What is a CDL License?
In short, a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) shows carriers and employers that you are a licensed and competent Professional Truck Driver. Operating certain commercial motor vehicles requires specialized skills and knowledge. Prior to implementation of the Commercial Driver's License Program, anyone with a license to drive a car could also legally drive a tractor-trailer or a bus in a number of states. In circumstances where a classified licensing system was available, students weren't tested in vehicles similar to the kind they'd use. As a result, many drivers were operating motor vehicles that they may not have been qualified to drive.
What type of CDL do I need?
While the type of license is dependent on the type of work you're looking for, Roadmaster courses are primarily focused on the Class A CDL license. which is required for over-the-road (OTR) Professional Truck Drivers.
Why do I need a CDL?
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 was signed into law on October 27, 1986. The goal of the Act is to improve highway safety by ensuring that drivers of large trucks and buses are qualified to operate those vehicles and to remove unsafe and unqualified drivers from the highways.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has developed and issued standards for testing and licensing commercial motor vehicle drivers. Among other things, the standards require states to issue a Class A CDL to a commercial motor vehicle driver only after the driver passes knowledge and skills tests.
How do a Class A CDL and a Class B CDL differ?
Class A CDL License
Any combination of vehicles weighing 26,001 or more pounds provided the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. You also need this license to drive across state lines. Careers that require a Class A CDL include but are not limited to:
- Interstate Tractor-Trailer Driver
- Intrastate Tractor-Trailer Driver
Class B CDL License
Any single vehicle weighing 26,001 or more pounds towing a vehicle, not in excess of 10,000 pounds while driving only in the state in which it was issued.
Careers that require a Class B CDL include but are not limited to:
- Local Delivery Driver
- Dump Truck Driver
- Bus Driver
The federal government has set the policy across the board of what defines a commercial vehicle and license. Yet for the most part, states still handle the application and testing for those seeking a CDL. Poring over the federal or your state's handbooks can sometimes leave you scratching your head.
CDL Study Buddy can save you the hassle of searching for the how, what, when, and where throughout the multiple books and forms. You have all you need to know listed in one place, in the order that each step must be completed.
It's stressful enough having to take the bevy of tests that are part of obtaining a CDL, and then there are the hours upon hours of practice time behind the wheel that you'll need to endure when attempting to tackle chauffeur license test questions. So why should you struggle over the details of the application process?
Steps Required to Get a CDL License in 2023
- Be at least 21 years of age (18 to 0 years of age to drive intrastate)
- Submit your state's CDL Application and pay the appropriate fee
- Provide identity and social security number verification (check your state's requirements)
- Provide proof of state and US residency
- Submit a completed Medical Examination Report Form and Medical Examiner's Certificate Form
- Pass a vision test
- Pass a knowledge exam
- After passing, be issued a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP)
- Wait a minimum of 14 days before you can schedule your CDL road skills examination
- Pass a pre-trip inspection
- Pass the road skill and driving examination (you must bring your own vehicle)
- After passing, pay the necessary fees for your new CDL (Optionally, submit a 10 Year Record Check, if you've had a driver's license in any state or jurisdiction other than the one where you are applying for your CDL)
Free 2023 CDL Practice Tests
Updated for 2023, CDL Study Buddy's online practice tests will help you study for your Class A commercial driver's license (CDL) and along with all the endorsements. Our tests include general knowledge, combination vehicle, HAZMAT, tanker, doubles & triples. These tests are designed to supplement your truck driver training classes and resemble the actual test found at your local DMV.
A career in trucking begins with obtaining your CDL (Commercial Driver's License). In order to do so, you will be required to pass a series of written CDL tests to receive the proper endorsements, based on what type of trucking career you are pursuing. Don't waste your time or money by failing the written tests for your CDL permit.
Use our free study guides to learn everything you'll need to know to in order to pass all your test. Or in todays fast paced world if finding time to read is difficult your welcome to use our free audio CDL handbook.
To get a CDL and drive any type of commercial vehicle, you must take and pass the General Knowledge test. You'll be tested on general trucking knowledge, driving safely and transporting cargo safely, taken from sections 1, 2, and 3 of your state CDL manual. Once again, you MUST pass the General Knowledge exam to get your CDL.
To drive a commercial vehicle and pull any kind of trailer, you must pass the Combination Vehicles written CDL exam. Combination vehicles are usually heavier, longer, and require more driving skill than single commercial vehicles. This means that drivers of combination vehicles need more knowledge and skill than drivers of single vehicles. You must understand the important safety factors that apply specifically to combination vehicles.
If you plan on driving any CMV equipped with air brakes, you must take and pass the air brakes test to remove the air brakes restriction from your CDL. The air brakes test is different than the endorsement tests because the air brakes test works as a restriction instead of an endorsement. If you do not pass the air brakes test, your CDL will bear a mark of restriction which means that you are not authorized to drive a CMV with air brakes.
Before you start on any doubles and triples practice tests, you need to have your commercial driver's license first. Some states allow you to get both the commercial license and the T-endorsement at the same time, but most do not. Therefore, it's best to get your commercial license first, and then go for the double/triples trailer endorsement test (or check to see if you even need the endorsement).
If you have the desire of hauling tankers you need the tanker endorsement on your CDL. Like the doubles and triples endorsements the tanker endorsements can open a new world of opportunity for you as a driver. So, do yourself a favor and study for the test and take it so you can get your tanker endorsement that you could need to further your career or even get started on what could be a new exciting and lucrative career.
Commercial drivers need to be qualified to deal with potentially hazardous spills and situations. If you are driving large vehicles that require a CDL license and a Hazmat endorsement there is a good chance that you will be dealing with hazardous materials. Knowing how to deal with these situations will keep you and the general public safe, as well as know how to react accordingly should a hazardous situation ever present itself.
Bus drivers must have a commercial driver license if they drive a vehicle designed to seat more than 16 or more persons, including the driver. Bus drivers must have a passenger endorsement on their commercial driver license. To get the endorsement you must pass a knowledge test on Sections 2 and 4 of your CDL handbook. (If your bus has air brakes, you must also pass a knowledge test on Section 5.) You must also pass the skills tests required for the class of vehicle you drive.
This test is for anyone who operates a school bus (with passengers) when on the job.This would include public and private school employees transporting students from home to school, school to home, and school-sponsored events. A school bus permit is no longer enough. Therefore, the endorsement is required for most school bus drivers. It is recommended that those who need the endorsement prepare by using our school bus practice tests.
Passing the CDL pre trip inspection is required before you can climb behind the wheel to demonstrate your driving skills during a CDL exam. Not only do you need to know what areas and parts to inspect, you need to note the item's condition during CDL pre trip test. Depending on the state where you are CDL testing, there could be 100 or more inspection items to know by heart.
In order to get your Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) or Commercial Driver's License (CDL) in Texas, you'll first need to pass the Special Requirements Test. It's Texas-specific (other states don't have this requirement) and you'll need to pass it before you are allowed to proceed with other exams at the TX DMV. The Special Requirements Test is based on Section 14 of the Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Handbook. That section contains tons of technical details that you'll have to remember.