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Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Every driver wanting to operate an 18-wheeler truck to move cargo in the United States will need to obtain the appropriate licensing to do so. These driver’s licenses, known as commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), have their own requirements and classifications. Like regular driver’s licenses, CDLs demand that drivers have both the practical skills and knowledge to safely operate a truck or large passenger vehicle.

Classifications and Required Licenses

Drivers wanting to operate different types of vehicles may need to obtain different types of licenses. In particular, the following licenses are required for various vehicle classifications:

  • Class A license: vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) between 26,001 and 10,001 lbs.
  • Class B license: vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 10,000 or less
  • Class C license: vehicles neither qualified under an A or B license, but intended to carry either 16 or more passengers or hazardous materials

These federal standards may be supplemented by state requirements as well. In addition to these classifications, a driver may need to complete additional testing in order to obtain the following special permissions:

  • School bus driving
  • Transporting hazardous materials
  • Passenger vehicle driving
  • Driving a truck with a double or triple trailer
  • Driving a vehicle with a tank attached
  • Driving a vehicle with a tank used to carry hazardous materials

According to federal law, drivers may only carry a commercial driver’s license from one state, meaning that these additional permissions must come from the same state in which the driver passed their licensing tests.

Contact Us

These licenses are required as a means to keep unsafe or unprepared drivers from getting behind the wheel of a large truck. Unfortunately, many people suffer serious harm in accidents with improperly licensed drivers. To learn more about the available legal options in a situation where someone has dangerously violated these licensing laws and caused an injury, please fill out a contact form from the top of this page.