- Single vehicles up to 26,000 gross vehicle weight (GVW) are generally exempt from requiring a CDL. If a single vehicle is over 26,000 lbs GVW, it requires a Class-B CDL.
- If a single vehicle under 26,000 GVW hauls hazardous materials, or is designed to haul sixteen or more passengers, then a Class-C CDL is required.
- Combination vehicles (truck and trailer) require a Class-A CDL if the gross weight rating of the trailer is over 10,000 lbs and the combined weight rating of the truck and trailer are over 26,000 GVW. Most people aren't aware that the typical pickup with a larger trailer, such as one carrying a mini-excavator, falls into this category.
- Driving any school bus requires a Class-B or Class-C CDL.
Requirements to obtain a CDL:
- Take written tests for the licenses needed
- Get a DOT physical exam (from your doctor)
- Obtain a CDL learners permit
- Take the required formal training (HCDL TRAINING CENTER)
- Take a "skills test" (from HCDL TRAINING CENTER)
The skills test for a Class-A CDL involves three parts:
- Pre-trip inspection which is used to ensure that the truck and trailer are safe for use via in-cab tests and a walk-around examination of the truck. This test includes very specific requirements, particularly for testing the air brake system.
- Basic Controls test which involves straight-backing the truck/trailer down a 100' long, narrow aisle and stopping within a 2' area, then backing and entering the aisle from a 45 degree angle.
- Road Test which involves driving in city and freeway conditions.