How to Become a Commercial Driver

Basic Requirements For Commercial Drivers – How To Become a Commercial Driver?

Commercial driving opportunities provide people with a lucrative career option, but there are requirements that must be met before a person becomes eligible to fill a position as a commercial driver. Understanding the requirements and forming a step-by-step plan to work toward this career goal is a must for anyone who would like to be successful in the field. CDL schools provide training resources for potential drivers.

Be sure to meet the basic requirements for becoming a commercial driver before embarking on the task of obtaining a commercial driver’s license. The most basic requirement is the age requirement. People who are planning to drive commercially only within their state of residence must be at least 18 years of age. This is referred to as intrastate driving. People who engage in interstate driving must be at least 21 years of age.

People who would like to obtain a commercial driver’s license must also be able to pass a vision test and a basic knowledge test related to driving regulations. These tests allow a person to obtain a learner’s permit.

Understanding License Classes

There are different license classes that are available under the commercial driver’s license classification. Potential drivers may want to research employment opportunities in their area before deciding upon which license class they would like to obtain. Some people may want to obtain more than one CDL license class in order to expand their employment opportunities.

There are three CDL classes:

– Class A allows drivers to operate a combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of at least 26,001 pounds. Any vehicle or vehicles being towed in this combination must have a minimum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds.

– Class B allows drivers to operate single vehicles with a GCWR of at least 26,001 pounds. This CDL class also allows drivers to tow single vehicles that have a GVWR of at least 10,000 pounds.

– Class C allows drivers to operate vehicles that either transport a minimum of 16 passengers or transport hazardous materials. This class does not apply to the operation of any vehicles that fall into the Class A or Class B categories.

The Purpose of License Endorsements

Endorsements on a license allow drivers to become qualified to drive commercial vehicles that fall outside of the standard definitions of a commercial vehicle. There are six endorsements that a driver can obtain:

– T requires drivers to pass a knowledge test related to double and triple trailers.

– P requires drivers to pass both a knowledge and skills test to drive passenger vehicles.

– N requires drivers to pass a knowledge test in order to drive tank vehicles.

– H requires drivers to pass a knowledge test related to hazardous materials.

– X is a combination of endorsements N and H.

– S is a skills and knowledge test that allows an individual to be qualified to drive a bus.

Understanding License Restrictions

There are also license restrictions that may be placed on a commercial driver’s license if an individual has not adequately demonstrated a certain knowledge or skill related to driving a commercial vehicle. There are six license restrictions:

– L means that the driver has either taken a skills test without a vehicle that has air brakes equipped or failed the portion of the general knowledge test that relates to air brakes.

– Z means that the driver completed their test in a vehicle equipped with an air over hydraulic brake system and is not permitted to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that uses air brakes.

– E means that the skills test was taken in an automatic vehicle. The driver is not permitted to operate a manual vehicle.

– O means that the driver used a Class A vehicle during the skills test that had a connection that did not involve a fifth wheel. Drivers with this restriction may not operate a vehicle that has a fifth wheel connection.

– M means that the driver has a valid Class A CDL and is able to operate Class B or Class C passenger vehicles. This means that the individual cannot operate a Class A passenger vehicle.

– N means that the driver has a valid Class B CDL and is able to operate a Class C passenger vehicle. These drivers may not operate a Class B passenger vehicle.

CDL Training Opportunities

Schools that teach the skills necessary to become a commercial driver may be ideal for people who are confused about how to begin the process. Driving schools are available to give potential commercial drivers an opportunity to hone their skills behind the wheel before taking a skills test.

These training opportunities also guide individuals through the process of qualifying for and applying to obtain a CDL. The length of a training program is typically only about a month, so it is easy for individuals to fit training into their busy schedules. A good CDL training program should offer in-class and hands-on training. The combination of training in the classroom and behind the wheel allows individuals to prepare for both the skills and knowledge tests.

Many programs even offer job placement assistance when a person graduates from the program. The schools work closely with some of the biggest names in the trucking industry to find lucrative opportunities for graduates. Recruitment events and hiring events can make it easier for graduates to seek out these opportunities.