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What Is a Commercial Driver’s License?

The trucking industry upholds certain standards for its drivers. To become a truck driver, you must earn and maintain a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL. Holding a CDL ensures that you have the knowledge and experience required to safely and effectively operate commercial trucks as an owner/operator or for a trucking company.

CDL Specifications

A CDL is required for any individual who wishes to operate a vehicle with a combined cab and trailer weight over 26,000 pounds, as well as a truck cab with a detached towed cargo vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds or less. CDL holders with special endorsements may also transport hazardous materials, double or triple trailers, and tank vehicles. There are three classes of CDL: Class A, Class B, and Class C CDLs. Class A and B CDLs apply to truck drivers hauling trailers, while Class C CDLs apply to drivers of commercial passenger vehicles.

Earning Your CDL

To obtain your CDL, you must first get a Commercial Learners Permit, or CLP, which allows you to operate a truck for training purposes while supervised in person by a current CDL holder. Before you can receive your CLP, you must also take and pass a Department of Transportation physical exam to ensure you are medically qualified to operate a truck. After you have had your CLP for a minimum of 14 days, you can opt to take the CDL exam. This exam is taken in three parts: a road test, a vehicle inspection test, and a basic controls test.

Maintaining Your CDL

Once you have earned your CDL, you will need to renew your DOT medical card on a regular basis to ensure you are still capable of operating a truck safely. CDL holders must also maintain a good driving record; serious driving infractions could result in the suspension or loss of your CDL.

Once you have earned your CDL, you can find the trucking job you want with DSW Drivers of Tucson. Please visit our website or contact us by calling 1 (888) 266-7534 for more details about our current employment opportunities.