Remember 2010? The immigration debate was a top story nationwide. The topic held news headlines longer than most political arguments, but eventually it cycled out. It’s alive and kicking again in Congress today, but Illinois threw its hat in the ring in 2013 with the new Temporary Visitors Driver’s License (TVDL) program. Does the TVDL apply to trucks? It sure does, the article this week will explain why.
First things first. The Illinois Truck Enforcement Association is not taking a political stance on the issue of immigration. Our members are more than welcome to hold to whatever ideology they want. The purpose of the ITEA is to make sure proper enforcement occurs based on the laws our elected leaders require regardless of an individual opinion. That’s it.
When it comes to TVDLs, in late 2013 the Illinois General Assembly provided a way for people who do not have a social security number to obtain a temporary driver’s license. This does not mean anyone residing in Illinois illegally can obtain a TVDL.
The applicant may not be eligible for a social security number, but he is required to have federal authority from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service to lawfully be in the United States. It may be a lesser standard than card carrying citizens, but it debunks the myth that any illegal immigrant can obtain a driver’s license in Illinois.
TVDLs are pretty much are only good for driving. They can’t be used as identification to cash checks at a bank. They cannot be used for identification to board an airplane. They can’t be used as identification to vote in an election.
There are limitations on driving however, and this is where understanding driver’s license classification is important. There is no statute that says a TVDL may only be used in a personal vehicle, and not in a work vehicle. The size of the work vehicle is the qualification.
A TVDL is only valid in vehicles which require a Class-D driver’s license in Illinois. Class-D licenses may only be used to operate vehicles with a manufacturer’s GVWR of 16,000 pounds or less. Generally speaking, this means cars and smaller trucks.
Here’s some common questions being asked about trucks and TVDLs:
Question: Is the TVDL invalid if the power unit has a GVWR of 16,000 pounds or less, but weighs more than 16,001 pounds or more on the scale?
Answer: No. Actual weight only applies to classification when it comes to determining if the driver needs a CDL or not. A vehicle in Illinois which weighs 25,999 pounds on the scale does not require a CDL, therefore the manufacturer’s GVWR takes precedent. In this case, the TVDL would be okay.
Question: Can the TVDL holder operate a power unit with a GVWR of 16,000 pounds or less and tow a trailer if the gross combined weight rating (GCWR) is 16,001 pounds or more?
Answer: To answer this question, more questions must be asked:
- Does the trailer have a manufacturer’s GVWR, or an actual weight on the scale, of 10,001 pounds or more? If no, the TVDL is okay. If yes, then…
- Is the manufacturer’s gross combined weight rating (GCWR) or actual gross combined weight on the scale 26,001 pounds or more?
If the answer to both questions 1 and 2 (not one or the other…BOTH) are “yes”, then not only is the TVDL being improperly used, the driver is required to have a Class-A CDL!
Question: If the TVDL holder is operating a power unit with a GVWR of 16,001 or more, but 26,000 pounds or less, should he be charged with the misdemeanor No Valid Driver’s License statute under 625 ILCS 5/6-101?
Answer: No. It is a violation of classification only and should be charged under 625 ILCS 5/6-104(a) for not possessing a Class-C non-CDL when required. This violation carries a mandatory court date and is eligible for sign and drive as bail.
Question: If the driver cannot provide proof of mandatory vehicle liability insurance as required in Illinois, can he be charged with the misdemeanor No Valid Driver’s License statute under 625 ILCS 5/6-101?
Answer: Yes. This is clearly spelled out in 625 ILCS 5/6-105.1(d-5).
Police officers should always keep in mind the political hotbed immigration is when taking enforcement action on a TVDL holder. It would be wise to make sure all the ducks are in a row.