Regulating by the US Department of Transportation, CDL is a compulsory license for all drivers who are willing to operate any type of vehicle weighing more than 26,000 lbs. (11,793 kg) for commercial use or dangerous materials transportation or designed to carry more than 16 people. Since it targets the heavy vehicle drivers, CDL license requirements are commonly harsher than other ordinary licenses.
Commercial Drivers License Requirements
The first thing to remember is that the CDL license requirements vary depending on different states or regions in the US but they all follow instruction from the Department of Motor Vehicles (MDV) and have a few things in common. First, you must meet the minimum requirements including age, medical evaluation, resident status and other additional information, which are different from state to state. However, in general, you must be at least 18 years old and be the resident of the state that you wish to obtain CDL. For example, you can apply for a CDL in New Jersey if you meet all those following demands: be at least 18 years old, have at least 20/40 vision in each eye, currently possess a Class D driver license for New Jersey residents, own ability to distinguish 3 basic colors consisting of red, amber and green, be physically certified by physician and finally your current license must be eligible.
Second, after passing all basic requirements, you might be asked to complete the next step – a fee submission that covers application process and two following tests. This fee is also diverse as it depends on each state’s regulations. Therefore, contact your local MDV office or visit its website to figure out exactly how much you must pay for your CDL.
Third, once you submit your application form at your local DMV office, you might also be required to take the first test, which is the CDL knowledge test. This test will verify your knowledge about the vehicle that you are about to drive as well as other rules and regulations regarding transportation. You must get a minimum score of 80 percent to pass the knowledge test.
The last obligatory step before getting your official CDL is the driving skill test, which will only be conducted if you pass the first knowledge test. Before taking this road test, you are allowed to practice operating the commercial vehicle you plan to drive under a learners permit and during your practice, a driver with CDL must accompany you. Then, an appointment with the test center shall be scheduled and in that test, you must bring the type of the vehicle that you are about to take. For instance, arrive to the test center with a bus if you want to be a bus driver. If you succeed in the final test, the examiner might issue you an interim CDL before the arrival of your official CDL by mail.
The CDL license requirements presented above are the common standard and might be different depending on the state’s regulations. However, you will surely get your CDL if you carefully prepare for all these requirements.