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Commercial Driver's License: National
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Since 2008, DMVCheatSheets.com has helped over over 141,777 quickly and easily prepare for their CDL written exams. We take helping you get your CDL license very seriously, and offer the largest collection of professionally producted study material available anywhere on the web. There are no ads in our material - just our money back guarantee that you will pass your test.
Click on any of our material below to learn more about what it specifically covers and select exactly what you need to obtain the specific CDL Class or CDL Endorsement you desire.
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CDL Frequently Asked Questions
- + What's a CDL?
- A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a driver's license required in the United States to operate any type of vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds, or 10,001 pounds with any type of trailer towed, or transports quantities of hazardous materials that require warning placards under Department of Transportation regulations.
- + What different classes of CDL's are there?
Thanks to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, every state has the same three CDL classes:
- Class A: You can operate any combination of vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 if the vehicle you’re towing weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
- Class B: You can operate a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds; you can operate any such vehicle towing another vehicle weighing fewer than 10,000 GVWR.
- Class C: You can operate a Class C vehicle that transports hazardous materials and requires a placard; with endorsements and employment, you can operate a 16-passenger van.
- + What are the requirements for obtaining a CDL?
Per the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
Getting a CDL involves several steps. There are medical requirements and residency requirements besides knowledge and skills requirements.
- The first step is to get a copy of your state's Commercial Driver’s Licensing (CDL) Manual. The manual is available in their field locations, downloaded from their website and printed. Each state has its own processes to getting the CDL.
- The second step is to decide which type of vehicle and what kind of driving you want to get the license for.
There are 3 classes of CDLs with endorsements for specialized qualifications for vehicles like school buses, tank trucks, tractor trailers, etc. Each types of CDL and endorsement requires you pass a skills test and in some cases a written test. It is important to make sure you pass all the required tests or risk having restrictions on your license.
Once you've finished getting informed and making decisions, there are two basic steps to getting a CDL:
Step 1: Get the Commercial Learners Permit (CLP)
A Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) is a permit that only authorizes you to practice on public roads with a qualified CDL holder sitting next to you. Getting the permit involves more than just passing all the knowledge tests for the type of driving you want to do. To make sure that you are eligible your driving record is checked for the last 10 years in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. You need to bring in the proof that your state accepts to show that you are medically qualified. Most types of commercial driving require a DOT medical card, requiring a DOT physical. Your state may require specific documents it wants to see to prove your name and proof of residency. There are fees for getting the CLP. Reading and following the instructions in your states CDL Manual streamlines the process.
Step 2: Get the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
You are required to possess the CLP for 14 days before taking the Skills Test. Some states require the successful completion of CDL training prior to testing. Regardless it is highly recommended that you practice the inspection tests and maneuvers in the CDL Manual that you will be tested on with a qualified individual before showing up for the test. You must pass all 3 parts of the Skills Test: the Vehicle Inspection Test, the Basic Controls Test, and the Road Test. Your state may even allow you to use their “training aid” to help you remember items on the vehicle inspection checklist. Taking the Skills test is no guarantee that you will pass.
Once you have passed the Skills Test you need to take the documentation to the counter for processing. Some states will give you the CDL that same day, while others send it to you in the mail. Regardless make sure that everything is correct before you leave the counter. It can be costly and embarrassing if you find a mistake later.
- + How can I best study for my CDL test?
We recommend studying thoroughly for the knowledge test. No matter which license or endorsement you are studying for, the material is not intuitive and must be learned. We recommend that after reading the manual, students take our online practice test, taking time to review specific topics for any questions missed. We also recommend printing our online Cheat Sheet and reviewing specific items and making any notes on specific material that a student may be having trouble remembering.
Manual topics you’ll be quizzed on in the CDL permit exam include:
- Vehicle inspection.
- Communicating with other drivers.
- Shifting gears and basic control of your vehicle.
- Controlling speed and managing space with other vehicles.
- How to see or anticipate hazards.
- The dangers of distracted driving.
- The dangers of driving while drinking.
- Rail road crossing.
- Driving at night.
- Driving in different weather conditions.
- Driving emergencies.
- Skid control and recovery.
- Accident procedures.
- The importance of staying alert and fit to drive.
- + Why is your material not freely available?
Since 2008 DMVCheatSheets has been employing top educators in the field of driving education to produce, maintain and continually deliver world-class study material. More importantly, over 400,000 people just like you have easily passed their test after purchasing our study guides and practice tests - a claim not easily made by others. It simply costs money to continually review, update and enhance quality, proven study material - which is why we charge, to ensure you have the best chances of passing your test!
- + What should I bring to the exam?
- You need to refer to your specific state identification requirements and bring all necessary forms of identification and required payment for the test. You must have a valid driver’s license to apply for the CDL.
- + Is the CDL different in each state?
The Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 set minimum standards for a Commercial Drivers License in order to reduce accidents involving commercial motor vehicles.
To comply with the federal law, each state must:
- Test driver’s knowledge and ability to safely operate commercial motor vehicles
- Issue a special “commercial driver’s license”
- Share licensing information and convictions with other states
- Disqualify or suspend the commercial licensing privileges of drivers who are convicted of certain offenses under new national guidelines.