What is a CDL and when is a CDL required? Created by an act of congress, the commercial driver’s license, commonly known as the CDL, officially became the license required for truck drivers and certain other types of commercial vehicles. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 was an effort to improve the safety of US highways by requiring that drivers are qualified to drive commercial vehicle. The law established a set of standards to be administered by the states when qualifying a driver for a CDL. While each state issues a CDL, the U.S. Department of Transportation sets the guidelines and requires drivers to obtain a CDL permit by first passing a written CDL exam, passing a DOT physical and drug screen and then completing a CDL skills test. The CDL skills test includes both a CDL pre-trip inspection and basic vehicle control test.
Different types of CDLs defined by different classes allow drivers to drive different types of vehicles. The vehicles are classified by weight and vehicle type. Common commercial vehicles include tractor trailers (semis; 18 wheelers), school buses, transit buses, dump trucks and any vehicle transporting quantities of hazardous materials with warning placards required by the DOT.
Do I Need A CDL?