Applying for a Louisiana CDL - Class A License

by Joshua on September 26, 2014

A commercial driver’s license is required throughout the United States in order to drive any vehicle over a certain size limit. This limit is generally determined by weight, and measured by Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Other limits can include things like vehicles that carry more than a certain number of passengers, or ones that are designated for carrying hazardous materials.
Different classes of CDLs allow the driver to operate different types of vehicles. These classes are the same throughout the United States. A Class A license allows the driver to operate any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, with a GVWR higher than 26,001 pounds. A Class B license allows one to operate a single vehicle heavier than 26,001 pounds, but the towed vehicles may not exceed 10,000 lbs. Therefore, a Class A license is required if you are going to be towing very heavy loads.
Endorsements are additions to one’s CDL that allow for extra privileges. These include endorsements for hazardous materials, passenger vehicles, school busses, tank vehicles, and double or triple trailers. These include a written test of knowledge, and sometimes a hands-on skills test.

Eligibility and Requirements To Apply For a Class A CDL

In order to apply for a Class A CDL in Louisiana , the applicant must be at least 21 years of age for an interstate license. They must have a valid US driver’s license , and it must not be suspended or revoked. You must be able to read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, understand highway traffic signs and signals, respond to official inquiries, and make entries on reports and records.
You must pass the physical examination form, the medical examination form, and a visual examination form. These are completed by a medical doctor. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, angina, or coronary or respiratory (heart or breathing) problems, you will be disqualified. Vision requirements are 20/40 vision or better (with or without correction, and without telescopic lenses), and at least 140 degrees of horizontal (peripheral) vision.
The applicant can be disqualified for serious traffic offenses, or related offenses. If you have been convicted for any number of different felony crimes, you will be disqualified from obtaining a hazardous material endorsement.

H2. Procedure For Obtaining a Class A CDL

If the applicant is eligible, they must complete the application and supplemental application forms, which are available online. These, along with the three doctor-filled forms, are taken to a CDL Issuing office in Louisiana. A valid driver’s license, social security card, proof of insurance on all registered vehicles, and the application fee ($15) is required to start the application process. Once this is finished, you will get your CDL Instructional Permit.
Once this application process is approved, you must pass the skills test. These are handled through third party testers. These third party testers are responsible for conducting your final skills test to earn your CDL license. They can also assist in practice sessions. The driving skills tests in Louisiana costs $100, in addition to whatever you pay for practice training sessions. You can also buy practice tests for $9.95-14.95.
There is no federal training requirement to get your CDL; you simply must pass the driving skills test. Finally, it costs a further $51 in New Orleans to actually obtain your license once you complete all the above requirements. In the rest of Louisiana, it costs $41. Applying and testing for endorsements costs extra, and each one have different costs associated with it.

Other Information About Class A CDLs in Louisiana

Louisiana CDLs are valid for 4 years. To renew your license, you must go to a CDL Issuing office with an up-to-date physical form, your current CDL license, proof of current insurance on all your vehicles, and the re-application fees (estimated to be $69 in New Orleans and $59 in the rest of Louisiana). Driving with an expired license can result in criminal charges and/or CDL disqualification.

Advice For Obtaining a CDL in Louisiana

First, be sure to get all your medical forms taken care of and out of the way. Filling out the application forms is generally straight-forward. Government forms can sometimes be confusing, so it is best to go over them with a worker at the CDL Issuing office in order to ensure that it is all filled in correctly, or that some box wasn’t checked incorrectly. This is important to make the process go smoothly —the smallest missed detail can make government processes be delayed by weeks, so double check everything.
The biggest part is passing the skills test. It is worth it to practice driving with a qualified instructor until everything is second nature to you – as you may easily become nervous during the test and stumble if it is not well practiced. Make use of study guides and/or practice tests. It only takes a little extra time to study extra well, so there is no excuse not to. Finally – do not try to lie about any past criminal offenses, or hide a medical condition. This will result in far worse consequences than simply being disqualified.

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