The Iowa State Patrol's Commercial Motor Vehicle Unit (CMVU) is a dynamic, progressive, and professional statewide law enforcement organization dedicated to highway safety. Our Troopers serve and protect the public by patrolling Iowa’s highways and operating state-of-the-art weigh station facilities. While we enforce all state laws (traffic and criminal), our core mission is in the enforcement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), vehicle size, weight, registration, and travel authority of commercial motor vehicles.

CMVU promotes highway safety through education and enforcement of all Iowa laws and federal motor carrier safety and regulations as they pertain to commercial motor vehicles and their drivers. This is done by:

  • Enforcing traffic and criminal law to promote the safety of the public and reduce crashes to expedite traffic flow and freight movement.
  • Inspecting commercial vehicles and drivers to determine compliance with state and federal laws relating to driver qualification, hours of service, driver licensing, vehicle size and weight, and vehicle safety compliance.
  • Protecting Iowa’s highway system and infrastructure through the enforcement of size, weight, and cargo laws.
  • Providing training to the motor carrier industry, social groups, law enforcement, and other governmental groups.
  • Assisting other law enforcement officers when requested or when the situation dictates.
  • Preparing and testifying in court to present the facts surrounding any civil, criminal, or departmental action.
  • Other duties commonly associated with law enforcement work.

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COMPLYING WITH SAFETY REGULATIONS

WHO MUST COMPLY WITH THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER REGULATIONS?

The rules in Title 49 CFR apply to all employers, employees, and commercial motor vehicles that transport property or passengers in interstate commerce. A commercial motor vehicle is a vehicle or combination of vehicles with a weight or GVWR over 10,001 pounds.

The rules in Title 49 CFR apply to all employers, employees, and commercial motor vehicles that transport property or passengers in intrastate commerce. A commercial motor vehicle is a power unit vehicle with a weight or GVWR over 10,001 pounds or a combination of vehicles with a weight or combination weight/GVWR over 26,001 pounds.

For exemptions see Iowa Code Section 321.449

Where can I find a weigh station?


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CORE MISSION DUTIES

COMMERCIAL VEHICLE INSPECTIONS

CMVU Troopers conduct three basic levels of commercial motor vehicle inspections following the North American Standard Inspection Procedure at our weigh stations or roadside while patrolling Iowa’s highways. These inspections may also include vehicles transporting large or small amounts of hazardous materials, motor coaches, and buses.

  • LEVEL ONE - FULL INSPECTION

    An inspection that includes an examination of driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable); alcohol and drugs; driver’s record of duty status, as required; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable); brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; driveline/driveshaft; exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals, and lamps/flags on projecting loads); steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims, and hubs; windshield wipers; buses, motor coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles – emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in the engine and battery compartments, seating, HM/DG and specification cargo tank requirements, as applicable. HM/DG required inspection items will only be inspected by certified HM/DG and cargo tank inspectors, as applicable.

  • LEVEL TWO - WALK AROUND DRIVER/VEHICLE INSPECTION

    An examination that includes each of the items specified under the North American Standard Level II Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection Procedure. As a minimum, Level II Inspections must include examination of: driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable); alcohol and drugs; driver’s record of duty status as required; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable); brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; driveline/driveshaft; exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals, and lamps/flags on projecting loads); steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims, and hubs; windshield wipers; buses, motor coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles – emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in the engine and battery compartments, seating, and HM/DG requirements, as applicable. HM/DG required inspection items will only be inspected by certified HM/DG and cargo tank inspectors, as applicable. It is contemplated that the walk-around driver/vehicle inspection will include only those items that can be inspected without physically getting under the vehicle.

  • LEVEL THREE - DRIVER/CREDENTIAL/ADMINISTRATIVE INSPECTION

    An examination that includes those items specified under the North American Standard Level III Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection Procedure. As a minimum, Level III Inspections must include, where required and/or applicable: an examination of the driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate; driver’s record of duty status; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s); and carrier identification and status.

MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY AUDITS

In addition to core mission duties, these officers assist new trucking companies by completing new entrant motor carrier safety audits. These safety audits (or SAs) are conducted within 12 months of starting a business/operation and help establish a more in-depth safety management practice. The main goal of the safety audit is to educate carriers on topics of commercial driver’s license requirements, drug and alcohol testing applicability, hours of service requirements, and federal safety regulations as they apply to the carrier. The program also allows motor carriers to have an investigator to contact with future questions and assist them in understanding the laws and regulations that apply to their specific business/operation. They are the first step in the highway safety process for many motor carriers.

Motor carriers that fail a safety audit or fail to respond to a safety audit request can have their registration and authority revoked. This information can also be shared with our U.S. Department of Transportation counterparts and may be used in cases where a carrier has a compliance review.

Motor carrier audit questions can be sent to CMVUinfo@dps.state.ia.us.


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TRAINING

In pursuit of safety and compliance with state law/federal code, CMVU offers free on-site training services statewide. We provide training to the motor carrier industry, law enforcement agencies, government entities, social groups, and educational institutions on many topics. Common requests include but are not limited to: vehicle size and weight training, commercial motor vehicle equipment, safety inspections, CDL, and human trafficking.

To request training, fill out and submit the Commercial Motor Vehicle Unit Training Request Form.


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SIZE & WEIGHT ENFORCEMENT

CMVU officers enforce Iowa’s size laws using our weigh stations and public weigh scales. Each officer is issued six to eight portable scales to be used roadside to check compliance with Iowa’s weigh laws accurately, quickly, and conveniently. 

*Please refer to the Iowa Truck Information Guide for vehicle size and weight regulations.

Weight = Iowa Code 321.463

Width = Iowa Code 321.454

Height = Iowa Code 321.456

Length = Iowa Code 321.457


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IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY TITLE VI NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC

Iowa Department of Public Safety Title VI Notice to the Public/Beneficiaries/Participants:

The Iowa Department of Public Safety gives public notice of its policy to uphold and assure full compliance with the nondiscrimination requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and related nondiscrimination authorities. Title VI and nondiscrimination related authorities stipulate that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, income level or Limited English Proficiency, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Any person who desires more information regarding the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Title VI program can contact its Title VI Program Coordinator, Captain Darren Reid, at the address noted below. This notice shall be posted in all DPS public-accessed facilities and uploaded to the DSP website at Iowa Department of Public Safety Title VI Notice To The Public.

Any person who believes they have, individually or as a member of any specific class of persons, been subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, income level or Limited English Proficiency has the right to file a formal complaint. Any such complaint must be in writing and submitted within 180 days following the date of the alleged occurrence to:


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EMERGENCY PROCLAMATIONS

Storm Disaster Proclamation: Adair, Adams, Cass, Clay, Hardin, Harrison, Jasper, Kossuth, Marshall, Montgomery, Page, Palo Alto, Pottawattamie, Tama, and Warren Counties. Expires June 20, 2024.

https://governor.iowa.gov/press-release/2024-05-21/proclamation-disaster-emergency 

 

SPECIAL NOTE: Emergency proclamations impacting transportation through Iowa will be posted on this page. If you do not see any posted, there are no transportation-related emergency proclamations in effect at this time.


FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION

 

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS / MOTOR CARRIER INVESTIGATIONS

Email CMVUinfo@dps.state.ia.us with questions.

 
DON’T HAVE A COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE QUESTION?

Questions about automotive dealers/bonded titles/salvage titles:

Automotive dealers contact Dealer Programs at 515-237-3156 or email dealer.programs@iowadot.us
Bonded titles contact the Vehicle Services Team at 515-237-3110 or email vscusto@iowadot.us
Salvage titles contact the Bureau of Investigation & Identity Protection at invbureau@iowadot.us

Questions about CDL/sanctions/driver’s license contact Driver and Identification Services at Driver.Services@iowadot.us

Questions about the issuance of oversize loads/trip permits/fuel permits/IRP or vehicle registration contact Motor Carrier Services at permitoffice.motorcarrier@iowadot.us

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