What Is a Class A CDL?


Quick Answer

A Class A commercial driver's license is required to operate Class A vehicles in the United States. Class A combination vehicles have a gross weight greater than 26,000 pounds or tow a load in excess of 10,000 pounds. Since 1986 drivers must meet national standards for a state to issue a CDL. States have the right to require drivers have a Class A CDL for other vehicles.

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Full Answer

While many drivers with a CDL undergo formal training, it is not a legal requirement. Federal law requires drivers to have endorsements before hauling certain materials or passengers. It requires school bus drivers to have an "S" endorsement, which requires both written and driving tests, a check of the sex offender registry, a background check and a passenger endorsement. Truck drivers who haul two or three trailers are required to earn a "T" endorsement. To haul hazardous materials, the driver takes a written test and must pass background checks by the Transportation Safety Department.

The law requires drivers to pass an extensive physical exam by a certified medical provider. Not all physicians are qualified to administer the physical. Some disqualifying health issues include insulin dependant diabetes, active alcoholism, uncontrolled hypertension or certain other conditions that increase the chances of accidents.

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