August 11, 2022

CDL Requirements – What You Need To Get Your CDL

Many good jobs await drivers who get a CDL. With a CDL you can drive a school bus, a passenger bus, a big rig semi, a gas tanker and many more types of vehicles. It may seem a little confusing when first looking at CDL requirements but with a little research you will easily be able to determine which type of CDL is appropriate for you.
Commercial Drivers License

Even though formal schooling is not required for a CDL many drivers have found this route to be the quickest and surest way to obtain a CDL. One of the advantages to a CDL training course is that you will receive assistance in sorting through both federal and state regulations and requirements along with assistance deciding which course to take. Then, extensive classroom and hands on training prepares you for the written and practical CDL testing.

Before signing up with any training school, be sure that they are certified. These courses are not inexpensive; don’t waste money on unrecognized schooling. Check with the DOT (Department of Transportation) or the FHA (Federal Highway Administration) for certified courses near you.

Even though there are federal requirements for CDLs, they are issued by states. Formal training is not a requirement for a CDL. Applicants are required to pass written tests pertaining to highway safety as well as a written test pertaining to the various parts of a truck (30 question minimum). In order to pass applicants must correctly answer a minimum of 80% of the questions.

The administration of the practical exam involves the applicant performing a required set of operator maneuvers designed to test driving skills. It is a requirement that the practical test be taken in a vehicle of the type the applicant intends to drive. Applicants can test for endorsements to their CDL. To test for an endorsement the exam must be administered in a vehicle equipped with the same equipment the endorsement enables. In other words, to test for an Air Brake Endorsement the exam must be administered in a vehicle equipped with Air Brakes.

Facilities other than state testing sites can administer CDL tests. Private institutions, employers, training schools and governmental departments are allowed to give knowledge and skills driving exams under certain provisos. Instructors and trainers must have the same professional certification as state instructors and the tests have to be the very same as those administered by the issuing state. Annual state inspections and evaluations assure that third party facilities meet state and federal CDL mandates.

The USDOT sets 21 as the minimum age at which one may apply for a CDL. However, there are a few states that allow 18-20 year olds to hold a CDL valid only within the state of issue (single state CDL). Single state CDLs automatically become valid nationwide at age 21. 18-20 years olds are precluded completely from obtaining either School Bus or HazMat endorsements. Some states preclude 18-20 year olds from obtaining Class A CDLs altogether (New York for example).

CDL requirements are delineated clearly in state specific CDL manuals. Any potential CDL licensee ought to confirm their states requirements in their quest to become a licensed CDL driver. Don’t overlook the details if you want to successfully get your license.

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