Question -- Getting A Class A CDL After 25+ Yrs With A Class B

Topic 28449 | Page 1

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Eric H.'s Comment
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Needing some advice. I've been driving straight trucks with a Class B CDL for over 25 years. Due to some restructuring at the company where I've worked for 15 years, I'm looking at upgrading my Class B to a Class A and driving OTR. Anyway, I'm wondering if my years of driving experience will count for anything with upgrading my CDL or getting on with a company? I've had friends tell me that I could just take the combination test and get a learner's permit, and then take the road test (although logistically, where do I get a truck to test on?). I've had others tell me that I still need to go to truck driving school and go from there. I figured someone on here might know more about what I should do.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined 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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Eric - welcome to our forum!

You're starting just like everyone else. Your past experience means very little. That's just how it works.

But, there is one thing you should know. You don't have to spend your own money going through a truck driving school. You can attend a Paid CDL Training Program and get paid while training. These programs are excellent ways to achieve your goal, and we always recommend them. As long as you can commit to one year of employment the cost is covered by your employer.

Some folks mistakenly believe they have more options by attending private schools, but it's just not really true. The difference is that you choose your employer before you get your CDL as opposed to after your schooling.

Busting The Free Agent Myth In Trucking

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined 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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Eric old schools advice was spot on like always. Driving a box truck and a semi are very different. However you'll be at an advantage when it comes to learning pretrip, air brakes and Hours Of Service. Most OTR jobs only count OTR or regional in the same vehicle type as experience. I have just shy of 3 years experience driving truck. All of that is local so if I chose to go OTR I'd still be sent out with a trainer. As far as getting your permit I highly recommend that you use the High Road CDL Training Program. It's got the same information as your state CDL manual will have but it's designed in a way to learn through repetition.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined 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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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