Applying for a Louisiana CDL - Class B License

by Joshua on August 16, 2014

Getting your CDIP—regardless of where you choose to apply for your Class B Commercial Driver’s License , you must first apply for your Commercial Driver’s Instruction Permit (CDIP). A CDIP will allow you to drive along with a CDL holder (of the appropriate vehicle class) in the passenger seat to receive instruction and practice your driving skills.

Be sure to bring the following when you go to apply for your CDIP:

  • Your Louisiana driver’s license
  • Physical, medical, and visual examination form
  • Payment for application and testing fees
  • Your social security card
  • Proof of insurance for your current vehicles

After presenting the following documents, you’ll be prompted to take the general knowledge test . These knowledge tests are written, multiple choice, and you must have a score of at least 24 out of 30 (80%) to pass. A CDL Driver Manual contains all the information you’d need to pass – one can be obtained at a DMV office.

Additional Qualifications

In order to drive certain types of commercial vehicles, you’ll need to earn endorsements which grant you the privilege to do so. Endorsements can be added on with your CDL , however, extra fees and additional testing is required. You’ll be prompted to take any additional tests for endorsements when you apply for your CDIP.
Endorsements which can be added onto your CDL include the following:

  • S – School buses (knowledge and skill testing)
  • N – Tank vehicles (knowledge testing)
  • H – Hazardous materials (knowledge testing)
  • T- Double and triple trailers (knowledge testing)
  • P – Passenger (knowledge and skill testing)

Hazardous materials (Hazmat) endorsement entails fulfilling additional requirements besides the appropriate knowledge test. You must accept to have a background check conducted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). On top of that, you must also have your fingerprints taken at a fingerprinting office.
Due to federal law, you must self-certify the type of commercial vehicle you will be operating with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. The following are categories of commercial vehicles you may self-certify:

  • Non-excepted interstate
  • Non-excepted intrastate
  • Excepted interstate
  • Excepted intrastate

If you should happen to choose a Non-excepted interstate, you must provide the Department of Public Safety with a medical certificate from the federal government.
It is important to note, no federal standards are in place for on-road commercial driver training. The government’s only requirements are passing the knowledge and skills tests. However, longer-combination-vehicles (LCV) drivers are required to receive training in driver wellness, qualifications, hours of service, and whistle blower protection.

Choosing Your CDL Class

The following are various CDL Classes for every state:

  • Class A: Necessary for the operation of any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more that are being used to tow a vehicle, or vehicles, with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or more.
  • Class B : Necessary for the operation of a vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more that is being used to tow a vehicle with a GVWR which is not in excess of 10,000 lbs. Keep in mind, many states still allow you to operate farm vehicles, snow removal vehicles, emergency vehicles, fire vehicles, and military vehicles.
  • Class C : Ownership is required in the event you intend to operate any combination of commercial vehicles that does not fall under the category of Class A or B. This also includes commercial vehicles that are designed to transport 16 or more passengers or hazardous materials. See .

Getting your CDL

Once you have your CDIP, it’s time to be properly trained in how to drive your class of commercial vehicle. You have a myriad of options to learn: private vocational schools, vocational or technical schools, community colleges, and most trucking companies train their own employees.
After you’ve completed your training school, contact a third-party tester to make an appointment for your skills test. Be sure to bring the appropriate Class B commercial vehicle when you go to take your test. The skills test is consisted of three parts:

  • Pre-trip inspection: you’ll demonstrate your ability to identify and explain the various components of your commercial vehicle.
  • On-road skills: you’ll be asked to demonstrate your ability to operate your commercial vehicle in a myriad of on-road situations.
  • Basic control skills: you’ll demonstrate your ability to control the commercial vehicle.

When you pass the skills test, you will be awarded your Louisiana Class B CDL. You will be asked to have your photograph taken and pay the appropriate fees which accompany your new license.

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