What is a CDL?

What is a CDL license and do you need one? For people who drive personal vehicles the answer to that question has no effect on their ability to drive. If you are a person who is interested in a career driving a commercial vehicle, it is important that you not only ask “what is a CDL license” but that you also take the necessary steps to obtain one. CDL is the acronym for Commercial Driver’s License. This is a license that you must have in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle. With a few exceptions, this type of vehicle is defined in several ways. It is defined as any combination of vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or higher with the vehicle being towed weighing more than 10,000 pounds. It is also defined as a single vehicle that has a weight rating that is greater than 26,001 pounds. The final definition states that it is any vehicle that carries sixteen or more passengers, a school bus, or transports hazardous materials and requires placarding. A CDL is a license that is issued by the state in which the applicant lives. The basic requirements for application are set-forth by the Federal government. Each state, however, may have different testing laws in place. When pursuing truck driving jobs you’ll need to know how to get a CDL. Without a CDL license, a truck driver will be unable to get commercial truck insurance and, more importantly, will be unable to obtain employment as a truck driver.

The Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 includes certain requirements that all states must follow in terms of the testing and licensing involved in getting a CDL. Drivers who get a CDL can only legally possess one license. You must complete CDL training and the required state testing to illustrate a certain level of competency and to show that you meet the qualifications to drive heavy vehicles. Each state is required to set up its own minimum licensing standards and tests for issuing its CDLs. In general, when getting a CDL you must pass both a basic knowledge and skills test. To get an idea of what to expect in your state, consider looking on our trucking forum. The TruckersReport forums are the place to go for up to date trucking information.

There are various classifications of CDLs that are outlined by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act. These classifications are – Class A, Class B, and Class C. Class A CDLs are for driving vehicles that meet the definition of a combination commercial vehicle. The Class B CDL is for vehicles that meet the definition of single commercial vehicles. Class C CDL is for drivers of commercial vehicles that carry over sixteen people, school buses or vehicles that carry chemicals that are hazardous and require placarding.

There are also endorsements that may be placed on the CDL. These endorsements are “T” for double or triple trailers, “P” for passenger vehicles, “N” for tank vehicles, “H” for vehicles that carry hazardous cargo and materials, “X” for vehicles that are a combination of endorsements N and H, and “S” which is for driving school buses. These are only a few of the basic endorsements. Depending on where you live, there may be more endorsements that are specific to the state. This letter system also applies to restrictions.

Now that you’ve found out what a CDL is and how to get a CDL, you’ll need to know what information should be on it. According to Federal regulations every CDL should include the driver’s birth date, height, sex, full name, mailing address, and signature. A CDL license should also state clearly what it is, either with the words “Commercial Driver’s License” or with the acronym. In addition, it must also include a color photo, the issuing state, the state license number of the driver, the expiration and issuance dates, the class of vehicle, any endorsements, and notation if there is an issued restriction of air brakes.

CDL Owner Operators

Penalty for Driving Uninsured

Every state except New Hampshire requires drivers to carry automobile insurance, but this does not mean every driver does. According to the Insurance Information Institute, all states have a percentage of uninsured motorists among their drivers, from New Mexico’s high of 29 percent to Massachusetts’ low of 1 percent. To put teeth into the law, most states have imposed penalties for driving without insurance, as have many countries around the world.

As unemployment rises, so does the rate of uninsured motorists. Most people who drive without insurance do so for financial reasons. In an economic crisis, more people can be expected to get rid of their insurance payments by getting rid of their car insurance. Other drivers believe that they do not need insurance because they have never had an accident. Still others cannot get insurance because of their past driving record or immigration status.

Monetary Penalties
Many states and foreign governments punish uninsured motorists by imposing fines. In the United States, fines can range as high as $5,000 for a repeat offender, with the specific dollar amount varying from state to state. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, large fines for first-time offenders is the best way to enforce insurance requirements.

License or Registration Suspension
Many jurisdiction impose additional penalties for driving without insurance, including taking points from a driver’s license, suspending the driver’s license, suspending the uninsured’s vehicle registration and/or impounding the vehicle.


Some drivers can be jailed for repeatedly not carrying car insurance.
Driving without insurance can send you to jail. While no state mandates jail time for a first offense, many give the court the option of jail time for repeat offenders. However, while high fines were found to be an effective deterrent, jail time for noncompliance was not. This is probably because motorists do not believe that the penalty will be enforced.

Other Penalties
A relatively new penalty imposed on uninsured motorists is depriving them of the right to sue for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. These so-called “no pay, no play” laws have been proposed in more than 20 states, and enacted in eight, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

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Business CDL

Trucking Company hiring process

Although from the outside looking in most people would make the mistake of thinking of Trucking as something anybody can do, this is one of the reasons so many get into trucking and fail miserably. And while those that do succeed at it may look ordinary from the outside there are some very unique things going on inside that make the Trucker a real success. I want to talk about this a little here as you may be considering getting a CDL in Trucking, and branching out further into the Trucking waters, such as becoming an owner operator O/O.

Define your needs. By determining exactly what you need from a transportation service, it is much easier to look for companies that can accommodate those requirements. Along with defining the sizes and quantities of the goods that must be transported to buyers, also think in terms of the frequency of the shipments, the delivery dates that are routinely required, and the shipping hours at your warehouses. Don’t forget to consider the distance involved in transporting goods to all your current customers, as well as to areas where you hope to establish a presence.

Develop a listing of trucking companies in the area. Step 1, compile a list of all transportation companies in the local area that potentially could fill your needs. Omit any transportation companies that do not fit your requirements. For example, if you routinely ship out amounts that will not take up a whole trailer, don’t spend a lot of time dealing with trucking firms that only deal with truckload orders; focus on companies that specialize in LTL or less than load business.

Contact each trucking company on the list. Talk with them about your needs and verify they can provide the care you require. Make arrangements for a representative or salesperson to visit you on site for a more in depth discussion and to submit a bid or proposal for your business.

Meet with representatives of each company. Ask them hard questions about how they handle situations such as rush shipments, or how they track shipments that get lost in the shuffle. Ask for a quote on pricing in writing, as well as the terms and conditions that will be in force if the two of you decide to do business. Also ask about discounts and price breaks if you commit to using the trucking company for a certain amount of time, or generate a certain level of business volume.

Narrow your options to three or four of the best candidates. At this point, invite each of these final candidates to review their bids and see if they might be willing to adjust the pricing to make the offer more attractive.

Make your final selection. After reviewing all relevant factors, choose the trucking firm that provides the best balance between service and price. However, hang on to the other bids just in case the final selection does not perform up to expectations.

Carriers CDL Owner Operators

Driving Tips for Beginner

A driving school will help you improve your driving skills but it takes time to get lots of experience under your belt. So what can you do in the interim to make sure you’re on the right track? If you continue to implement these tips into your driving routine, you will become a skilled individual behind the wheel of a car.

New drivers acquiring their license are eager to grab the keys and hit the road for their first legal cruise. Often these drivers are teenagers with minimal first-hand experience with the rules of the road. While driver’s safety courses are a great help to beginning motorists, remembering a few tips for driving a car will help keep these novices safe as well as protect their passengers and those who share the road with them.

Prepare Before Starting
Some drivers are in such a hurry that putting on a seat belt and adjusting the various settings on the car doesn’t happen until they are driving down the street.
Once seated in the car, the next step should be to put on the seatbelt, adjust mirrors, seats, steering wheel tilt and other personalized settings within the car, according to the Unofficial DMV Guide website. Preferably, these actions should be completed prior to starting the engine.

Learn the Signs
Most likely a beginning driver has learned many of the basic traffic signs and the meanings associated with them. However, there are many of these signs that are regularly encountered on the roads and highways that may not be clear for beginners. Take the time to memorize what these symbols mean and how they can affect everyday driving.

Turn signals should be used on all occasions in which the driver’s intentions may not be clear. Just because the driver knows where he is going doesn’t necessarily mean anyone else does. Turn signals should also be used to indicate lane changes. In addition, beginning drivers should become accustomed to checking over their shoulders to make sure people are out of the way for turns and lane changes. Remember that other drivers may not be paying attention and it is up to you to keep yourself safe from a collision.

Passengers and Seatbelts
Beginning drivers often like to take friends on a ride to show off their newly found freedom. Count the available seat belts in the car, and do not allow more people in the car than there are belts, according to Teen Driving. It is illegal to drive or ride in a car without seat belts fastened. It is also unsafe.

Volume Level
Teenagers tend to love listening to music. Often they listen to music at louder volumes than other people do, especially when driving. This is a bad idea that can lead to dangerous situations. Cars have horns and emergency vehicles have sirens to warn other drivers of imminent danger or to alert them to move out of the way. If a radio is set at a high volume, it may drown out the horns or sirens and the driver may be caught unaware

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CDL Lifestyle

Good Driver’s License Picture

We all generally hate our driver’s license picture and often refer to this image as a “mug shot” because we tend to look as haggard and drawn in this picture as a hardened criminal. Unfortunately, as much as we dislike this picture of ourselves, it is one we must show often to verify our identity. Taking a good driver’s license picture that we aren’t ashamed for any close friend to discover in our wallet requires a little planning, but it can be done.

Give some serious thought to the outfit you want to wear, even though it’s only a head-and-shoulders shot. Make sure you’re wearing a flattering color up around your face. Choose a bright or deep color to keep your face from looking washed out, and something with a flattering neck line. Generally, collars are best because they hide many unflattering neck conditions.

Use a tooth whitener or brush your teeth with a whitening toothpaste such as Rembrant for a few days before your photo appointment. This will ensure your teeth stand out as strong and healthy.

Wash your hair and style it in a way that adds body and mass so it won’t look flat and greasy in the photo. If you color your hair, make sure you visit your colorist before your photo appointment. Any bangs should be trimmed so that they do not obscure your eyes or hang so long that they drag your face down.

Apply any make-up you want to wear a little more heavily than you normally would. Pay special attention to eyebrows, eyelashes and lips as these features tend to look diminished in photos unless you really play them up.

Wear earrings that are substantial enough to show up through your hair to widen a long rectangular or oval face. Wear short, fat earrings if your face is heart-shaped to balance out your narrow chin.

Pay attention to where you are in line and do not hesitate to take a few minutes when your number is drawing near to recheck your make-up and hair. Bring your own mirror along in case the bathrooms are inconveniently located. This is one time you should allow yourself to primp in public.

Apply pressed powder to your face just before your photo to remove shine. This step is helpful for everyone regardless of gender or make-up habits.

Turn your shoulders away slightly from the camera. This will keep your shoulders from looking bulky and minimize any extra pounds the camera adds to your frame.

Hold your head up and keep your chin at an angle greater than 45 degrees to your neck. Holding your head up and slightly back will allow gravity to pull the skin of your face back slightly thereby minimizing wrinkles and jowling, and, through the optical illusion of foreshortening, will appear to shorten a long face and soften a strong jaw.

Smile: It lifts the face and adds animation to a photo that would otherwise appear deadpan. Personality often makes the face, and even the most beautiful face can look lifeless without some personality showing through to give it sparkle. Let your personality show in your smile, and try to let your smile reach your eyes.

Shut your eyes for a few seconds right before the photo is snapped. This will help keep you from blinking with the flash and being caught with your eyes closed, or worse, half closed in the photo.


Pass the Written CDL Test

Drivers of buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles need to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). In addition to a driving test, the requirements for obtaining a CDL include a written test. The test has material that does not appear on the licensing test for noncommercial vehicles. Accordingly, preparing for and passing the written CDL test requires additional study and time. Test takers should use as many available resources as possible to pass the written CDL test. They can then pass the first hurdle to a rewarding career as a commercial driver.

Visit the local government office that issues driver’s licenses. Most states have a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for licensing. Your state might use a different name, but it is usually the same office where you get your automobile driver’s license. Pick up a copy of the manual or handbook for the written CDL test. Make sure that you get all the materials for the test that you will take. States often have different classes of CDL licenses and different tests for each class of license.

Use the CDL manual to determine which tests you must take. For example, a tester in Massachusetts who wants a license to include a hazardous-materials (HAZMAT) endorsement must take the HAZMAT portion of the CDL test. Endorsements give commercial drivers authority to operate different kinds of vehicles or transport certain passengers or materials.

Study the relevant portions of the CDL manual for each individual part of your CDL test. However, you should study the entire manual if you have time. Your opportunities to obtain work may depend on obtaining special endorsements on your CDL license. Taking and passing all the tests will ensure that you have the proper endorsements when applying for a job as a commercial driver.

Supplement your study of the official state CDL manual with a commercial CDL course. Use this manual to find out the most common questions asked on the test. The course also gives test-taking tips for the CDL exam.

Take free online CDL practice tests. Take these tests to familiarize yourself with the types of questions on the CDL exam. These subject-based tests allow you to assess your strong and weak points. For example, you may be strong on the HAZMAT test but weak on the air-brakes test. Go back and review the portions of the manual or course that cover the most difficult material. for Jobs?


Obtain a CDL Class A License

To obtain a CDL A license you must have a valid driver’s license, pass a vision test and be over the age of 18 (within-state driving) or 21 (interstate). You must understand how to speak and read English and physically be able to operate a truck weighing 26,001 pounds or more. A number of exams must be completed, as well as a driving skills test. However, once you receive your CDL A license, the job opportunities are many.

Contact a local trade school or college in your area to inquire about their CDL A training courses. In addition, if you are unemployed or underemployed, you can contact your local One Stop Unemployment center to inquire about receiving a WIA grant. The WIA grant will fund your training, at no cost to you, if you qualify.

Study the training material. The material consists of a Rules of the Road training manual, specifically for Class A vehicles. The manual can be obtained at your local Department of Motor Vehicles for free or from your school. To obtain your CDL A permit you must pass the written test, which consists of general knowledge, and specific questions relating to combination vehicles and air brakes. In most states, the applicant must pass the test with 80 percent or better to obtain his permit.

Practice driving a Class A vehicle with your training instructor once you receive your permit. You cannot operate a CDL A vehicle without the presence of someone with a Class A license. The instructor will teach you how to perform a pre-trip inspection, straight-line, angle, and 45-degree reverse parking, alley docking and basic driving skills.

Schedule a road test with your local Department of Motor Vehicles. However, some schools will schedule the test for you when they determine that you are ready. During the test, you will have to perform a pre-trip inspection before you enter the vehicle. If you fail the pre-trip inspection, you will not be allowed to take the driving test. During the driving test, you must pass every obstacle that the instructor asks of you. In most states, you will have to provide your own truck. However, most schools provide the vehicle for their students.

Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain your license after you have successfully passed your road test. The cost of a CDL A License varies by state. However, the average cost is $60. If you did not pass the road test, you can take the test 3 additional times. After 3 tries, a 30-day waiting period is imposed before you can retake the test.

CDL Lifestyle

Complete a CDL Pre-Trip Inspection

The Pre Trip is extremely important, so try not to take the attitude that you are being forced to learn it for the sake of passing a CDL test.

The importance of the Pre Trip carries far beyond the plastic. Learning to spot potential equipment failures and problems ahead of time may save your life and someone else’s – as well as extend the life of the equipment and/or save you a stay and/or a fine at the DOT scalehouse.

Many drivers worry about missing some steps on their pre-trip CDL inspection, but after time and repetition of the job, a CDL pre-trip inspection soon becomes quite easy if you take all of the following steps in order.

Left Side of Tractor or Power Unit

Turn on the vehicles headlamps and activate the four-way flashers. Release hood if the truck has a release lever inside.

Inspect all aspects of the units steering. This should include the steering linkage and gearbox, the tie rod and cotter pin. Check all for loose or missing, cracked or broken nuts and bolts and that nothing is leaking.

Look at the front brakes. These components include the slack adjusters, pins, drums, hoses or lines, chambers and brake linings. They should not be cracked, broken, loose or have any parts missing. Adjusters cannot have more than one inch of free play when hand pulled and the brake lining should not be less that 1/4 of an inch. Hoses or lines should not be in a position to be rubbing any surfaces or frayed in any way.

See that the front wheel and tire and their components are in good shape with no broken or cracked pieces, and inflation of the tire is correct using a tire gauge. Tires need to have at least 4/32 tread remaining, and cannot be a recapped tire or have any bulges or cracks. The hub must not be leaking and all lug nuts must be present and tight.

Open the door and check for the existence of all required safety equipment. These items include a fire extinguisher with a meter that shows proper charge, three emergency triangles, cones or flares. Carry spare fuses according to the requirements. None of these safely items may be missing or broken.

Locate the fifth wheel area and inspect it along with the catwalk area behind the cab. The fifth wheel’s locking jaws, platform, release arm, locking pins and bolts that mount it must be in place securely, and free from any welds. If a trailer is hooked, check that the jaws properly engage. The air hoses and electric line must be free from cracks, splits or leaks, and must be free from any rubbing against other parts of the vehicle.

Front and Left Side of Trailer

Watch for holes or loose material on the front of the trailer walls or rails and header board. Check the trailers registration in the bill box located on the nose of the trailer, as well as its annual inspection sticker to assure that it is not expired.

Grab air and electric connections and gently check that they are secure and undamaged.

Turn landing gear to appropriate position for travel and secure them.

Glance up and down the entire length of the vehicle checking all lights are operating or flashing properly. Forward and side facing lights should only be amber in color and rear-facing lights must be red in color. online Load board for Trucker Drivers for Driving Jobs? fix DAC