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An Ethical Approach to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986

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This program is the result of a collaboration between the National Judicial College and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The goal of this self-study course is to assist judges with increasing their knowledge surrounding the goals of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA), basic terms and provisions unique to CDL laws, who is required to be licensed, and the various classes of commercial motor vehicles.

  • The first module will address the above mentioned topics in detail. The content is designed to provide opportunities for you, the learner, to actively engage with the course.
  • The second module consists of numerous scenarios which may touch on situations you have personally experienced in the courtroom, or may in the future. These scenarios will also require your active participation – there will be quizzes, as well as opportunities to provide short answers.
  • The third and final module will offer a more abstract scenario, which you will create as you go. The options that you select will take you to different locations within the ‘CDL Decision Tree.


The modules are independent so that judges may approach them in any order, depending on their interest. Each module will take approximately one hour to complete. We hope that this course provides a solid foundation in taking an ethical approach to commercial motor vehicle safety.

This self-study has three modules which do not have to be completed at one time. The course has a suggested completion time of 3 -5 hours. We suggest the participants are given a three week period to complete course.