Have you ever applied to a trucking job before? You might read in the requirements the word “Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)”.
Even if the job doesn’t require a CDL, you also might hear about this word before, as this word is very connected to the trucking industry.
In this article, I am going to let you know what is a CDL, how much is a commercial driver’s license, and how to get a commercial driver’s license.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
- 2 What Are Types of CDL?
- 3 Who Needs a Commercial Driver’s License?
- 4 How Much is Commercial Driver’s License?
- 5 What Are The Commercial Driver’s License Requirements?
What is a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a driver’s license that a driver needs to be able to operate large, heavy, or placarded hazardous material vehicles in commerce.
What Are Types of CDL?
There isn’t just one CDL class. Actually, there are 3 types of CDL.
We have a commercial driver’s license class A, class B, and class C.
Vehicle weight is the thing that determines the class of a commercial driver’s license.
Going deeply in the types of CDL, check the following details:
1. Commercial Driver’s License Class A
This type of CDL allows drivers to drive any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of twenty-six thousand one (26,001) pounds or more.
In addition, this also includes a towed vehicle heavier than 10,000 pounds.
Here are some vehicles that you can operate with class A commercial driver’s license:
- Combinations of truck and trailer, including double and triple trailers.
- Tractor-trailer buses.
- Tanker vehicles.
- Livestock carriers.
2. Commercial Driver’s License Class B
Commercial driver’s license class B allows its holders to drive any single vehicle with a GVWR of twenty-six thousand one (26,001) pounds or more.
Besides, this includes any such vehicle towing a vehicle not more than ten thousand (10,000) pounds.
Here are some vehicles that CDL class B allows you to drive:
- Straight trucks.
- Large buses, including city buses, tourist buses, and school buses.
- Segmented buses.
- Box trucks (e.g.: delivery drivers, couriers, and furniture delivery).
- Dump trucks with small trailers.
- Delivery and courier trucks.
- Concrete delivery trucks.
- Garbage trucks.
- Some Class C vehicles.
- Non-commercial Vehicles.
3. Commercial Driver’s License Class C
Drivers with commercial driver’s license class C can drive any single vehicle with a GVWR of less than twenty-six thousand one (26,001) pounds.
As well as, you are able to drive any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR, not in excess of ten thousand (10,000) pounds.
Here are some vehicles that a driver holds a CDL class B can drive:
- Vehicles transporting sixteen or more passengers, including the driver, or those that transport more than ten passengers, including the driver.
- Vehicles that transport hazardous materials.
- Combination vehicles that are mentioned in class A or B, including a small truck towing a trailer.
You need to know that having a CDL class A allows you to drive vehicles of commercial driver’s license class B and class C.
This means that CDL class A will provide more opportunities, so that when any commercial driving position that requires a CDL (Class A, B, or C) it will be available to you to apply.
Who Needs a Commercial Driver’s License?
If you are a driver or looking forward to becoming a driver, you need to know that having a CDL is important to be able to operate an automobile.
But some employers may not realize a commercial driver license is needed to operate certain work-related vehicles.
So who needs a commercial driver’s license? And does every driver need to hold a CDL?
According to Department of Transport regulations, workers must hold a CDL if the vehicle they will be operating meets the following definition:
- Has a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more including a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating exceeds 10,000 pounds.
- With a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
- Transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
- Is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined by the Department of Transport.
On the contrary, here are some vehicles operators that are not required to obtain a CDL:
- Farm Equipment Operators, this exemption covers legitimate farm-to-market operations by farmers, not commercial grain haulers.
- Controlled and operated by a farmer, a member of the farmerʼs family, or an employee.
- Used to transport farm products, equipment, or supplies to or from a farm (including nurseries and aquacultures).
- Used within 150 air miles of the farm.
- Not used in the operations of a common or contract carrier.
- Used in nursery or agricultural operations.
How Much is Commercial Driver’s License?
When you decide to get your CDL, you need to prepare yourself for its expenses.
According to schneiderjobs.com, the total cost of a CDL is $3,000 and $7,000.
Truck driving school costs and CDL fees vary according to the school options you choose and where you live.
In addition, here are some factors that affect the cost of a CDL:
- How much the driving time is, range time and classroom time, and how comprehensive the program is.
- Reputation and job placement record.
- Lodging and amenities, some schools include lodging in the cost of the school isn’t close enough to commute from home.
- Equipment options, as auto-only options are growing in popularity.
What Are The Commercial Driver’s License Requirements?
You may be concerned about how to get a commercial driver license the commercial driver’s license requirements:
- Must be at least 21 years (18 to 20 years of age to drive intrastate)
- Must successfully pass the following tests :
- General Knowledge Test:
- Basic Controls of Your Vehicle
- Shifting Gears
- Vehicle Inspection
- Managing Driving Conditions
- Antilock Braking Systems
- Seeing Hazards & Communicating
- Air Brakes:
- Air Brakes System Parts.
- Dual Air Brakes Systems.
- Using Air Brakes.
- Inspecting Air Brakes.
- Pre-Trip Inspection:
- Internal Inspection.
- External Inspection.
- Emergency Exit and Evacuation.
- Special Safety Considerations.
- General Knowledge Test:
- Pass a vision test.
- Submit your state’s CDL application and pay the appropriate fee.
- Provide identity and social security number verification.
- Provide proof of state and US residency.
- Submit a completed Medical Examination Report Form and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form.
- Wait a minimum of 14 days before you can schedule your CDL road skills examination.
- After passing, pay the necessary fees for your new CDL.
Finally, I think that things are clear for you about what is a CDL and the types, CDL requirements, and how to get it.
I think now it is time to decide which trucking type suits you, see if this type requires you a CDL, and if yes, which type of CDL, then apply for the job and enjoy your area of interest.