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Class A CDL

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What is a Class "A" CDL?

The term CDL (or C.D.L.) is an abbreviation for Commercial Driver's License. In order to operate a commercial vehicle in the United States, a Commercial Driver's License is required.

A Class A CDL is a specific type of Commercial Driver's License. A Class A CDL is required to operate any combination of vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) over 26,001 pounds (11,793 kg), provided GVWR of the vehicle being towed is over 10,000 lbs.

There are a number of requirements to getting a Class A CDL, including both a written exam and hands-on driving maneuvers test. While a formal training class is not required, many students find these courses an invaluable portion of their training.

There are an number of CDL endorsements available as well. Depending on the type of endorsement, an additional test may be required

List of CDL Endorsements
  • T - Double/Triple Trailers (Knowledge test)
  • P - Passenger (Knowledge and Skills Tests)
  • N - Tank Vehicle (Knowledge Test)
  • H - Hazardous Materials (Knowledge Test)
  • X - Combination of Tank Vehicle and Hazardous Materials

As with regular driver's licenses, each state is reqponsible for administering its own CDL examination. States develop their own CDL tests using the Federal Guidelines as the minimum standard.

The fine for operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) without a valid CDL can be steep. Penalties can run as high as $5,000 and carry a jail sentence of up to 90 days. Additionally, the employer may face additional fines of up to $10,000.

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