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COMMERCIAL DRIVERS LICENSE
Driving a truck in the United States is not as simple as getting in, starting the truck and taking off. A driver wanting to drive a vehicle weighing over 10,000 pounds must possess a commercial driver's license (CDL). Also, if you wish to transport hazardous materials, you must possess a Commercial Drivers License.
For example, you must possess a CDL, if you fall into the following classes:
Class A: Any combination of vehicles having a gross weight rating GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds providing the unit being towed in 10,000 pounds or more.
Class B: Any single vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more, or any vehicle towing a vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds or more.
Class C: Any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that is not in class A or class B, but is designed to transport 15 or more passengers including the driver, or is transporting hazardous materials and is required to be placarded, or is transporting any material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42CFR part 73.
There are also many endorsements that a driver may obtain, depending on what type of vehicle they wish to driver or what type of material they will be hauling. These endorsements will be imprinted on your CDL license.
T - Doubles/Triples trailers. More info on the Doubles/Triples endorsement can be found here.
N - Tank Vehicle. More information on the Tank endorsement can be found here.
H - Hazardous Materials. More information on the Hazardous Materials endorsement can be found here.
X - Combination Vehicles. More information on the Combination vehicles endorsement can be found here.
A state may also require a
driver to have a CDL to operate certain vehicles legally. A
driver that is licensed in New Jersey must have a CDL to legally
operate a bus, limousine or van that is used for hire and
designed to transport 8 to 15 passengers. A driver that is
licensed in New York must have a CDL to legally transport
passengers in school buses and other vehicles listed in Article
19-A of the state's Vehicle and Traffic Law. Drivers that are
licensed in California must have a CDL if their primary
employment is driving, whether or not they actually drive a
commercial vehicle. Basically, California defines a commercial
vehicle as one that transports for hire either people or
products. Possession of a CDL in California changes the
threshold for a Driving Under the Influence citation from 0.08%
to 0.04% Blood Alcohol Content (does not apply if operating
their personal non-commercial vehicle). Drivers seeking their
Commercial Driver's License should verify the CDL requirements
by referencing their state specific CDL Manual.
The minimum age to apply for a CDL is usually 21, as required by the United States Department of Public Safety. Although some states allow drivers who are 18 to 20 to apply for a CDL that is valid only in the driver's state of residency. A single state Commercial Drivers License only restricts driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles within the CDL holder's state (not non-commercial vehicles) and automatically converts to a 50 state CDL at the age of 21.
Formal training is not mandatory to obtain a Commercial Driver's License. However, training may be obtained by completing a qualified CDL training program through a truck driving school. These training programs specialize in teaching truck drivers the necessary skills and knowledge to properly and safely operate a truck, including map reading, trip planning, and compliance with U.S.D.O.T. laws as well as backing, turning, and road driving skills. The purpose of the Commercial Truck Driver training schools is to help potential commercial drivers pass their CDL knowledge and skills tests as well as advanced driving techniques, such as avoiding skids and skid recovery, and other emergency maneuvers for situations such as a break away trailer, and hydroplaning. The classes usually go well beyond training the vehicle driver receives (such as the drivers education provided in high school, etc). There are a number of licensed CDL training schools in the U.S., and many trucking companies operate their own schools as well.
Each particular state may add
additional restrictions, however there are national requirements
for obtaining a Commercial Drivers License. A driver seeking a
CDL must pass a written test on highway safety and a test about
parts of the truck they are operating, with a minimum of 30
questions per test. To pass this General Knowledge test, student
must answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly. To
pass the commercial driving skills test, the driver must
successfully perform a set of required driving maneuvers. The
commercial driving skills test must be taken in a vehicle that
the driver operates or expects to operate. For certain
endorsements such as Air Brakes, the commercial driving skills
test must be taken in a vehicle equipped with that equipment.
This does not exclude certain disabilities, however you must
meet standard requirements required by the safety operators.
Employers, training facilities, States, governmental departments, and private institutions may be permitted to administer knowledge and driving test for the State. The test must be the same as those given by the State issuing the CDL and the instructors must meet the same professional certification as State instructors.
States are required to conduct an inspection of any testing facility and evaluates the programs by taking an actual test as if they were testing driver at least once a year, or by taking a sample of drivers tested by the third party and then comparing pass/fail rates.
In addition, the State's agreement with the third party testing centers must allow the FMCSA and the State to conduct random examinations, inspections, and audits without notice.
USA Fleet Supply offers numerous Commercial Drivers License training and test study products. Our Commercial Driver's License products help drivers to obtain their CDL or add a CDL endorsement to their license. Our products consist of General Knowledge, Air Brakes, Combination Vehicles, Hazardous Materials, Transporting Passengers, Tankers, Doubles and Triples, Pre-Trip Inspection, Commercial Drivers License Basic Driving Skills and CDL Road Test training programs.
We offer training materials in all formats, including DVD, Video, Software, Books, Manuals, Downloads, Booklets and Mobi. These training programs can be used by individuals or can be used in a classroom setting.
Browse our Commercial Drivers License training programs now. If you need any help finding the right Commercial Drivers License product for you, please do not hesitate to ask a Customer Service Representative.