Obtaining a commercial driver's instruction permit is the first step toward a Class B commercial driver's license. Permits usually require a minimum age of 18 (21 for interstate driving), a valid driver's license, up to two years of driving experience and successful completion of a written exam. After securing the permit, the next step is completion of a Class B commercial driver's license training program, available through vocational schools and community colleges, followed by the state commercial driver's license exam.
Recommended preparation materials for the instruction permit exam include online practice tests and state commercial driver's license manuals. Some states also require medical and drug tests prior to granting the commercial driving instruction permit or license.
Class B training programs usually last four weeks or less and include classroom training on traffic and trucking laws as well as federal safety regulations. Time spent driving accompanied by a licensed commercial truck driver is a key part of Class B training. The behind-the-wheel training includes gear shifting, vehicle control, parking and docking. Outside training also covers pre-trip freight and truck inspection.
The commercial driver's license test includes both a written test and a skill and road test on material covered in the course and the state's commercial driver's license manual. Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations require that applicants for a commercial driver's license speak and read English well enough to communicate, read traffic signs and complete required reports and records.