Commercial Driver’s License Types Explained

Driving a truck for a living comes with many benefits but requires a commercial driver’s license. There are three types of CDL licenses. Each one allows the driver to operate certain vehicle sizes and weights. Knowing what job you plan to do can help you determine the type of CDL license you need.

CDL Explained

Take your career on the road and out of that stuffy office with a CDL license. CDL classification is based on a variety of factors including type of vehicle and gross vehicle weight rating. After applying for a commercial learner’s permit, students can begin practicing driving commercial vehicles as part of their driver’s training program. While some states allow drivers under the age of 21 to apply, most states require drivers to be 21 to operate the vehicles. In those states that allow 18 or 20-year-olds to apply, a restriction is placed on the license until they reach 21 allowing them only to drive within that state. CDL drivers can find water hauling jobs North Dakota offering competitive pay and insurance.

Class C CDL

Hazardous material transportation and operating a vehicle with more than sixteen passengers including the driver requires a Class C CDL license. Federal law classifies certain materials as hazardous and requires certain procedures to properly handle those materials. Class C CDL drivers can operate passenger vans, combination vehicles not covered under Class A or Class B and small HazMat vehicles with the proper endorsements.

Class B CDL

A single vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds requires a Class B CDL to operate. These vehicles cannot tow a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds. With the right endorsements, drivers with a Class B CDL can operate box trucks, dump trucks with small trailers, large passenger buses, tractor-trailers, straight trucks and segmented buses. With additional endorsements, Class B CDL operators can drive some vehicles with a Class C designation.

Class A CDL

Vehicles with a gross combination weight rating more than 26,000 pounds require a Class A CDL. The towed vehicle must weigh more than 10,000 pounds. Additional endorsements may be required to drive livestock carriers, tractor-trailers, tank vehicles, flatbeds and truck and trailer combinations. Additional endorsements can allow Class A CDL drivers to operate some vehicles under Class B or Class C.

Taking the time to determine the types of vehicles you wish to drive before applying for your CDL can ensure you have the right license for the job. See which endorsements you need ahead of time, so you can complete any necessary education or training requirements.

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