What Are the U.S. DOT Regulations Regarding Commercial Drivers Licenses?


Quick Answer

A commercial drivers license (CDL) involves passing a physical examination, obtaining a learner's permit and passing a skills test. There are several classes of CDLs that require special qualifications.

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Full Answer

Specialized licenses are required for three classes of CDLs such as school buses, tank trucks and tractor trailers. All CDLs have a skills test associated with each class. Some tests are written along with an on-road drivers test.

The first step to getting a CDL is obtaining a commercial learner's permit, CLP. The CLP allows the learner to train on public roads with a licensed CDL holder. To gain a CLP, a background check, a driving record going back 10 years and a physical examination is required.

A student driver holding the CLP must train for at least 14 days before becoming eligible to take the skills test. There are three parts of the test: A vehicle inspection, basic controls and a road test. The student driver must pass all three parts of the test before qualifying for a CDL.

It is illegal to hold a CDL from more than one state. In many states, there are special qualifications for driving a truck with double or triple trailers, a truck with a tank or a truck carrying hazardous materials.

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