When is a Commercial Driver’s License Required

A commercial driver’s license requirement is based solely on the weight of the truck, for example a bucket truck or semi truck. This is called the GVW or ‘Gross Vehicle Weight’. If your truck has a GVW of more than 26,000, then the driver of the truck will be required to have a CDL. This is the federal requirement. However, if you are traveling across the country, check with each state’s laws to make sure they haven’t additionally added more stringent stipulations. If you don’t follow particular state guidelines, you can be fined a significant amount of money, or worse. You should be able to check with the DMV or DOT of any state to find out their specific requirements.

Whenever you are planning to purchase a large truck, make sure you find out the GVW and if there is a CDL required to drive it before you buy. Hopefully you now have a good understanding of what it means when you hear a utility vehicle is “under CDL”.

How to Obtain a Commercial Driver’s License

First, you need to know there are three classes of CDLs; Class A, Class B and Class C. Simple enough.

Class A – This class is for a combination of vehicles, for example, if you are towing a car behind a utility drive. If the combination of both vehicles is 26,001 pounds or more, you will be required to have a Class A CDL.

Class B – This class is for heavy straight vehicles. The most common license, if you are going to drive a vehicle 26,001 pounds or more, you’re required to have a Class B CDL

Class C – This is for small vehicles, any single vehicle or a combination of vehicles, that doesn’t fit into the above two classes. For example, if the vehicle is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, such as a school bus, or if the vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials, the driver would be required to have a Class C CDL

Now, how do you get a CDL?

There is a series of tests you will have to pass. That includes a test based on your knowledge and, additionally, a test based on your skill set of operation. It is basically just like when you get your regular driver’s license, but on a much larger scale. Anyone can drive a car, but you have to be skilled to drive a heavy truck.

The type of knowledge test you will take will depend on the class of license you are going for, as well as they type of vehicle you will be planning to drive. Here are a few examples of knowledge test you could take:

General Knowledge – Everyone applying for a CDL will take this general knowledge test.

Passenger Transport – This is a test taken by anyone who is going for their license to drive a bus.

School Bus Test – Obviously, this test is taken by folks who are applying to drive school buses.

Air Brakes Test – A special test required for people who are driving any truck equipped with air brakes such as a semi.

Combination Vehicles Test – This is a test for people who are specifically going to be driving vehicles and additionally towing vehicles behind them.

Hazardous Materials Test – Another obvious one, this test is given to drivers who will be transporting hazardous materials.

I hope the information I’ve provided here has given you some insight into all the aspects of commercial driver’s licenses. Now you can go get one and know what to expect.

Source by Meredith Nunnally

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