The Different Types Of Commercial Driver’s Licenses
Driving a commercial vehicle requires a high level of skill and experience, which is why a driver must pass a skills and knowledge test before he or she can obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Violating traffic laws can affect a driver’s ability to maintain a CDL certification.
Before applying for a CDL in Florida, a driver must first have an Operator’s License, pass a skills and knowledge test, and pass an eye exam. Drivers must also be at least 18 years old (and at least 21 years old to drive out of state). Once these requirements have been met, a person can apply for one of three types of CDLs.
Class A Commercial Driver’s License
Class A CDL licenses allow a driver to operate a commercial vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds while towing a trailer or vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds. This covers tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations, flatbeds, tanker vehicles, livestock carriers, and most Class B and Class C vehicles.
Class B Commercial Driver’s License
Drivers who operate buses and straight trucks that weigh more than 26,000 pounds must first obtain a Class B license. These licenses are required to operate any vehicle that isn’t attached to a trailer, or a truck with a detached towed cargo vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds. This includes straight trucks, large buses (i.e. city buses and school buses), box trucks, and dump trucks with small trailers.
Class C Commercial Driver’s License
Finally, a Class C license allows drivers to operate commercial vehicles that:
- Weigh less than 26,001 pounds; or
- Tow another vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds; or
- Transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
For all three types of CDLs, a driver will need to pass a basic vehicle control test, a pre-trial vehicle inspection, and an on-road exam, as well as other skills tests and background checks.
Endorsements for a CDL
Many commercial drivers also obtain endorsements on their CDLs, which give them the authority to drive specific kinds of vehicles or to transport certain materials. To obtain an endorsement, a driver will need to pass a specialized knowledge test and may also need to take additional skills tests. Available CDL endorsements include:
- School Bus (S), which allows drivers to transport pre-primary, elementary, and secondary school students to and from school and on school-sponsored field trips;
- Passengers (P), which allow drivers to transport more than 15 passengers;
- Tank Vehicles (N), which allow drivers to operate tank vehicles that transport liquids or liquified gas;
- Placarded Hazmat (H), which allow drivers to transport hazardous materials, flammable liquids, combustible materials, and explosives;
- Double/Triple Trailers (T), which allow drivers to operate trucks with two or three trailers; and
- Combination H & N Endorsement (X), which allow drivers to transport specific hazardous materials.
All drivers who apply for endorsements must obtain special training to help them avoid accidents with other drivers.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale, FL
If you were injured in a truck accident in Florida and need legal help, call Boone & Davis and set up a free consultation with one of our dedicated Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers today.