How Can I Earn My Commercial Drivers License?
Do you want to be a truck driver, a limo driver or a bus driver? Are you aware that you'll need a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) in order to work in these occupations? Are you unsure how to obtain this license? If you answered yes to these questions, you can continue reading to learn more about Commercial Driver's Licenses. Schools offering Logistics & Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Commercial Driver's License Defined
In the United States, a driver's license used for commercial large vehicles or vehicle transporting hazardous materials is referred to as a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Some of the vehicles requiring a CDL are buses, tractor trailers, tow trucks, limousines, large vans and transportation trucks. The CDL you'll need is dependent on the weight of the vehicles you'll be driving or on the number of passengers or type of freight you will be carrying.
CDLs are divided into three classes: A, B and C. Class A CDLs are for driving multiple combined vehicles that weigh 26,001 pounds or more with the weight of the individual towed vehicle being greater than 10,000 pounds. Class B is similar to Class A except that the vehicles only tow other vehicles under 10,000 pounds. Class C is for vehicles that don't fall under the first two classes, but are designed to have 16 or more people aboard or are carrying hazardous materials.
These rules are put into place by the federal government. However, as long as states meet these minimum requirements, they're allowed to add additional requirements or include additional vehicles in the CDL. If you're planning on driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle, you'll need a CDL. Before looking into acquiring your CDL, check out what your state regulations are and then prepare for the examination.
Before earning your CDL, you normally have to be at least 21 years of age or older. In certain states, you might be able to acquire a CDL as early as 18. If you're between the ages of 18 and 20 and have this special CDL license, you're only able to drive the Commercial Motor Vehicle in your state. When you reach the age of 21, you're automatically qualified to use your CDL in other states.
Like with a regular license, CDL renewal is necessary. A good driving recorded is needed which means you can certify that in the past two years you've had an accident record that doesn't include you being at fault, and you have a maximum of one serous traffic violation. You also must show you only hold one license and it has not been suspended or revoked.
There are several educational options available to help you prepare for the CDL exam, but the most common choice is truck driving school. These CDL educational programs are geared towards covering the information and practical skill training you'll need to obtain your CDL. The length of these programs varies, but some only take a couple of weeks to complete.
When you're ready to earn your CDL, you'll need to find an approved testing facility in your area and sign up for your examination. You'll need to show up on the assigned date and complete a written examination. Exams are designed by each state, but federal regulations mandate they cover your knowledge about parts of the vehicle you'll be driving and highway safety. Additionally, federal regulates maintain a minimum of 80% of the questions have to be answered right in order to pass this examination.
A practical driving skills examination also has to be completed, which may differ by state, but must follow federal guidelines. This portion of the test has to be taken in a similar vehicle to the one you'll be operating with your CDL. If you can complete this practical examination with a passing grade, then you'll be given your CDL.
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