Truck drivers transport almost three-fourths of the country’s freight, and 80 percent of communities depend…
A commercial drivers license (CDL) enables the holder to operate vehicles of a commercial nature. This includes trucks, tankers and buses. It is the class of license together with any endorsements that determines what size vehicle and what sort of goods the holder can transport. Generally speaking, the classes and endorsements are common across the nation even though each state manages their own licensing. This often means that, although you hold a particular license in one state, if you move to another state you will need to transfer your license to that new state.
Using Florida’s licensing system as an example, the classes of commercial drivers license fall into the following three categories:
- Class A: Trucks or a truck combination that has gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 lbs. or more, provided towed vehicle is more than 10,000 lbs.
- Class B: Straight trucks weighing 26,001 lbs. gross vehicle weight rating or more
- Class C: Vehicles transporting placardable amounts of hazardous materials, or vehicles designed to transport more than 15 persons including the driver with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,001 lbs.
Endorsements are additions, or special components to a license, that allow the operator to move certain goods. The Endorsement comes in the form of a letter; for example, an A class CDL with H endorsement. The endorsements are (for Florida):
- H. Any vehicle used to transport hazardous materials in placardable amounts.
- N. A tank vehicle designed to transport any liquid or gaseous material with designed capacity of 1,000 gallons or more.
- P. Any vehicle, public or private, designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver
- S. A commercial motor vehicle (requires CDL) used to transport pre-primary, primary or secondary school students from home to school, from school to home or to and from school-sponsored events. Does not include a bus used as a common carrier.
- T. Combination vehicles with double/triple trailers
- X. Any tank vehicle used to transport placardable amounts of hazardous material
To obtain a commercial drivers license, you will need to meet certain requirements such as age (18), pass an eye test and undertake (and pass) written and practical tests. There are also Federal requirements that need to be meet (for example, if you are wanting a H – hazardous materials – endorsement then you will need TSA finger print clearance) and a DOT physical examination.
ATS Truck Driver Schools can help prepare you for the tests that are required to obtain your commercial drivers license. This includes both in-class and behind-the-wheel training. Truck drivers are in high demand and although the process to obtain a CDL may seem protracted, it can be achieved quite quickly. A Class A commercial drivers license can certainly open the door to a whole new career.