Truck Driver Requirements

The main requirement to be licensed as a commercial truck driver is that you must have a commercial driver’s license. A Commercial Driver’s License is commonly referred to as a CDL. To obtain a CDL, applicants must pass the license exam which is administered by the state or another authorized facility. The test is related to the type of vehicle the driver expects to operate.

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The legal age requirements to receive a CDL are as follows:

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Applicant must be at least 21 years of age to haul hazardous materials.
  • Applicant must be at least 21 years of age to drive interstate.

In addition to the age requirement drivers must be physically fit to drive a truck. Drivers must be able to pass a DOT Physical Exam. This exam usually consist of a general health exam, an eye exam, hearing exam, high blood pressure screening, and urine test.

Applicants that successfully past the physical exam will receive a medical certificate. Drivers must carry a medical certificate, dated within two years, stating he/she meets the federally mandated minimum physical requirements necessary to operate such motor vehicle. This certificate should be kept in the truck so that it can be quickly accessed if driver is stopped for any reason.

Drivers must pass the CDL Exam given by their state. A Commercial Driver’s License is commonly referred to as a CDL. To obtain a CDL applicants must pass the license exam which is administered by the state or another authorized facility. The exam consists of both a written test and a driving test. The written test determines the applicants knowledge pertaining to the unique handling qualities of driving large trucks and buses. All CDL applicants must take the written test.

The skills test is related to the type of vehicle the driver expects to operate. The states can use their own skills test, however, the test must meet minimum standards set forth by the Federal Government. The skills test includes a pre-trip inspection as well as a driving test. For passenger bus drivers, a current first aid certificate and a passenger endorsement is also required.

The following skills test may be required in your state:

  • Passenger Transport: Take this test if you want to drive a bus.
  • Air Brakes: Take this test if your vehicle has air brakes.
  • Combination Vehicles: Take this test if you want to drive combination vehicles.
  • Hazardous Test: Take this test if you want to haul hazardous material or waste in amounts requiring placarding.
  • Tanker: Take this test if you want to haul liquids in bulk.
  • Doubles/Triples Test: Take this test if you want to pull double or triple trailers.

Categories of Licenses:

Federal Standards require states to issue a CDL to drivers based on classifications. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of l986 established different classifications. The purpose was to improve road safety by assuring that drivers of large trucks and buses are able to operate those vehicles and to remove unsafe and unqualified drivers from the highways.

CDL Classifications fall into three categories. They are as follows:

Class A: Any combination of vehicles that weighs 26,000 or more pounds provided the GCWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. These include tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations and buses.

Class B: Any single vehicle with that weighs 26,001 or more pounds or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of $10,000 pounds GVWR. These include straight truck and large buses.

Class C: Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is transporting material that has been designated as hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and is required to be placarded under subpart F or 49 CFR part 172 or is transporting any quality of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR Part 73.

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