CDL License: What You Need To Know
A CDL license, commonly referred to as a commercial driving license, is a driving license given to drivers who are likely to drive vehicles with a weight of 26,000lb/ 11,793kg and above. In the United States, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 established minimum requirements that each state must meet when issuing a CDL.
The rule was written for 3 different classifications of a commercial driver’s license. You can find these below.
- Class A CDL Drivers – Includes drivers who drive vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more. It also includes the combination of vehicles, particularly any towing trailer that weighs 10,000 pounds or more. The Class A CDL also pertains to drivers operating hazardous materials, which require warning placards as stated in by Department Of Public Safety regulation.
- Class A Drivers License Permit – Your CDL permit allows you the opportunity to get your official A CDL license.
- Class B CDL Drivers – A class B CDL is needed for any driver that transports more than 16 passengers, which does include the driver.
- Class C CDL Drivers – If you operate single vehicle or combination of vehicles that doesn’t meet the definition of Class A or Class B, you could need a Class C CDL. The rest of the requirements you need is if you’re transporting 16 or more passengers (including yourself) or you’re transporting hazardous materials as defined under 49 U.S.C. 5103. A warning placard would be required, which includes a manifest of toxic materials as required in 42 CFR Part 73.
From the term commercial, this implies that this vehicles are normally operating for commercial use. The type of vehicles in this category include tractors, buses, tow trucks and trailers. Drivers who attain this driving license are allowed to :
Drive commercial vehicles. Transport hazardous material. Public transportation of persons with a car that can hold 16 or more passengers.
Contents of a CDL A CDL must have the following information.
A statement indicating that the license is a ”commercial driver’s license” or CDL. The driver’s full names. The driver’s signature. The driver’s mailing address. Some personal information regarding the driver such as date of birth, sex, physical description and driver’s height. A colored photograph of the driver. Driver’s state license number. The state that issued the driving license. The date of which the license was issued and the license date of expiration. The group(s) of commercial vehicles the driver is allowed to operate. Endorsements that the driver has qualified for if any. This is not compulsory. It indicates whether the driver is a resident or not.
CDL Test Requirements
In order for an individual to obtain a CDL, there are several test requirements that one has to meet as stated by the law. This depends on the vehicle and purpose of the license. All in all, the general requirements without considering what the different states have altered or added and must be followed to the latter will include:
CDL Written Test
Before you’ll be able to become a truck driver, you’ll need to pass your CDL written test. CDL written exams can vary from one state to the next. Some states may have 30 questions for their CDL written exam while other CDL test could be longer. In order to know the exact amount of questions on your commercial drivers license test, you’ll need to contact your local DMV. This CDL test also includes questions on the different parts of a truck. This questionnaire h. For a driver to pass this test, he needs to at least pass the 80 percent mark.
CDL Driving Test
This is a test that puts emphasis on practicality. This means that the driver goes to the field and drives the vehicles considered to be commercial vehicles in which an instructor grades the individual. In this test, the driver is required to successfully perform a set of driving maneuvers. The vehicle used for the test must be equipped with all the required standards that the driver expects to use in the roads in his day to day businesses. This test comprises of a three part skills exam. All of these must be passed for an individual to attain a CDL license.
Required CDL Testing Facilities
Any institution offering knowledge on commercial driving license must be inspected by the state. There are quite a number of places that one can take a CDL test. These institutions provide these facilities on behalf of the state. These include:
Private institutions. Training facilities. States governmental departments.
They must provide the same CDL test as provided by the state. To ensure that this is happening, the state must conduct an inspection on these facilities and evaluate the programs they have. The state does this by taking an actual CDL test and observing the process. Another method of ensuring that these institutions provide the required standards of driving is by taking a sample of drivers who have been tested by the given institution and comparing the pass and fail rates.
The institutions acting as CDL testing centers agree with the State and FMCSA to randomly perform examinations, inspections and audits without having to notify them of their attendance. This ensures that the institutions are up to the standards at all times as they never know when an inspector will walk in.
Just like with any other driving license, a commercial driving license must be renewed before the date of expiry. The license must be used only within the time period it is legally valid.
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