A CDL, or commercial driver's license, is issued to ensure truck drivers are qualified to safely operate commercial motor vehicles. Class B refers to a class of vehicles within the CDL that has a gross vehicle weight over 26,000 pounds or is towing another vehicle that weighs under 10,000 pounds.
To obtain a CDL, a driver must complete a training program offered through a truck-driving school. These schools teach the driver how to operate the vehicle, along with skills such as map reading and trip planning, in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation laws. Drivers must also undergo a comprehensive physical exam to receive a medical certification that states they are healthy enough to safely operate a commercial vehicle.
The CDL may also include endorsements that allow the driver to operate passenger or school vehicles, tanks or vehicles carrying hazardous materials. The CDL was established with the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, mainly because operating a commercial vehicle requires more skill and knowledge than driving a normal vehicle. Drivers convicted of a traffic crime while operating a commercial vehicle face punishments that are more severe than normal driving infractions, such as higher fines and longer license suspension times.