Getting Your Commercial Driver's License in Florida— Endorsement P (Passenger)
Driving commercial vehicles for the industry can be rewarding career. Helping various needs people get to where they need, shipping products to a customer center, and being responsible for the environment by containing hazardous material can greatly contribute to society.
To be able to drive a vehicle for commercial purposes, you must be licensed. This special license is called a Commercial Drivers License or CDL for short. CDLs also specify a class, an endorsement, and any restrictions. Every state has their own procedure in licensing their drivers on those three factors, but some of the requirements are the same.
Let’s hone in on Florida’s process to qualify a prospect for a commercial driver’s license.
Types of Endorsements, Restrictions, and Class
The endorsements available for a CDL in Florida are:
- ‘H’ for Placarded HAZMAT
- ‘N’ for Tank vehicles
- ‘P’ for Passengers
- ‘S’ for School Bus
- ‘T’ for Double/Triple Trailers
- ‘X’ for Tank Vehicles and Placarded HAZMAT
The Restrictions on a license are varied and similar to the ones you would see on a regular driver’s license, such as:
A. for Corrective Lenses
B. for Outside Rearview Mirror
E. for Daylight driving only
K. for Hearing Aid
Those restrictions that are indicative of CDL only, could be:
C. for Business Purposes
T. for No Passengers
Y. for Educational Purposes
The separate classes are:
- Class A – Straight trucks or truck combinations that weigh 26,001 lbs or more
- Class B – Trucks that weigh 26,001 lbs or more
- Class C – Motor vehicles weighing less than 26,001 lbs for driving more than 15 persons or for carrying hazardous materials.
- Class E – Non commercial motor vehicle weighing less than 26,001 lbs
- Class E learner – motor vehicle less than 8,000 lbs
Applying for a Florida Commercial Driver’s License – Endorsement P
There is a two step process to being licensed for your passenger endorsement P specific CDL. In order to get your Endorsement P CDL in Florida, and also in other states, you must pass the medical examination standards that are established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA. After testing, you will be given a medical certificate that you should submit to the DMV. Along with this, you will turn in your application for the commercial license.
Please be cautioned that certain medical conditions will disqualify a person from being licensed. Things such as impaired limb function, alcohol or substance abuse, imperfect vision or hearing, and certain diseases can keep a person from getting a CDL. This is not to be discriminatory, but protect both the driver and others on the road from conditions that might impair the driver in this dangerous role of driving commercial vehicles. These things have been proven to deter the driver from doing the job well, thus no legal rights are violated here.
Testing at the DHSMV Office
No matter what endorsement you choose, you will need to go to the Florida DHSMV driver’s license office to obtain it. You will be given three distinct tests besides a written one. To prepare for them, besides practicing, you should review the Florida CDL Handbook, found on the site given earlier. They have practice tests to aid your studies. There are also training classes available for further preparation. The classes are not necessary, unless you are hired to transport hazardous materials, so enrolling is your decision.
There are three skills tests you will be given to obtain your Commercial Driver’s License. The skills tests are the following:
- Pre-trip vehicle inspection test – this test is to demonstrate to the examiner that you can conduct both external and internal inspections of your vehicle properly. This would include things like checking or operating the horn, reflectors, parking brake, lights, oil levels, mirrors, doors, and tires.
- Basic vehicle control skills test – this one could be conducted off road; it is to show skills in forward stopping, straight line backing, alley docking, etc.
- On the road driving test – this test puts you in operation of the vehicle in a variety of traffic situations to prove you can drive a commercial vehicle. Proving knowledge in how to react appropriately to rail road crossings, changes lanes, proper use of your gears or brakes, and changing lanes may be among the many things you will be examined on.
The other test you will have to take is a written test for knowledge . Again, study your handbook and go to the link for practice tests and other advice on how to prepare for it.