Before 1986, many states allowed anyone who had an automobile license to drive a commercial motor vehicle. As you can imagine, this made the roads a dangerous place to be with all the untrained drivers. Later that year, the U.S. Congress signed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act into law, which made it mandatory for all drivers of commercial vehicles to have a Commercial Driver License. Since this law has been in effect, our roads have been significantly safer. In this blog, we will talk about what a CDL is and how to get one…

What is a CDL?

A CDL is short for Commercial Driver’s License. A CDL is a specific license required to drive commercial motor vehicles such as semi-trucks, buses, and tank trucks. This type of license can include oversized vehicles or ones that carry passengers. Keeping reading for a full list of vehicles.

How to get a CDL?

Before you get a CDL, you must get your Commercial Learner’s Permit. A CLP is issued by the state and allows you to practice driving a commercial motor vehicle – as long as a CDL driver accompanies you in the vehicle.

The minimum age for a CDL is typically 21 years old. However, some states allow drivers between the ages of 18-20 to apply for an intrastate CDL (travel only within one state). Once the driver turns 21, the restriction is lifted. 

You can apply for a CDL at your local DMV office. In addition to federal guidelines, each state has its own requirements that need to be met. In Nebraska, drivers must pass a medical/vision test, written test, and skills test. The skills test includes a pre-trip inspection, control skills, and a road test. 

CDL Classes

There are three classes of CDL licenses that determine the kinds of vehicles you are permitted to drive: Class A, B, and C. Here are what you can drive with each class:

  • Class A (most common)
    • Tanker vehicles
    • Livestock carriers
    • Flatbeds
    • Tractor-trailers
    • Tractor-trailer buses
    • Truck and trailer combinations
  • Class B:
    • Straight trucks
    • Passenger buses
    • Segmented buses
    • Box trucks
    • Dump trucks
  • Class C:
    • Small HazMat vehicles
    • Passenger vans
    • Small truck with a towing trailer

In addition to your written and driving test, you may need to take further tests to be certified to drive certain types of commercial vehicles. Special CDL endorsements could include hazardous materials, tank vehicles, passenger transport buses, school buses, doubles/triple trailers, and a combination of tank vehicles and hazardous materials. 

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, it takes a lot of skills and knowledge to be able to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License. As drivers, it is critical that you stay-up-date on safety and regulatory requirements. At Liquid Trucking, we are proud to train our drivers and send safe drivers out on the road. Your load will be in good hands with Liquid Trucking at the wheel. To get a quote, please call 844-GO-TANKS or visit