General Information on Getting a Certified Driver License CDL
If you have aspirations to enter the industry of transportation and become a truck driver, there are many requirements that you must accomplish.
To begin the journey towards obtaining a commercial driver license, one must keep the following in mind:
Most trucking companies require that you be at least 21 years of age for interstate driving or 18 years of age for intrastate driving.
- You must appear before the DOT physical exam.
- You must comply with a drug test screening test.
- You must produce a valid drivers license from the state in which you live.
Within the US, training may be received by finishing a qualified commercial driver’s license program offered by a truck driving school. Each of these programs concentrates on educating prospective truck drivers who require knowledge and skills for accurately and safely operate a truck. These skills include but are not limited to:
- Map reading
- Trip planning
- Compliance with DOT laws
- Hooking a trailer
- Road driving
The objective of the training schools is to assist potential truck drivers in acquiring knowledge and passing the driving test. Furthermore, the training center office will assist with advanced techniques such as:
- Skid avoidance
- Various emergency options for unexpected situations such as breakaway trailer and hydroplaning
What is a commercial driver’s license?
A commercial driver’s license is an essential document in the US, which is required to operate any form of a vehicle which has a weight over 26,000 pounds, for commercial use, or transfers various amounts of hazardous materials. Any driver who seeks to obtain truck driving jobs, needs a commercial driving license if the vehicle meets one of the following criteria:
- Class A truck – A class A truck is any type of vehicle with a weight rating 26,000 pounds or greater.
- Class B truck – A class B truck is any kind of vehicle that weighs 26,001 or more pounds.
- Class C truck – A class C truck is any singular vehicle or a combination of vehicles that don’t meet the classification criteria of the Class A or B. Therefore, the vehicle is meant to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver.
Obtaining the commercial driver’s license
To become a commercial driver and obtain truck driving jobs, you must pass two main testing sections:
- The general knowledge test
- The road driving test
In order to obtain your license, formal training is not required. However, different states may implement additional restrictions. A potential truck driver must pass the following:
- A written test on highway safety
- A test about various components of a truck
The number of questions is minimum 30. In order to pass the knowledge test, the prospective driver needs to get at least 80% in addition to passing the driving skills test. A driving skills test is required to be in a vehicle that the driver operates or hopes to drive.
The general knowledge test
The general knowledge test includes testing driver’s knowledge about air brakes, cargo vehicles, passenger vehicles, combination vehicles, school bus endorsements, etc. Depending on the license you wish to pursue, you will be asked to appear for additional knowledge tests such as
- The hazardous materials knowledge test – if you intend on towing hazardous or waste materials
- The air brakes knowledge test – if your vehicle has air brakes.
- The combination vehicles test
- The school bus test – if you intend to drive school buses
- The tanker test – required to haul liquids in bulk
- The doubles/triples test – for double and triple trailers
The road driving test
After you have completed the necessary knowledge test, you can take the road driving test. It has three main components:
- Pre-trip inspection
- Basic vehicle control
- On-road driving
These three tests are required to become a CDL truck driver in accordance with the type of the vehicle you wish to be licensed for.