This is what U-Haul trucks and cargo vans are considered, according to their own website:
U-Haul cargo vans and trucks are not considered commercial vehicles and as such do not require a commercial driver’s license.
Customers are only required to be at least 16 years old (to rent a trailer) and 18 years old (to rent a truck or cargo van) with a valid, standard driver’s license.
However, note that certain jurisdictions can define a cargo van as a commercial vehicle based solely on its weight, not just what it’s used for.
For example, all moving equipment rentals in New York City are considered commercial vehicles, which means that there are parkway restrictions to keep in mind. You can still drive the cargo vans with a standard driver’s license and don’t need a commercial one, but there are certain roads you can’t use.
Depending on the state you’re moving to, make sure to always pay attention to any road signs related to weight station stops, bridge or lane restrictions, and maximum vehicle height postings.
To help you get a better understanding of the classification of U-Haul’s vehicles and how to make the most of it, in this article I’ll cover the following topics:
- New York City’s specific, yet important commercial vehicle classification
- What is the official definition of a commercial vehicle
- States that have weight restrictions for rental cargo vans
- What to consider when renting a U-Haul cargo van
- The light commercial vehicles that U-Haul offers for rent
New York Deems Uhaul Vans as Commercial Vehicles
The state of New York City has specific laws that consider U-haul moving cargo vans as commercial vehicles, based entirely on the weight of the vehicle, not just its use.
In fact, all moving equipment rentals are classified as commercial vehicles in NYC, which means that trucks, tractor-trailers and any commercial vehicles are not allowed on parkways with commercial vehicle restrictions. However, as I said above, you can still drive cargo vans there with a standard driver’s license.
Here’s a quick summary to clear up any confusion regarding driving a U-Haul cargo van in NYC, part of the New York state:
- U-haul cargo vans and trucks are labeled “commercial vehicles” in New York City
- As such, they are prohibited from being used on NYC parkways
- But you don’t need a CDL (commercial driver’s license) to use a U-haul moving van rental in NYC
New York City Parkways to Avoid
As a result of the state-specific laws, you have to avoid the following NYC downstate parkways:
1. New York City Area
- The Bronx – Hutchinson River Parkway, Pelham Parkway, Bronx River Parkway, and Mosholu Parkway.
- The Bronx and Manhattan – Henry Hudson Parkway.
- Manhattan – Harlem River Drive and FDR Drive.
- Staten Island – Korean War Veteran’s Parkway.
- Queens & Brooklyn – Belt Parkway.
- Queens – Grand Central Parkway and Cross Island Parkway.
2. Long Island Area
- Nassau County – Wantagh State Parkway, Bethpage State Parkway, Meadowbrook State Parkway, and Loop Parkway.
- Nassau and Suffolk – Southern State Parkway, Northern State Parkway, and Ocean Parkway.
- Suffolk County – Sunkeen Meadow Parkway, Heckscher Parkway, Sagtikos Parkway, and Robert Moses Causeway.
3. Hudson Valley Area
- Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester County – Taconic State Parkway.
- Orange County – Long Mountain Parkway.
- Orange County and Rockland County – Palisades Interstate Parkway.
- Rockland County – Lake Welch Parkway.
- Westchester County – Sprain Brook Parkway, Bear Mountain Parkway, Hutchinson River Parkway, Bronx River Parkway and Cross County Parkway.
One of the main reasons why commercial vehicles such as moving cargo vans are prevented from driving on NYC parkways is that they were made for cars, while the bridges have low clearance.
The company branding of U-Haul cargo vans is another reason why they’re deemed as commercial vehicles in NY.
The Garden State Parkway and Commercial Vehicles
The Garden State Parkway that connects New Jersey with New York is mainly designed for passenger vehicles as it has specific restrictions for commercial vehicles.
Any cargo van or truck that weighs over 10,000 lbs is prohibited from driving north of exit 105.
However, all trucks and commercial vehicles are allowed to drive on the southern end of Garden State, south of 105.
You have to check how much your rented U-Haul cargo van weighs before you drive on the Garden State parkway.
Pro Tip: Check the State Transportation Websites
When in doubt of any commercial vehicle or moving equipment restrictions, make sure to check the specific state transportation websites that are part of the US Department of Transportation.
This way you’ll be 100% sure what the particular laws and requirements for the state that you’re moving in are for your U-haul cargo van.
As a general rule of thumb, always pay attention to any regulatory signs, especially those related to weighing stations, to ensure that you’re not violating any laws.
The Vehicles Labeled as Commercial by the Law
This is what’s considered a commercial vehicle according to the official Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration definition:
- A vehicle with a gross combined weight of 26,000 lbs or more, including towed objects with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 lbs or more
- Has enough seats to carry at least 8 passengers for profit
- Has enough seats to carry at least 16 passengers for non-profit reasons
- Transports specific material that’s been designated as hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103
Depending on the weight and use of the vehicle, even some vans can qualify as commercial vehicles as per FMCSA’s regulations.
Some examples of typical commercial motor vehicles include:
- Cement trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Delivery trucks
However, a cargo van can be registered with either passenger or commercial registration plates, depending on its use which is what U-Haul do.
Also, it’s important to be aware of what classifies as a commercial motor vehicle because driving one without the right driving license could get you in legal trouble.
There are 3 specific license classifications issued by each state in the form of commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and commercial learner’s permits (CLP) for drivers:
- Class A – Any vehicle combination with a combined gross weight rating or weight of 26,001 lbs or more, including towed units with a combined gross weight rating or weight of 10,000 pounds.
- Class B – Any single vehicle with a gross weight or weight rating of 26,001 lbs or more, or any such vehicle that tows a vehicle with a gross weight or rating that doesn’t exceed 10,000 lbs.
- Class C – Any single vehicle (or combination of vehicles) that’s different from the Class A and B definitions, but is designed to carry 16 or more passengers or transport hazardous material e.g. select agents or toxins.
States with Rental Cargo Van Weight Restrictions
Although your move might not be considered a commercial move, some states still require cargo van and truck rentals to stop at weight stations.
Typically, these restrictions apply to non-commercial vehicles that exceed a specific weight (e.g. over 10,000 lb). Also, remember that cargo vans are considered light and medium-duty trucks by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA).
And these are all the states that require truck rentals to stop at weight stations:
- Alaska – Any truck (including cargo vans) over 10,000 gross vehicle weight rating.
- Arizona – Gross weight fees apply for semi-trailers and trailers with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more.
- Arkansas – Applies to both commercial and passenger vehicles with a GVWR of 10k lbs or more.
- California – Utility bed and flatbed rental trucks have to stop, but pickups might not necessarily stop.
- Colorado – Any vehicle or a combination of vehicles with a GVWR or GCWR of more than 26,000 pounds has to stop.
- Florida – Only vehicles that transport agricultural products need to stop at an agricultural inspection station.
- Georgia – Applies to any single or combined (i.e. towing) vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more.
- Hawaii – Any truck (including cargo vans) with more than 10,000 pounds GVWR have to stop.
- Indiana – Applies to all trucks with a GVWR of 10k lbs or more.
- Iowa – Applies to any vehicle that weighs over 10k pounds.
- Kansas – Any vehicle that’s registered as a truck has to stop at a weigh station following a corresponding road sign.
- Minnesota – All vehicles that have a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds need to stop.
- Montana – Applies to any vehicle that transports agricultural products and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8k pounds or more.
- Nebraska – Every truck that weighs more than 1 ton has to stop (except pickups towing a recreational trailer).
- New Jersey – Applies to all vehicles that weigh more than 10,001 pounds.
- New Mexico – Any truck with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more needs to stop.
- North Dakota – Applies to all vehicles with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds, except vehicles used for personal, recreational reasons.
- Ohio – Any vehicle weighing over 5 tons or 10,000 pounds has to stop if the weigh station is open.
- Oregon – Applies to all vehicles or combinations of vehicles that weigh 26,000 pounds or more.
- Pennsylvania – Applies to agricultural vehicles, passenger and specialty vehicles that pull large trailers, big recreational vehicles, and trucks.
- South Carolina – Department of Transportation representatives may require any vehicle they believe weighs too much to go to the nearest public scales.
- South Dakota – Any truck (or cargo van) with a GVWR over 8,000 pounds needs to stop.
- Virginia – All trucks or cargo vans with a registered gross weight of over 7,500 pounds have to stop.
- Wisconsin – Applies to any truck or cargo van with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 lbs.
- Wyoming – All trucks and drivers can be subject to random inspections, while trucks have to stop when a regulatory sign appears or if a police officer instructs the driver to do so.
Consider This When Renting a U-Haul Cargo Van
If you’re set on renting a U-Haul cargo van, consider these 6 important factors to make the most out of your U-Haul moving experience:
1. There are Other Vehicle Options to Rent
Although the main focus in this article is cargo vans, U-Haul has a number of other vehicles that you can rent.
Apart from cargo vans and the typical moving trucks, you can choose between pickup trucks, trailers and U-box containers.
2. U-Haul’s Cargo Vans are Only for Local Moves
If you’re doing a long-distance move, you might be disappointed to find that U-Haul’s cargo vans are only available for local moves.
Other local move-only vehicles on U-Haul’s roaster are their open trailers and pickup trucks.
3. There are Age Restrictions in Place
U-Haul has certain age requirements regarding who can rent their equipment that looks like this:
- Trailer rent – Customers need to be at least 16 years old.
- Moving truck and cargo van rental – You have to be at least 16 years of age.
On top of that, customers need to have a valid driver’s license.
4. You Might Have to Stop at Weigh Stations
More often than not, you won’t be required to stop at weigh stations while moving with a U-Haul rental van as it’s not a commercial vehicle.
However, some states require even non-commercial that exceed a specific weight (typically 10,000 lbs) to stop at a weigh station.
I put guides to this for east State higher up this article, and I’d recommend checking your state’s local Department of Transportation to find out if and what kind of weight restrictions are for moving truck rentals.
5. Properly Loading the Van Saves You Time and Money
Here are a few tips to optimize the loading process without having to pay for a larger truck:
- Load the heaviest and/or largest items first, toward the cab
- Arrange any mattresses and couches vertically
- Make sure to disassemble all furniture
- Aim to pack for a tight and evenly distributed cargo
- Load any small moving box last
Otherwise, you risk damaging your items, wasting time and potentially money by opting for a larger truck as not everything fits due to poor loading tactics.
6. You Are Responsible for Complying with State Laws
As with any move, it’s the renting party’s responsibility to be aware of any moving rental vehicle restrictions are in place on your planned roads.
This means that you need to do your research regarding any specific guidelines, footnotes, rules and clauses in the specific area and roads that you’re going to be driving through.
List of U-Haul Light Commercial Vehicles for Rent
U-Haul offers several types of light commercial vehicles for short and long-term business rentals, such as:
- Cargo vans
- Pickup trucks
- 10′, 15′, 17′ 20′, 24′ and 26′ trucks
Their light commercial vehicle fleet is available for daily, weekly, and monthly rentals, although it should be noted that it’s geared toward corporate clients.
The Right Driver’s License Type for a U-Haul Rent
Since U-haul’s moving rental vehicles aren’t commercial vehicles, you won’t need a CDL (commercial driver’s license) to rent them.
You only need a regular driver’s license, although to make sure that your license is eligible, you have to look at its class.
Here’s a list of the driver’s license classes/labels that U-haul accepts, depending on the state they’re issued by:
- North Carolina
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
If your driver’s license falls under any of these classes/labels, then you’ll be able to rent a U-haul cargo van.
The U-haul representative that you speak to when you rent one of their vehicles should be able to tell you which license works in your area, although usually any valid regular driver’s license should be okay.
Eventually, you need to remember that U-Haul moving rental vehicles such as cargo vans aren’t considered commercial vehicles.
This means that you don’t need a specific government-issued commercial driver’s license to rent and drive their vehicles.
However, there are still age restrictions in place as you need to be at least 16 years of age to rent a trailer and at least 18 years of age to rent a U-Haul truck or cargo van.
Note that you still need to be aware of the particular laws in your state regarding any vehicle weight limits and parkway restrictions.
For instance, if you’re doing a move somewhere in New York, your U-Haul cargo van will be classified as a commercial vehicle by the local law. However in this case you can still drive the vehicle using a standard drivers license, but the cargo van cannot go on certain highways.
That’s why I recommend looking at the parts of this article showing the rules for each State and always researching local laws and guidelines. Also look for any moving rental vehicle road restrictions when you rent a cargo van from U-Haul or any moving rental company.