what is a commercial driver's license

by Dr. Alison Bergstrom DVM Published 1 year ago Updated 8 months ago

Commercial driver licenses (CDL) are required to operate vehicles that:

  • Weigh over 26,000 pounds, determined by the highest of the following weights:
  • manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
  • manufacturer’s gross combination weight rating (GCWR) when the towed unit has a GVWR, registered weight or actual gross weight over 10,000 pounds
  • actual weight
  • registered weight

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While classes of CDL licenses can vary from state to state, Alabama classifies commercial vehicles that require a CDL to drive as follows: Class A: Operate vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds that tow trailers or other vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.

Full Answer

Do you really need commercial drivers license?

You don’t need a commercial drivers license (CDL) just because you drive a truck. You only need a commercial drivers license if the trucks you are driving meet certain conditions. For most states, if a truck and trailer combination weighs more than 26,000 pounds, then you will need a commercial drivers license.

How do I apply for a commercial driver license?

  • General Knowledge Test
  • Combination Vehicles Test
  • Air Brakes Test (if applicable, most Class A vehicles are equipped with Air Brakes but not all)
  • Applicable exams for desired endorsements

What are the responsibilities of a commercial driver?

What are the duties of a commercial truck driver?

  • – Know and understand the safety regulations and policies.
  • – Perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections, carefully going through a detailed checklist of the tractor and trailer. ...
  • – Understand and comply with hours of service regulations, and truthfully log their driving, on-duty but not driving and off-duty time. ...

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How to become a commercial driver?

The industry is experiencing a shortage of Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators that, as a result, is affecting many different aspects of freight. Southern Careers Institute (SCI) trains on the skills needed to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and become a commercial motor vehicle operator.


What is a Canadian commercial driver's license?

Anyone interested in operating a vehicle for commercial purposes – for example, driving trucks, buses, tractor-trailers, taxis, or even large snow plows – will need to get a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) in Canada. Canada's National Safety Code provides the rules and regulations for Commercial Drivers.

What class is a regular driver's license in Texas?

Texas Class CAnyone looking to get their Texas driver license will need to pass the Texas Class C Exam. Whether you're a new driver or need to reapply for a driver's license, taking the Texas Class C Exam is mandatory for getting your permit and taking the Texas road test.

What is Class C license in Texas?

“Class C” licensing allows you to operate vehicles with a GVWR under 26,000 lbs that would normally not require a CDL, except when they are designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver; carry 15 or fewer people, including the driver, and transport children to or from school and home regularly for ...

What is a Class C license in California?

A Class C license allows the holder to drive two-axel vehicle under 26,000, a vehicle towing a trailer or semitrailer, a housecar and three-axel vehicles less than 6,000 pounds. Upon passing the corresponding exam, a Class C license holder can also drive a motor scooter and a bus.

What are the four types of licenses?

Different Driver's License TypesClass D. Although it may seem odd to jump into the middle of the alphabet to start, a Class D license is the most common type of driver's license. ... Junior License (DJ) ... Commercial Driver's License (Class A, B, and C) ... Taxi and Livery (Class E) ... Motorcycles.

What is a non-commercial driver's license?

A non-commercial driver's license (non-CDL) is what most people get when we applying to legally drive a car, truck, or SUV under 8,000 pounds. In many cases, a common vehicle serves as your main transportation for daily travel and errands.

What is a Class B license?

The category B licence lets you drive a motor vehicle with a maximum weight of up to 3,500kg, it can't have more than eight passenger seats. If you want to use a trailer the most it can weigh without additional hassle is 750kg.

What is Class D driver's license?

In most states, a Class D license is a standard, non-commercial driver's license that allows you to operate basic vehicles, such as sedans, SUVs, and vans. Class D delivery drivers distribute goods along a specific route while driving a non-commercial car.

How do you get a Class B license in Texas?

To seek a Texas Class B CDL, an individual must:Apply in-person at any DPS and complete the necessary application. ... Present paper work/proof to confirm your identity. ... Present proofs to check Texas residency.Present confirmation of a Social Security Number.More items...

What is a Class B driver's license in California?

With a Commercial Class B License: a single vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds. a 3-axle vehicle weighing over 6,000 pounds. a bus (except a trailer bus), with endorsement. any farm labor vehicle, with endorsement.

Is a Class C license a commercial license California?

The most common type of a driver's license is the Class C non-commercial license. This course will give you the knowledge to obtain a Class C driver's license that provides you the permit to drive the following types of vehicles: 2-axle vehicle with a GCWR of 26,000 lbs. or less.

How many classes of California driver's licenses are there?

ten classesThere are ten classes of California driver licenses. When you apply for a driver license, tell DMV the type of license you need.

What is CDL in Texas?

A Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL, is a specialized driver’s license that allows individuals to drive designated commercial vehicles on roadways. In Texas, commercial drivers must complete appropriate training and testing in order to drive commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

Why are CDLs divided into different classes?

Since CDLs are used for a wide range of vehicles, they are divided into different classes, in order to ensure that operators have appropriate skills for the type of CMV they will handle.

How long is a CDL valid?

After you pass your skills test, surrender your out-of-state CDL, or submit your certificate, we will issue an interim CDL that’s valid for 60 days. If you have not received your official CDL after 45 days, call us at 1-800-777-0133 to check the status.

How old do you have to be to drive a car in California?

In California, you may be hired to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) carrying cargo that originates and terminates within state lines if you are at least 18 years old, and to drive for interstate commerce or transport hazardous materials/waste if you’re 21 or older.

What is a CMV?

A CMV is defined as a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles and trailers used for hire to transport passengers or property. A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. A combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.

How long do you have to wait to get your CDL?

After you hold a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) for 14 days, you can apply to take the skills test to earn your CDL. This 14 day waiting period also applies to classification upgrades and endorsement/restriction changes that require a skills test. To apply for a CDL:

What is a hazardous waste vehicle?

A vehicle transporting hazardous waste as defined in California Health and Safety Code §25115 and §25117. A vehicle towing a combination of two trailers or vehicle and trailer. A 3-axle vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds.

Can you operate a CMV with passengers?

The tank must be purged if it previously contained a hazardous material. If you have a “P” or “S” endorsement, you cannot operate a CMV with passengers (other than federal/state auditors and inspectors, test examiners, other trainees, and the accompanying CDL holder).

How many classes of CDL endorsements are there?

There are 3 classes of CDLs with endorsements for specialized qualifications for vehicles like school buses, tank trucks, tractor trailers, etc. Each types of CDL and endorsement requires you pass a skills test and in some cases a written test.

When will CDL classes be available in 2022?

Note: Beginning February 7, 2022, drivers applying to obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time will be subject to the requirements in the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations. These regulations establish a Federal standard for training.

What are the parts of the CDL test?

You must pass all 3 parts of the Skills Test: the Vehicle Inspection Test, the Basic Controls Test, and the Road Test.

What is a CDL license?

A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a driver's license required to operate large, heavy, or placarded hazardous material vehicles in the United States in commerce. There are several different types of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that require a driver to hold a valid commercial driver's license. To drive certain specialized types of vehicles ...

What is a CDL?

What is a Commercial Driver's License (CDL)? A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a driver's license required to operate large, heavy, or placarded hazardous material vehicles in the United States in commerce. There are several different types of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that require a driver to hold a valid commercial driver's license.

What are the different classes of CDL?

There are three classes of CDLs that determine the kinds of vehicles you’re permitted to drive: Class A , Class B , and Class C. CDL classification is also determined by the vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and other specific requirements.

What is Class C endorsement?

Some Class C vehicles with the correct endorsements. Required to operate a single vehicle with GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds or a vehicle towing another vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds, or transports 16 or more passengers, including the driver. Below is a list of all Commercial Driver’s License classes.

How old do you have to be to get a CDL?

The minimum age to apply for a CDL is typically 21. However, some states allow drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to apply for a single-state CDL. A single-state CDL allows the driver to only operate a commercial vehicle within the driver’s state of residence ( intrastate driving). When the driver turns 21, that restriction is automatically ...

What is the weight rating for a Class A CDL?

A Class A commercial driver's license is required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the towed vehicle is heavier than 10,000 pounds. With a Class A CDL and the proper endorsements, you may drive the following types of vehicles: ...

When did CDL become mandatory?

On October 27, 1986 , the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act was signed into law. This law made it mandatory for all drivers of commercial vehicles to have a CDL. By ensuring that bus drivers and operators of large trucks are highly trained and qualified, this law has improved highway safety significantly.

How old do you have to be to get a commercial driver's license?

For example, it is a federal law that you must be 21 years of age or older to drive commercially interstate.

What is a CDL driver?

A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a driver's license required to operate large, heavy, or placarded hazardous material vehicles for commercial purposes in the United States. Several types of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) require a driver to hold a valid CDL. The driver may also be required to obtain one or more special endorsements, ...

What are the requirements for a CDL endorsement?

Each type of CDL and endorsement requires that you pass a written test; some also require a skills test. Some types of endorsements have additional requirements. For Hazmat, the driver must also be fingerprinted and undergo a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security threat assessment.

How long is a CDL valid?

States are allowed to make CLPs valid for longer than one year. The holder of a CLP is not required to wait at least 14 days before taking the CDL road skills test. A CLP or CDL will remain valid even after the holder’s medical certificate or medical variance has expired.

How to get a CDL?

follow the steps to get a CDL. pass general CDL knowledge test. bring a class C vehicle to your road skills test. apply for the necessary endorsement (passenger, school bus, Hazmat, etc.) If you’re going to drive a vehicle for transporting more than 16 passengers or hazardous materials, then you need a class C license.

What is a commercial driving school?

A commercial driving school will provide both classroom and behind-the-wheel training. But what if you feel you need more written instruction than the school’s basic course provides? Before spending more of your money on additional classroom instruction, consider whether you could learn more from some online instruction websites. For example, there are plenty of free high-quality CDL practice tests available online here on driving-tests, without requiring you to sign in, or provide personal information or commitment of any kind. Note: you do not need to pay for your state’s CDL manual. Some websites offer to sell it to you, which is very unethical when it is free on your state’s CDL licensing website and free right here, either to read or to download and print. If you check your state’s DMV page, they may also list locations where you can get it in print for free.

What endorsements are required for a truck driver?

The driver may also be required to obtain one or more special en dorsements, such as Air Brakes, Hazardous Materials (Hazmat), Tankers, or Passenger Vehicles, to drive a vehicle equipped with air brakes, a truck with a tank, a truck carrying hazardous materials, or a passenger vehicle respectively.

What is a CDL license?

Get a CDL for the first time. A commercial driver license is required to operate large or heavy vehicles. This includes, but is not limited to, dump trucks, tractor trailers, buses, and stretch limos. Get your first Commercial Driver License (CDL) Schedule a road test.

When does a CDL expire?

All licenses, including CDLs, with an expiration date of March 1, 2020 or later will be extended during the state of emergency.

What license do you need for a stretch limousine in New York?

NYS commercial driver’s license standards require drivers of stretch limousines which carry nine (9) or more passengers including the driver to hold, at a minimum, a CDL Class C license, with a Passenger (P) endorsement.

What is the weight rating for a Class A commercial driver's license?

A Class A commercial driver's license is required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more , to include a towed vehicle that is HEAVIER than 10,000 lbs.

What is a Class C CDL?

Class C. Each CDL classification is distinguished by the vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) among other items. Keep in mind that the CDL classification you apply for will determine not only the type of vehicle you are allowed to drive, but also which endorsements you may be required to obtain.

What vehicles can you drive with a Class A CDL?

While your towing allowances will depend on which endorsements you obtain, a few of the vehicles you MAY be able to drive with a Class A CDL (with proper endorsements) include: Tractor-trailers. Truck and trailer combinations . Double and triple trailers. Tractor-trailer buses.

How many passengers are allowed on a Class C CDL?

At least 16 passengers (to include you, the driver). Hazardous material (HAZMAT) as laid out by federal guidelines. Examples of vehicles you might be able to operate with a Class C CDL (with proper endorsement) include: Small HAZMAT vehicles.

Do you need endorsements for a Class A license?

As with Class A licenses, you may be required to possess specific endorsements to operate some vehicles with a Class B license. Some of the vehicles you may be allowed to operate (with the right endorsement) include: Straight trucks.

Can you drive a flatbed with a Class A license?

Flatbeds. In addition, a Class A license may allow you to drive some Class B and Class C vehicles as long as you possess the correct endorsements.

Do you need a CDL to drive a car?

To drive certain types of commercial motor vehicles in the United States, the federal government requires drivers to possess a commercial driver's license (CDL). These licenses, however, are not all created equal. The type of vehicle you intend to operate dictates your CDL classification, and vice versa. Classes for commercial driver licenses are:

What is Class C license?

Class C Requirements – To operate vehicles transporting placarded amounts of hazardous materials, or vehicles designed to transport 16 or more people including the driver, with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of less than 26,001 lbs, a Class C license is required. The following tests are required:

What is the class A requirement for CDL?

Click here to review the CDL Handbook. Class A Requirements – To operate trucks or truck combinations weighing 26,001 lbs or more, and towing a vehicle/unit over 10,000 lbs, a Class A license is required.

What is endorsement in driving?

An “Endorsement” is a special authorization, which permits a driver to drive certain types of vehicles, to transport certain types of property, or a certain number of passengers. The following endorsements can be placed on Class A, B, or C commercial driver licenses.

How old do you have to be to get a CDL?

Do I need a CDL? All applicants for a Commercial Driver License are required to have an Operator’s License, pass the vision requirements, and pass knowledge and skills tests. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. If they are under 21, they will be restricted to intrastate operation only.

What is a school bus?

School Bus (S) – Issued to those who have passed the required written and skills test and who will transport pre-primary, primary or secondary school students from home to school, from school to home, or to and from school-sponsored events (does not include a bus used as a common carrier).

What is a passenger vehicle?

A passenger vehicle is any vehicle designed to transport more than 15 persons including the driver.

What is a placarded Hazmat?

Placarded Hazmat (H) – Issued to those who have passed the required written test and who will transport placarded hazardous materials. Tank Vehicles (N) – Issued to those who have passed the required written test and who will drive tank vehicles.

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