The federal government is mandating that operators receive Commercial Driver's License training in an effort to make the roads safer for both trucking professionals and motorists whom they share the road with. The license is divided into three sections, which are dependent on the gross vehicles weight rating, gross combination weight rating and items being transported.
A commercial motor vehicle is defined as any vehicle or combination of vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds. Furthermore, if hazardous materials are transported or if the vehicle is designed to transport more than 15 passengers including the driver or if the vehicle is used as a school bus, a CDL license is require, regardless of weight.
Each state's requirements for a CDL varies, however, individuals who are interested in obtaining the credential will have to participate in classroom instruction, street driving training, proficiency development and combined lab, range and observation training.
For instance, a Class A CDL license in Washington state requires its drivers to have 160 total hours of training. This includes 40 hours of classroom instruction, 18 hours of street driving training, 16 hours of training in backing maneuvers, 16 hours of proficiency development and 70 hours of combined lab, range and observation training.
Operators are required to have a good driving record, which means a driver can certify that, during the 2-year period immediately prior to applying for the license they did not have one or more licenses, suspensions, convictions in any type of motor vehicle or any violation for state or local law relating to an accident.
A CDL can open up career options for individuals who wish to break into the trucking industry. Furthermore, employers will lean more toward applicants who possess the training than those who do not. For those who already in this sector, obtaining the license can help individuals receive pay increases.