Who Is Required To Get A CDL License

Who Is Required To Get A CDL License? CDL is an acronym for commercial drivers license, and all countries in the world have different names for it. The term commercial drivers license has been introduced in the early 1980s to regulate the transport of any form of a commodity from agriculture products to the most precious commodity that exists today – HUMANS with some exceptions to the rules. CDL is to control drivers trough testing to reduce the risk of accidents or injuries. There are some exclusions, according to the Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA).

So many people take for granted that they have a drivers license and can drive buses or trucks, but a law was passed by congress to protect people driving busses or trucks.

In the prevention to stop abuse and drivers from having more than one license CMVSA was introduced. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act had two main functions.

  • Ensure that commercial drivers were qualified to operate those vehicles they were driving
  • Remove unsafe and unqualified drivers from the road.

When does the diver for the following vehicles require a CDL: 

  • Any vehicle combination with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or higher of the vehicle that is being towed is over 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with the GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not over 10,000 pounds.
  • Any carrier, regardless of size, intended to transport 16 or more people, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to have a visible placard during the transporting of hazardous materials.

When is drivers exempt form a CDL

The state and federal law stipulate that specific drivers are not required to take part in the CDL Program. With the exemption, it does not exempt the operators of not considering safety precautions when utilizing these vehicles. 

Truck Driver Fatigue

The following types of vehicle operators are excluded:7

  • Recreational Vehicle Operators – when using this vehicle for the personal use of recreation. You don’t need a CDL
  • Firefighting Equipment Operators – Generally, these drivers go through extensive training and is not required for additional training and is used in an emergency and generally belongs to a government agency and used to or from an emergency.
  • Military Vehicle Operators – CDL is exempted for all Operators of military vehicles for military purposes
  • Farm Equipment Operators –his exemption covers legitimate farm-to-market operations by farmers, not commercial grain hauliers. CDLs are not required to operate vehicles: 
    • Controlled and operated by a farmer, a member of the farmerʼs 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; and
    • Not used in the operations of a common or contract carrier; and 
    • Used in nursery or agricultural activities.

NOTE: For the drivers of truck-tractor semitrailers the farmer or any of his family. Operating a truck-tractor semitrailer and meeting the above criteria will also be exempted from obtaining a CDL. These drivers must be at least age 21, and the vehicle must have Farm plates. These drivers are still required to take the appropriate CDL written, skills and road tests to be licensed.

Driving certain vehicles require Special Requirements

  • Child Care Services
  • Religious Organization buses
  • School Buses
  • Vehicles used in for-profit ride-sharing programs
  • Vehicles used for the transportation of senior citizen.

Driver’s License Classifications 

  • Class A – Combination vehicles – GCWR* of 26,001 or more pounds providing the GVWR** of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B – Single vehicle with a GVWR** of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not over 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.

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