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. The driver may be required to obtain one or more special endorsements, such as Air Brakes, Hazmat, Tankers or Passenger Vehicles, in order to drive a truck with double or triple trailers, a truck with a tank, a truck carrying hazardous materials, or a passenger vehicle.
Each types of CDL and endorsement requires you pass a skills test and in some cases a written test. All license classes A, B, and C have the same basic requirements.
However, there are additional items for each license class - those requirements are outlined in their respective sections. The average American requires the movement of 57 tons of cargo per year for everyday activities, as a result, trucks are being loaded all around the country While there are different types of commercial drivers license and some requirements vary by state, many requirements are universal, and some are even federally mandated.
For example, it is a federal law that you must be 21 years of age or older to drive commercially interstate. Documents accepted as proof of your social security number by most states usually include your social security card, a Medicare ID card, a current ID card from any of the US Armed Forces active, retired, reserve, or dependentor a military separation document, otherwise known as a DD Some states may accept some other forms of social security number proof, so check before you go.
The list of documents accepts as proof of your identity varies even more by state. Proof of residency requirements will vary by state as well. You may only need to provide a copy of a single utility bill for some states, such as Alabama, while others like California may require two or three different documents from a list of up to eighteen different options, and the address on the documents must match the address on your CDL application.
The easiest portion of this process consists of a vision exam, which you will take with the rest of your CDL exams, but the more in-depth portion involves submitting required medical reports.
If you are going to drive interstate, you must use a medical examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners to fill out your forms.
If these forms are required part of your job, then your employer must pay for them. There are more than 55, certified medical examiners, make sure you use services of one of them Once you have provided all necessary paperwork, you must pass your exams. All applicants for CDLs must pass a vision exam as well as a knowledge exam. The Code of Federal Regulations states that you must have your CLP for a minimum of 14 days before you can take your road skills test, and the maximum amount of time you can hold a CLP is days.
This change would save many people CLP renewal fees. Download it here. So once you know how to get a CDL license inhow do you determine which license class is right for you? States have tried to make it as simple as possible. You need to get a Class A License if you are driving a combination of vehicles with a weight of over 26, pounds, and the vehicle that is being towed is over 10, pounds.Official websites use.
Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. Drivers have been required to have a commercial driver's license CDL in order to drive certain commercial motor vehicles CMVs since April 1, The types of vehicles and operations requiring a CDL are outlined below.
These standards require States to issue CDLs to certain CMV drivers only after the driver passes knowledge and skills tests administered by the State and related to the type of vehicle the driver expects to operate.
Drivers are required to obtain and hold a CDL if they operate in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce and drive a vehicle that meets one or more of the classifications of a CMV described below. Examples of these restrictions are listed below. Therefore, to avoid restrictions, drivers should take the Skills Test in the same type of vehicle for which they are seeking a CDL to operate.
This includes drivers applying to:. Applicants must successfully complete this training before they will be permitted to take the CDL skills test or, in the case of the H endorsement, the knowledge test.
Drivers will search for a training provider using the upcoming Training Provider Registry. Class A: Any combination of vehicles which has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11, kilograms or more 26, pounds or more whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit s with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4, kilograms 10, pounds whichever is greater. Class C: Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is transporting material that has been designated as hazardous under 49 U.
Drivers who operate special types of CMVs must pass additional tests to obtain any of the following endorsements placed on their CDL:. States may have a more restrictive category for a class of license, or have additional codes for endorsements or restrictions on CDLs that are not mentioned in the Federal regulations, as long as these items are fully explained on the license document. Home Registration Commercial Drivers License. Tank Endorsement, A CLP holder with an "N" endorsement may only operate an empty tank vehicle, and is prohibited from operating any tank vehicle that previously contained hazardous materials that have not been purged of any residue.
If the driver does not pass the Air Brakes Knowledge Test, does not correctly identify the air brake system components, does not properly conduct an air brake systems check, or does not take the Skills test in a vehicle with a full air brake system, the driver must have an "L" no full air brake restriction placed on their license.
If the driver takes the test in a vehicle with an air over hydraulic brake system, then they will have a "Z" no full air brake restriction placed on their license. In either case the driver is not authorized to operate a CMV equipped with full air brakes. If the driver takes the Skills Test in a vehicle that has an automatic transmission, then an "E" no manual transmission restriction is placed on their license.
If the driver takes the Skills Test in a Class A vehicle that has a pintle hook or other non-fifth wheel connection, they will have an "O" restriction placed on their license restricting them from driving any Class A vehicle with a fifth wheel connection. If a driver possesses a Class A CDL, but obtains his or her passenger or school bus endorsement in a Class B vehicle the State must place an "M" restriction indicating that the driver can only operate Class B and C passenger vehicle or school buses.
If a driver possesses a Class B CDL, but obtains his or her passenger or school bus endorsement in a Class C vehicle; the State must place an "N" restriction indicating that the driver can only operate Class C passenger vehicle or school buses.Official websites use.
Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle CMV requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than that required to drive a non-commercial vehicle.
In order to obtain a Commercial Driver's License CDLan applicant must pass both skills and knowledge testing geared to these higher standards.
Additionally CDL holders are held to a higher standard when operating any type of motor vehicle on public roads. Driving a commercial motor vehicle is a big responsibility. It requires special skills and knowledge. Most drivers must obtain a commercial driver's license CDL through their home State it is illegal to have a license from more than one State.
In addition, special endorsements may be required if you or your company drivers will be driving any of the following vehicles:. State governments are responsible for issuing CDLs. Home Registration Commercial Drivers License. Commercial Driver's License Program Overview Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle CMV requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than that required to drive a non-commercial vehicle. Licensing Driving a commercial motor vehicle is a big responsibility.
In addition, special endorsements may be required if you or your company drivers will be driving any of the following vehicles: a truck with double or triple trailers a truck with a tank a truck carrying hazardous materials a passenger vehicle Contact your State licensing bureau e. Federal Register Notice. Frequently Asked Questions.
Any summary, description, or paraphrase of a regulatory requirement on this site is intended to provide general guidance only.
Please consult the text of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for a full account of the applicable requirements. Last updated: Wednesday, December 18, What is a commercial driver license CDL? Operating large commercial motor vehicles requires specialized skills and training that must be learned.
A CDL is a professional license permitting the holder of the license to drive those large commercial vehicles and buses on public roadways in Texas and in the United States.
This license demonstrates that you have been trained, tested, and are qualified to safely operate large commercial motor vehicles. What types of CDLs are there? To obtain a CDL, it will be necessary for you to determine which class you will need. There are three basic classes of CDLs:. What are Endorsements? Depending upon what you will be transporting, you may need one or more of the following six endorsements.
An endorsement allows you to operate certain types of commercial motor vehicles and transport specific items. There is additional testing required to obtain an endorsement and in some cases, if you already have a CDL you will be required to hold a commercial learner permit for that endorsement for at least 14 days before being able to add it to your CDL.
With the exception of motorcycles, if you hold a valid CDL you may drive all vehicles in the class for which that license is issued, including your personal vehicle, so long as all applicable restrictions and endorsements are adhered to. What is the difference between Interstate and Intrastate?
When applying for a CDL it will be necessary for you to understand what type of commerce you will be operating in so that the correct type of license can be issued to you. If you apply for an interstate commerce CDL, it will allow you to operate in both interstate and intrastate commerce, unless you apply for an interstate CDL specifically to operate within a certain capacity. The definition of interstate and intrastate commerce are provided below to assist you in determining what type of commerce you will be operating in and the appropriate form you will need to certify to when applying for your CDL.
You may only certify to one form and one section. Intrastate Commerce Is the transportation of property a commodity where:. To be able to operate in Intrastate Commerce, you must be able to certify that you meet the requirements in only one of the Sections on the Intrastate Driver Certification form CDL The Bill of Lading will be an indicator as to whether a shipment or commodity is interstate or intrastate.
If there is not a Bill of Lading then the origin and destination of the shipment will be an indicator.For full functionality of our online services like tab renewal, address change, renew your professional license, etc. Visit www.
Types of CDL Licenses: A, B, and C Licenses Covered
Is your driver license expiring soon? Renew your license online! Limited in-person appointments available. Learn more. Apply for a first-time instruction permit online. Search term. Find out about instruction permits, self-certification, training requirements, waivers, and approved documents. Review the CDL guide, learn about knowledge and skills testing, and prepare with a practice knowledge test.
If the information on this translated website is unclear, please contact us at Find out if you need a CDL to drive your commercial vehicle. Getting a CDL Find out about instruction permits, self-certification, training requirements, waivers, and approved documents. CDL testing Review the CDL guide, learn about knowledge and skills testing, and prepare with a practice knowledge test. CDL third party examiners Find out how to apply to become a third party examiner.
Getting a license Steps to getting your first license Teens 18 and over Instruction permits Driver training programs Proof of identity Driver training and testing Training and testing locations Driver guide Knowledge and drive test Driving test: What to expect Veterans and Military personnel Agricultural permits Medical and vision screening Mandatory insurance Organ donor Voter registration Facial recognition Driver license designs Moving?
Contact Information Office locations Contact Us.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:. 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. Here is a breakdown for each CDL classification and the examples of vehicles you may be allowed. A Class A commercial driver's license is required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating GCWR of 26, lbs.
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:. 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. 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:. In addition, a Class B license may allow you to operate some Class C vehicles if you possess the correct endorsements. For more information, visit our guide to CDL endorsements. Examples of vehicles you might be able to operate with a Class C CDL with proper endorsement include:.
Classes for commercial driver licenses are: Class A. Class B. Class C. 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. Tanker vehicles. Livestock carriers.To drive certain specialized types of vehicles such as buses or tank trucks or carry hazardous materials, you must also apply for the proper endorsements on your CDL.
Endorsements include Passenger Pallowing you to carry passengers; Tank Tallowing you to drive trucks containing liquid cargo; and H Hazardous Materialsallowing you to drive trucks containing such hazardous materials as flammable liquids, explosives, or radioactive substances. To obtain an endorsement, you will need to pass a specialized knowledge exam and possibly a specialized driving skills test. To obtain a School Bus S endorsement, you must also undergo a thorough background check.
A Class A commercial driver's license is required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating GVWR of 26, or more pounds, provided the towed vehicle is heavier than 10, pounds. Tractor semi truck with flatbed trailer image credit. A Class B commercial driver's license is required to operate a single vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of 26, or more pounds, or tow a vehicle not heavier than 10, pounds.
How to Get a Commercial Driver License in 2020
A Class C commercial driver's license is required to operate a vehicle that is designed to transport 16 or more occupants including you, the driver or transport hazardous materials HazMatmaterials that are classified as hazardous under federal law. A Commercial Driver's License is required to drive commercial motor vehicles CMVs such as tractor trailers, semi-trucks, dump trucks, and passenger buses.
CDL classification is also determined by the vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating GVWR and other specific requirements. It takes highly specialized knowledge and skills to operate a commercial motor vehicle. But prior tomany states allowed anyone with an automobile driver license to operate a CMV. As a result, many drivers throughout the country were driving CMVs without proper training. 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. The minimum age to apply for a CDL is typically However, some states allow drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to apply for a single-state CDL. When the driver turns 21, that restriction is automatically removed. There are strict federal guidelines for obtaining a CDL, and each state has its own requirements that need to be also met. You must pass both a written knowledge exam and a driving skills test, which are designed by your state.
Need to pass your CDL exam? Beginner Driver's Guide. Tractor-trailers also known as Semi, Big Rig or wheelerTruck and trailer combinations, Tanker vehicles, Livestock carriers, Flatbeds. Straight trucks, Large buses city buses, tourist buses, and school busesSegmented buses, Box trucks including delivery trucks and furniture trucksDump trucks with small trailers.