The transportation industry is one of the fastest growing businesses in the United States of America. More and more small companies are getting into the industry, and this has led to a drastic increase in the demand for professional truck drivers. However, not everybody with a driver’s permit can apply for such a job. In order to drive specific types of motor vehicles, men and women must possess a commercial driver’s license, shortly known as CDL. Here are some things that you must know about these special permits before you enroll in a truck driving school.
The Three Types of CDLs
There are three types of commercial driver’s licenses: Class A, Class B, and Class C, and here are the differences between them:
The Class A license is necessary to operate a combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds. It also enables drivers to tow trailers or vehicles heavier than 10,000 pounds. Examples of such vehicles are:
- Tractor-trailer trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Livestock carrier trucks
With a Class B permit, drivers can operate a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds and can tow trailers or vehicles up to 10,000 pounds. Examples of such vehicles are:
- Large Buses
- Segment Buses
- Straight Trucks
- Box Trucks
- Dump Trucks
A Class C license is needed when the vehicle doesn’t meet the criteria for either Class A and Class B permits and is designated to transport at least 16 passengers, driver included, or dangerous and hazardous materials.
What Is Necessary to Apply for a CDL
To apply for a CDL in any state, one must possess a valid non-commercial driver’s permit, personal identification documents, proof of citizenship, and be older than the legally set age limitation. He/she must also pass a language, written, knowledge, skill, road, and standard medical, and physical tests. Furthermore, each state can have its own individual requirements, and you can learn them by attending our Indiana CDL classes.
Drivers Who Are Exempt from Having a CDL Permit
Under state and federal law, certain drivers are exempt from obtaining a commercial driver’s license. The following vehicle operators can benefit from this law:
- Farm equipment operators who use vehicles to haul products and equipment to and from markets, as well as to and from farms within 150 air miles of their farm. NOTE: Commercial grain haulers do not fall under the jurisdiction of this law and must have a CDL.
- Firefighting equipment operators. Since they go for extensive academy training and post-academy training, it makes them qualified to drive specialized and oversized vehicles.
- Military vehicle operators who drive vehicles for military purposes are not required to obtain a commercial driver’s license.
- Recreational vehicle operators who use their campers, motorhomes and other types of vehicle for personal use don’t need to have a CDL.
Steps to Obtain a CDL
Step 1: Make an appointment at your local DMV to take and hopefully pass the written exams for the class license that you’re applying for.
Step 2: Once you pass the written exam, you will be issued a commercial learner’s permit (CLP), which is valid for 180 days.
Step 3: Enroll into a truck driving school that offers Indiana CDL classes so that you can correctly and diligently prepare for your road test, which you can take no earlier than two weeks after receiving your CLP.
Step 4: Even though you can take your road test in 14 days, do not rush through it if you don’t feel prepared. Take additional classes if necessary and request for the practical exam only when you really feel ready for it.
Step 5: Schedule an appointment with the local DMV for your road test, which will be conducted by a third party. Make sure you drive a type of vehicle that you’re getting licensed for. In case you pass, you will be given a test completion form, which you must take to the DMV. Alternatively, if you fail, you will have to retake the practical exam after attending more classes.
Step 6: Head to the DMV and get your commercial driver’s license. The permit is valid for four years after which it must be renewed.
Now that you know more about CDLs and how to get one, pull up your sleeves, and do what must be done so that you can get your permit.
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