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6 Important Things You Need To Know About Obtaining a CDL

Obtaining a CDL is not an easy process and should be taken very seriously. CDL is a commercial driver’s license that allows the holder to operate any type of vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds for the purpose of transporting goods or passengers in commerce. CDL also requires you to have CDL endorsements, which are special permits that allow you to drive certain types of vehicles, such as school buses or hazardous materials carriers. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time applying for CDL or your tenth time; we will provide all necessary information on obtaining a CDL, so there are no surprises!

Obtaining a CDL

The CDL is a license for commercial drivers

The Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is the US federal law that regulates interstate commerce transportation of goods and passengers in large trucks, buses, or other types of heavy motor vehicles. The regulation ensures uniformity among states’ licensing requirements by establishing minimum standards such as age restrictions, physical qualifications to operate certain heavier motor vehicles with air brakes, limited exceptions from operating time limitations on driving-hours records for individuals who are medically qualified to drive them, etc. 

The CDL is not issued by individual states, but rather through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This institution regulates safety for all individuals who travel on our nation’s highways and roads while operating large trucks or buses, either privately owned or commercially operated. 

In addition to obtaining an initial state-issued Class A Commercial Driver License, you will also need a Medical Examiner Certificate with each renewal period of your CDL. You should always check with your employer if they require additional certifications such as Hazmat, Tanker Endorsement, etc. – these are different from what you would need for your CDL. 

You must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license

You must be 18 years or older to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL). You can’t have any serious moving violations on your current driving record, and you need at least two years of experience with the type of vehicle that accompanies your desired endorsement. 

To qualify for an air brakes endorsement, you’ll also need to show proof of certification within the last year from the Commercial Driver Training Program Director/Instructor who gave you instruction in operating school buses equipped with air braking systems. 

To qualify for a combination vehicle endorsement, you need to show proof of certification within the last year from the Commercial Driver Training Program Director/Instructor who gave you instruction in operating trucks and buses with air brakes. 

If there is no CDL training program available or if it doesn’t provide what your organization needs, then contact a truck driving school. The folks at explained that driving schools will be able to certify an employee as qualified based on their specific experience and knowledge requirements – even if they do not have all three endorsements required by federal law (combination vehicle, passenger car, air brakes). Just make sure to get all the necessary information before you sign up. 

The CDL can take up to 6 months to obtain, so plan ahead 

CDLs are commonly issued for class A, B, and C commercial drivers. With the CDL you will receive different types of permits such as a school bus permit (A), tanker-vehicle driver’s license (B), or tank vehicle driving credential (C). The following documents are required to apply for your CDL – birth certificate, social security card, valid identification with signature including photo ID and current residence address, two proofs of residency which can include utility bill in applicant’s name or leasing agreement showing the applicant is on lease contract at the present location and dated within 60 days before the application date.

The cost of the CDL varies by state, but averages around $200-$300 

Getting a CDL will cost about $200-$300, which includes the cost of the CDL itself as well as the cost of taking a knowledge test and skills exam. You will also need to pay for the cost of taking a driving test, and the cost of using an examiner. If you want to find an earlier driving test, you can do so by searching for driving test cancellations. There are other things you may have to pay separately depending on which state you live in (such as the cost of obtaining fingerprints).

In order to get your CDL, you will need to pass both written and driving exams

Passing the driving and written exams will allow you to obtain your CDL and work as a commercial driver.

After passing the exams, students must wait between one and two weeks before being able to take their driving exam.

According to section 49 CFR 383.71(b)(ii), “The examination will consist of such parts of this chapter as may be determined by the Secretary.” 

This means that there is no set list of questions for drivers who are getting their CDL after they have passed both written and driving tests. Rather, it can change depending on what topics need more emphasis from year to year. However, there are some main topics in the Commercial Driver’s License Handbook (CDLH) that should always be covered enough during testing.

The topics are as follows: 

  • Air Brakes (Chapter 18) 
  • Combination Vehicles and Tractor Trailers (Chapters 11, 14 & 16) 
  • Combined Driving Operations Involving a Passenger or School Bus Vehicle 

Once obtained, the CDL is good for life as long as renewal requirements are met

Once you get your commercial driver’s license, it is good for life as long as you meet the requirements to renew your license. One of these requirements is to take a CDL refresher course every five years. The Department of Motor Vehicles offers this type of course for $105, and it can be taken in segments or all at once. 

Another requirement is the re-examination process, which helps make sure that drivers are properly trained and have not lost their skills over time. This includes taking an updated written exam as well as undergoing road tests with both standard cars and commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks, tractors/trailers, buses, etc. The re-examinations help to ensure the safety of other motorists on the road because they protect against people who may be unsafe behind the wheel due to lack of experience or possible medical issues. 

Obtaining a CDL

By getting your CDL, you’ll be able to work as a commercial driver. You can also use it to transport goods across state lines or even internationally. We hope this post has been helpful in educating you on the process of obtaining a CDL and what qualifications are necessary for eligibility.