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How to Get Your Commercial Driver License (CDL)?

The criterion for your CDL (commercial driver license) varies by the state you are taking your test in. However, there are standards which the Federal Government requires regardless of the state.

The requirements for a commercial driver license depend on a certain set of factors.

-Actual weight or registered weight of the vehicle. This would be 10,000 lbs.

-Any combination of vehicles where the towed weight and gross weight is up to 10,000 lbs.

-Any vehicle carrying hazardous materials

-A vehicle that is designed to carry 16 plus passengers and the driver.

A series of knowledge tests and skill tests are required as a first step toward your CDL. The knowledge tests that are required are based on the class of CDL you are trying to obtain and what endorsements are required.

The general knowledge test is required by all CDL applicants. If you are going to be using air brakes another knowledge test is taken for this.

There are tests for hauling of double or triple additional trailers, for liquids the tanker knowledge test is required; the same would go for hazardous materials and for combination vehicles.

Once you have gotten past the knowledge test, you will then have to take the skills tests. These tests are comprised of a pre-trip vehicle inspection test, basic vehicle control and over the road driving. The skills tests must be taken in the type vehicles that you are intending to drive.

CDL rules also apply to gaining and keeping your license. Some of these rules are:

-Your home state license is the only license you are able to retain. All other licenses must be surrendered. The breaking of this rule can lead to loss of your CDL, $5,000 fine or jail.

-With the exception of parking violations your employer must be informed within 30 days of any traffic violations.

-Should you have your licensed revoked you have 1 day to notify your employer.

-Due to the computerization of all commercial driving licenses throughout all the states. It makes the possession of more than one CDL nearly impossible.

Also included in CDL standards are the Federal medical standards. These standards require that all CDL drivers meet the physical Federal standards. This includes being 21 years of age, limbs must be intact, insulin treated diabetes will exclude you as well as some cardiovascular ailments and respiratory dysfunctions among other physical problems.

Before getting your CDL you must first obtain a permit. In order to get started toward your CDL you are required to have a certified instructor who is over 21 years of age and must be seated beside you at all times.

The only persons that are allowed to ride with you are those who hold permits and are under the instruction of the certified driver.

You must be over 21 years of age and have a fed med card in order to operate on an instructor permit.

Any other requirements that may apply would be found on a state by state basis. The guidelines mentioned here are those required by the Federal government regardless of state.

Upon receiving your CDL any other requirements that may apply will be strictly required by the trucking company that you are applying at.

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