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Class A CDL

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Class A Cdl License Requirements

Requirements for obtaining a Class A CDL


The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 aims to improve highway safety by ensuring that drivers of large trucks and buses are qualified to operate those vehicles and to remove unsafe and unqualified drivers from the highways. The Act retained the State's right to issue a driver's license, but established minimum national standards which States must meet when licensing CMV drivers.

To obtain a CDL, a driver must first hold (or qualify for) a regular driver's license. This means that you must first pass the knowledge and skills test for a regular , non-commerical class C license.

The applicant should be at least 18 years of age, or 21 if seeking to operate across state lines.

Applicant should provide proof of his or her full legal name, legal residence, date of birth, and social security number.

In many states, applicant should have at least one year of non-commerical driving experience.

Pass the knowledge test

Pass any appropriate CDL endorsement tests

Pass the Skills (Commercial Drive) test

The Knowledge (Multiple-Choice format) Test

The knowledge (written) test must have at least 30 questions that test general knowledge. The applicant must answer at least 80% of the questions correctly to obtain a CDL.

The Skills (Commercial Drive) Test

You need to take the CDL exam in your own vehicle, or in the vehicle you will be driving at work. Trucks are not provided. Before beginning this test, you will first conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle and explain the to examiner why or why not it is safe to operate. You will explain what you are inspecting and why. In this stage, you should identify, check for, and inspect all of the following:

  • Lights / Reflectors
  • Leaks
  • Oil Level
  • Coolant Level
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Engine Compartment Belts
  • Alternator
  • Power Steering Pump
  • Air Compressor
  • Clutch / Gearshift
  • Oil Pressure Gauge
  • Ammeter / Voltmeter
  • Temperature Gauge
  • Mirrors and Windshield
  • Emergency Equipment
  • Steering Play
  • Wipers / Washers
  • Horn
  • Heater / Defroster
  • Parking Brake
  • Hydaulic Brake
  • Breakaway Control Module

After the pre-trip inspection, you will be tested on your skill to safely drive your vehicle in a variety of traffic situations. The inspector will direct you to execute left and right turns, navigate intersections, railway crossings, curves, up and down grades, single or multi-lane roads, streets, and highways.

Waivers - who doesn't need a CDL

Active duty military drivers were waived from the CDL requirements by the Federal Highway Administrator.

A State, at its discretion, may waive firefighters, emergency response vehicle drivers, farmers and drivers removing snow and ice in small communities from the CDL requirements.

A State may, at its discretion, waive the CDL knowledge and skills testing requirements for seasonal drivers in farm-related service industries and may waive certain knowledge and skills testing requirements for drivers in remote areas of Alaska.

More Information

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