2720-143) 1939 c 401 s 2; 1963 c 393 s 1; 1971 c 644 s 4; 1973 c 16 s 1; 1977 c 214 s 12; 1977 c 429 s 63; 1978 c 479 s 1; 1979 c 227 s 3; 1981 c 363 s 29; 1984 c 546 s 1; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1985 c 291 s 19; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 454 s 21; 1987 c 269 s 7; 1987 c 358 s 110; 1989 c 301 s 4,5; 1989 c 307 s 17; 1989 c 342 s 21; 1990 c 529 s 5; 1991 c 174 s 8; 1991 c 298 art 7 s 2; 1991 c 333 s 24-26; 1992 c 581 s 14; 1993 c 78 s 4; 1993 c 142 s 1; 1993 c 266 s 20; 1994 c 465 art 3 s 48; 1995 c 95 s 7; 1995 c 174 s 3; 1996 c 275 s 1,2; 1997 c 35 s 1; 2001 c 97 s 3-5; 1Sp2001 c 6 art 2 s 60; 2002 c 371 art 1 s 50,51; 2003 c 15 art 1 s 33; 1Sp2003 c 19 art 2 s 38,64