If you operate in both excepted interstate commerce and non-excepted interstate commerce, you must choose non-excepted interstate commerce to be qualified to operate in both types of interstate commerce.
Most drivers are non-exempted drivers and must have a valid Federal medical examiner’s certificate.
If you operate a CMV, you shall be deemed to have given your consent to alcohol testing.
The quickest way to destroy your driving career permanently is to get a DUI or fail a drug test. We consider that career suicide in trucking. There is no tolerance for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in this industry, so please do not make this critical mistake!
Combination Hazardous Materials and Tank Vehicle (X). Drivers of tank vehicles who haul hazardous materials or waste in amounts requiring placards must add an X endorsement to their CDL, showing that they have passed the special knowledge examinations for both tank vehicles and hazardous materials.
To be honest, I'm not sure why they created the X endorsement. It's simply a combination of both Hazmat and Tanker endorsements.
You are not allowed to hold a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication or dial a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button when driving. You are not allowed to send or read text messages while driving.
This is one of the biggest problems on our highways today. Distracted drivers have changed or destroyed an untold number of lives. Please, please take this seriously!
Tank Vehicle (N). Drivers of any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis must obtain this endorsement. Applies to Class A, B and C (only applicable to Class C if the vehicle is hauling hazardous materials) vehicles. Liquids in bulk cause driving control problems because the cargo is heavy, prone to shifting, and has a high center of gravity. These drivers must pass a special knowledge examination on the problems posed by large volume liquid cargos to add the endorsement to their CDL/ CLP.
Bulk tankers, especially food-grade tankers, are extremely dangerous and difficult to handle. At Trucking Truth, we highly recommend that new drivers get at least one year of driving under their belt before attempting to drive a tanker.
Intrastate commerce is when you drive a CMV within a State and you do not meet any of the descriptions for interstate commerce.
Interstate travel means you have left your home state during the trip. If you stay within your home state, it's considered intrastate. Take your time and read the questions and answers carefully so you don't get the two mixed up.
(E) - No manual transmission. If an applicant performs the skills test in a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission, the State must indicate on the CDL, if issued, that the person is restricted from operating a CMV equipped with a manual transmission. For the purposes of the skills test and the restriction, an automatic transmission includes any transmission not operating fully on the gearshift and clutch principle.
This is very important to understand. Nowadays, most of the large carriers have automatic transmissions. If you go through a paid CDL training program they will normally test their students in an automatic truck. That means you will be limited to automatic transmissions only. That's not a real big deal nowadays because so many companies have made the switch to automatics, but be aware of this limitation.
If you have the option, choose to test in a manual transmission, but it's not a deal-breaker.
The CDL Skills Test consists of three segments: Vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road driving. You must take the segments in the order listed and must pass each one before moving to the next. You must take these tests in the type of vehicle for which you wish to be licensed. Any vehicle that has components marked or labeled cannot be used for the CDL Skills Test.
You will take three tests to get your CDL license. The first is a pre-trip inspection (Vehicle Inspection). The second is a series of backing maneuvers in a parking lot (basic vehicle control). The third is the on-road driving test. It is not uncommon for people to fail one or more of these tests the first time. It's no big deal. Just regroup and go get it the next time!
The Introdction portion of the CDL manual will be on the General Knowledge portion of the CDL permit written exam. It will cover quite a few topics including:
Drivers who must obtain a CDL
Driver's license classifications
CDL endorsement types and requirements
The skills and driving tests required for your CDL
Documentation required for obtaining your CDL
DOT medical requirements
Commercial motor vehicle driving disqualifications
Regulations regarding electronic devices like GPS and radar detectors
Vehicle size limitations
Vehicle registration requirements
Important Parts To Study For The Introdction Section
Drivers Who Must Obtain A CDL
Any driver of the following vehicles must possess a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL):
Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR)** of
26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)* of the
vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds or any such vehicle towing
another not in excess of 10,000 pounds
Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
GVWR - Gross Vehicle Weight Rating - Value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of a single vehicle or combination of vehicles.
GCWR - Gross Combination Weight Rating - Value specified by the manufacturer as the GVWR of the power unit plus the GVWR of the towed unit or units.
Drivers Exempt from Obtaining a CDL
Under state and federal law, certain drivers are not subject to the requirements of the CDL program. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has determined that these exemptions will not diminish the safe operation of commercial vehicles on the highways. However, these drivers are still required to possess the proper class license for the vehicle they are operating.
The following vehicle operators are not required to obtain a CDL:
Farm Vehicle/Equipment Operators - This exemption covers farming operations (as noted below) and does not apply to commercial grain haulers or other types of non-farm use. This exemption only applies when farm vehicles are:
Controlled and operated by a farmer, the farmer’s family or an employee
Used to transport farm products, equipment or supplies to or from a farm (including nurseries and aquacultures)
Used within 150 air miles of the farm
Not used in the operations of a common or contract carrier or for other commercial purposes
Emergency Equipment/Vehicle Operators - Because most emergency organizations have extensive initial training and retraining requirements for their equipment operators, states waives CDL requirements for operators of emergency equipment when responding to or returning from an emergency necessary to preserve life and property.
Military Vehicle Operators - Active duty military personnel operating military vehicles for military purposes.
Recreational Vehicle Operators - Recreational vehicle operators, when using the vehicle primarily for personal use.
Driver License Classifications (CDL and NON-CDL)
Class A - Combination vehicles - GCWR of 26,001 or more pounds providing the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
Class B - Single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
Class C - Single vehicle with a GVWR of at least 16,001 pounds but less than 26,001 pounds.
Class D - Single vehicle with a GVWR of less than 16,001 pounds.
Do I Need a DOT Medical Card?
Yes, if you will:
Operate a commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 10,001 pounds or more in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise (private or for hire).
Operate a passenger carrying vehicle designed to transport eight or more passengers, including the driver.
Operate any vehicle transporting hazardous materials of a quantity that would require placarding.
In addition, commercial vehicle drivers must:
Maintain and have in their possession a file that contains their written exam verification, driving exam verification and other records.
Be at least age 21 to drive a commercial motor vehicle involved in interstate commerce or transport passengers.
Be at least age 18 to obtain a CLP/CDL and/or to transport hazardous materials intrastate (within the state).
Certify that they do not have more than one driver’s license and that their driving privileges are not suspended, revoked, canceled or disqualified.
Certify that they meet the medical requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations or that they are not subject to the regulations.
Offenses Which Lead To CDL Revocation
There is a long list of offenses which can lead to the suspension or permanent revocation of your CDL. We won't list all of the specifics but we'll give you a rundown:
Alcohol And Drug Related Offenses Including
Failing a drug test
Refusal to take an alcohol or drug test
Leaving the scene of an accident
The use of a CMV or non-CMV in the commission of any felony involving manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a controlled substance
Any driver providing fraudulent documentation for the issuance of a CDL
Operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of regulations pertaining to railroad-highway grade crossings
Serious Traffic Violations Including:
Following too closely
Improper lane usage
Conviction involving a fatal accident
Violation of out-of-service orders
Distracted Driving Laws
Drivers who are in a crash resulting from distracted driving may face criminal penalties and jail time.
The law prohibits the use of hand-held cellphones, texting or using other communication devices while operating a motor vehicle. Hands-free devices or Bluetooth technology is allowed for persons over age 18. Even using hands-free technology is considered a distraction while driving and can be dangerous. If you must make a phone call, even with hands-free technology, it is recommended that you pull off to the side of the road before making the call.
Drivers are exempt from using a cellphone or text messaging while driving only when:
Reporting an emergency situation.
Using the device hands-free or in voice-activated mode.
Parked on the shoulder of a highway.
Stopped due to normal traffic being obstructed and the vehicle is in neutral or park.
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