CDL TRAINING A commercial Driver’s license better known as CDL is a type of a driver’s license required in the USA to be able to drive a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 lbs and more. The vehicles are mainly for commercial use, and transporting hazardous materials or carrying more than 16 passenger’s driver included. Such vehicles mainly include trucks, buses, and tractor trailers among others. A CDL contains the following information: • The statement stating that the license is a Commercial Driving License or CDL. • The full names of the holder, signature and the adress. • The physical descriptions that can be used to identify the person being issued with the license and other information such as date of birth, sex and the height. • A colored photograph of the driver. • The state’s name that the license was issued in. • The driver’s state license number. • The date the license was issued and the date the license will expire. • The group of vehicles that the person is allowed to drive. They are usually indicated as: T for double/triple trailers, P for passengers, N for tank vehicles, H for hazardous materials, X for a combination of the hazardous materials and the tank vehicles and S for the school bus. • There are other additional codes for representing certain restrictions in each state. Such codes may include: L on a full air brake meaning if a driver fails the air brake component of the test, or undertakes the test in a vehicle that is not equipped with an air brake, then the driver’s license will have the L. If the driver takes the general skills test with a vehicle that has an automatic transmission, then the license will have an E meaning no manual transmission allowed. • If a person has a class A cdl training license and obtains a passenger or school bus approval in a class B vehicle the letter M restriction is placed to indicate that the holder can only operate a class A or B vehicle. In this case, if the person has a class B license and gets passenger license in class C, the letter N is placed to indicate that he person must operate class C passenger vehicles. • If the license belongs to a nonresident, then the license must have the ‘Non-resident Commercial Driver’s license’.
Training in the USA For those aspiring to become truck or bus drivers, one has to enroll in a CDL training program that is accredited. On the other hand, the training can come in different forms. You can have the CDL training in a truck driving school, community colleges, professional truck driving institutes and certified trucking schools. Community college training is mainly found in college communities where many people live. Many community colleges are now offering CDL training but the college should be an accredited one. Accredited trucking schools are schools whose programs are evaluated for educational standards by the government. PTDI is not a trucking school but an organization that evaluates trucking school programs for safety and to make sure they offer the best training possible. When it comes to financing the training, one can opt to pay the money himself while others can get the company they are working for to pay for them.
The company will train you without having to ask for money somewhere else. This is like getting free training. There are also some alternative methods you can use to get your CDL training. There are home based courses that will help you study and get your CDL license. Other options may include hiring someone to practice driving with you but these home based courses may be a disadvantage especially if you are looking to work in a company someday. Employers tend to prefer people with official training to drive their vehicles. Some accredited cdl training schools in the USA may include but not limited to: • SAGE technical services which has owned and managed truck driving schools since the 1970s. • Fox Valley Technical College. • Diesel Driving Academy. • LCTI professional Truck Driving School among others.
What is Contained in the Cdl training
The CDL training mainly includes three classes with class A containing a total of 160 hours with at least 40 hours of instructions in the classrooms, 18 hours of training on how to drive, 16 hours of training how to back maneuver, 70 hours of classroom training and observing and 16 hours of proficiency training. The second class or class B CDL training contains a roughly a total of 48 hours with at least 20 hours of instructions in the classroom, 14 hours of street driving, 4 hours of proficiency training, 4 hours of maneuvering training and 6 hours of lab training and observation. The third class CDL training contains roughly a total of 36 hours with 20 hours of classroom instruction, 8 hours of street driving, 2 hours of back maneuvering training, 2 hours of proficiency development and 4 hours of lab training and observation.
A student must complete either of the classes he/she chooses in order to get a certificate. This certificate will be presented in the driver license offices when one goes to get the CDL. The certificate however has to be the original. No photocopies or duplicates of any kind. One is also required to take, and pass the department of transportation physical exam, a drug test, and a screening test and also produce a valid license issued in his/her respective state. A person with a qualified Class A license is qualified to drive any vehicles with a vehicle weight of 26,000 or more pounds provided the a gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle being pulled has an excess of 10,000 pounds. A class B license qualification requires the holder to operate any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 or more pounds. Class C qualification will require a person to drive a single vehicle or a combination of vehicles that does not meet the qualifications of class A or B but is designed to carry more than 16 or more passengers or is transporting hazardous materials.
Basic CDL License Requirements
Common CDL license requirements include the following:
- Age requirements
- Documentation, including proof of citizenship
- Medical and physical standards
- Language requirements
- Written and knowledge tests
- Skill and road test
Applying for a CDL License
To apply for a CDL you must have a valid non-commercial driver’s license and in most states be at least 18 years old with one or two years of driving experience depending on the state. To drive interstate, you must be at least 21 years old. When you apply, you need your driver’s license, your social security card, or proof of the number. You also need one other document such as a birth certificate or green card.
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Section 391.11) a driver must speak English sufficiently to communicate, read traffic signs, respond to official inquiries, and fill out reports and records.
Finally, the written tests can include:
- General knowledge
- School bus
- Air brake, combination vehicle (semi)
- Hazardous material
- Tank vehicle
- Double or triple trailer
The skill and road test requires a vehicle which is typically supplied by a truck driving school. You take a driving test which includes a pre-trip inspection, backing, space control, and general driving skills, much like your original driver’s test.
Types of CDL Licenses
Class A: A Class A license allows you to drive any size or combinations of vehicles providing you have the proper endorsements.
Class B: A Class B license allows you to drive any single vehicle of any weight. You can also pull a trailer providing the GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) is less than 10,000 pounds. Over this weight you will need a Class A license.
Class C: A Class C license lets you drive a vehicle under 26,001 pounds carrying 16 or more persons including the driver if you have a passenger endorsement. It also allows you to drive the same size vehicle carrying hazardous materials with the driver having an endorsement for hazardous materials.
Restrictions: The restrictions on a commercial driver’s license include an air brake restriction. You cannot drive a vehicle equipped with air brakes unless you have passed the written air brake examination and taken your skill/road test in a vehicle equipped with air brakes.
The passenger restriction says that you cannot drive a passenger vehicle that is in a higher class than you tested in. For example, you cannot drive a Class B vehicle if you tested in a Class C