One of the many great things about the Class 4 and 5 FUSO trucks is that anybody with a regular driver’s license can get behind the wheel and start putting the truck to work to increase the bottom line of their business.
Because the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) – the weight of the truck itself plus its cargo – is below 26,000 lbs, no commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required. And since FUSO’S FE models rely on hydraulic fluid to activate the disc brakes instead of compressed air, just like your car does, you don’t need a special air brake endorsement to operate them.1
In a nutshell, you can go to your FUSO dealer and take one for a test drive without having to worry about a special permit. Once you own it, the truck can be used for pick-ups and deliveries by any of your employees if you’re not behind the wheel yourself. You don’t have to worry about a shortage of truck drivers—and you shouldn’t, as running your business already has you busy enough as it is.
Should your business require that you or one of your employees drive your FUSO truck in Canada, it’s reassuring to know that similar rules apply up there, thanks to a commercial license reciprocity agreement between the two countries.
Now, FUSO medium-duty trucks remain sturdy commercial vehicles with capabilities that go way beyond the car you are use to driving your kids to school.
And while no special license is required, if you drive your Class 4 or 5 FUSO truck across different states, you will need a USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) number and FMCSA operating authority to conduct interstate commerce.
When you obtained your driver’s license, you were taught that it was a privilege, not a right to drive, and that privilege comes with responsibilities, including being safe and in control of your vehicle at all times. While the same license allows you to drive a FUSO commercial truck, its greater size and weight demands additional caution and vigilance. And it begins before you even get in the driver’s seat.
Interstate Commerce Regulations
Depending on the type of driving, especially if interate commerce is involved, the driver may be subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMSA) requirements in addition to sate and local regulations. Examples would include the obligation to stop at weigh stations for inspection, respecting hours of service rules and displaying medical qualifications. More information on medical qualifications and other topics can be found on an FMCSA specially dedicated web page.
Entry and egress of a FUSO truck are easy, thanks to wide door openings. Yet, you should always have three points of contact when you get in or out, and that includes using the grab handles that are conveniently located near the door. Always use the steps to get in or out of the truck.
Seatbelts must be buckled once you’re at the wheel. We made them fire engine red so you or your employees don’t forget about them.
The dashboard of a FUSO truck is not much different from an automobile dashboard, but you still should take a couple of minutes to get familiar with the different controls and switches before you put the automatic transmission in “Drive”. You’ll be glad you did if rain or snow suddenly starts to fall and you know how to work the windshield wipers.
Wider than usual turns will likely be necessary when you leave a parking lot and enter traffic or when turning at an intersection, due a truck’s longer wheelbase. Turning too tight could cause the rear wheels to hit or fall off the curb at the end of the maneuver and momentarily cause the vehicle to be off balance, shaking you and your cargo. Giving way to motorists using the same lane you need to encroach on is mandatory and common safety sense.
The wide windshield will be among your first FUSO pleasant driving experiences. Combined with the cab-over configuration, it gives you an exceptional forward-looking visibility, so much so that you might tend to tailgate the vehicle in front of you without even noticing it. Always keep a safe distance and remember how imposing a truck is when it fills a motorist’s rear-view mirror.
Patience and courtesy are among the cardinal virtues when driving a commercial truck. Vehicles behind you can’t see anything in front of them but your truck’s box, and will be tempted to pass and maybe cut you off. Use your side mirrors to stay aware of your surroundings at all times and keep calm when the car that just passed you shines its brake lights the moment it’s in front of you.
Secure your cargo and distribute its weight correctly before you leave. It will help keep your truck steady as a rock and out of trouble with law enforcement officers who inspect load securement. In addition, a load that’s well secured is less likely to get damaged during the trip.
Brakes on a FUSO truck are hydraulic discs that are very responsive, which adds to the feeling of safety and can help avoid collisions. Yet, the laws of physics still apply; so remember that the cargo’s weight can lengthen the braking distance. Besides, harsh braking contributes to premature component wear and tear. and negatively impacts fuel economy (as you need to re-accelerate after each event).
Side mirrors could be your only back-up view when you arrive at destination. Even if you had a back-up camera installed, you need to get familiar with your FUSO truck’s side mirrors to ensure you keep enough space clear for the width – around 100 inches—and length of your vehicle when you back it up. Practicing in an empty parking lot can help you get accustomed to a vehicle that is much bigger than your car dimensions.
Smile. You’re at the wheel of one of the easiest and fun-to-drive trucks on the market, and you’re saving money while doing it with FUSO’s legendary reliability and fuel economy.
1Individual States may have varying CDL requirements, so it’s recommended to confirm with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) or directly with the individual State where you intend to drive your FUSO truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also can be a great source of information on commercial vehicles’ license requirements.