Those people who get a commercial driver’s license immediately up their earnings potential.  Employers actively seek those who can drive delivery trucks, construction vehicles, and semi-trailers for positions that pay well-above minimum wage and offer opportunities for growth. CDL licensing tests require some study and road practice, but those with good spatial ability and reading retention should pass them without problems.

CDL Types

Commercial driver’s licenses are separated into categories that vary slightly from state to state.  The following are the basic classifications:

  • Class A:   For a combination of vehicles that has a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds.  The GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of the towed vehicle will be more than 10,000 pounds.

  • Class B: For a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any of these vehicles towing another that is not more than 10,000 pounds.

  • Class C: For a single vehicle with a GVWR between 16,001 pounds and 26,001 pounds.

  • Class D: For a single vehicle with a GVWR under 16,001 pounds.

Endorsements can be added for air brakes, passengers, or hazardous materials. Each one requires additional testing.

CDL Written Test

Each state should offer preparation booklets at their Department of Motor Vehicle offices and online.  For some drivers, this material may not be enough to adequately prepare them for the actual test.  A variety of test preparation services exist that provide sample questions and strategies for passing the CDL exam.

A possible true or false question on the CDL exam is: “1. When preparing to do a pre-trip inspection you must check to see that the parking brakes are on and/or chocked.” A quality online test preparation service can almost guarantee that candidates will pass the written part of the exam.

CDL Road Test

Passing the road test portion requires more practice and skill than the written portion, and many serious drivers will take a truck driving certification course before attempting to get their licenses.  The road test requires that drivers pass a pre-driving safety check and safely execute a number of maneuvers while operating the vehicles they will be using in their driving career.

An instructor will be watching from the passenger’s seat as the candidate demonstrates backing up, difficult turns, using mirrors, etc. Points are deducted for poor maneuvering, and if too many are lost, the driver will fail the test.

Drivers who take the CDL should first seek instruction from a good driving school and then take a few sample written tests. Study and practice are the only two secrets to passing the exam and legally hitting the road with a new career. Contact Center For Transportation Safety for more information.