The CDL licensing process can be long and tedious! You have to produce a list of documents during the application, including everything from your social security information to your medical certificate. You’ll still need to take the knowledge exam and driving skills test. As if that’s not enough, you must ace both exams to get your hands on the coveted CDL. If you’re applying for a CDL License, you might want to know the ins and outs of a successful license application. Here is a guide to how CDL processing works.
The first step to getting your hands on a commercial driver’s license is applying. In most states, you can file online or by mail and have to provide all necessary information. You need to satisfy the following requirements:
-You must be at least 18 years old or older
-Social security number (or proof of having applied for one)
-Valid driver’s license number, if you have it
-Proof of citizenship or legal residency status in the U.S. (birth certificate, passport, etc.)
-Medical certification by an approved medical examiner on form MCSA/AL26. You can get this from your doctor or at a DMV office.
After you’ve submitted all your paperwork, you’ll still need to take both knowledge and skills tests. These can be scheduled at your local DMV. It’s important to note that if you have a felony conviction on your driving record, make sure it is cleared up before applying for the CDL, as some states do not allow felons to hold such a license. Also, if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you’ll need to complete a Drug and Alcohol program before you take the test.
There are two types of testing:
The knowledge test assesses your understanding of specific CDL regulations, such as knowing what size load you’re allowed to transport or which commercial motor vehicles you can drive with a particular license class. You’ll need at least an 80% score on the test to pass it. The questions on the written CDL endorsement test will feature things like:
-Defensive Driving and Safe Driving Practices
-Vehicle Controls and Displays
-Loading, Towing, and Coupling
A basic control skills test determines if you can drive the appropriate vehicle safely and whether your driving skills are up to par. You will be required to perform specific maneuvers, such as backing up into a designated spot or driving in reverse for at least 100 feet. You’ll also need to properly pull off an “emergency stop” and demonstrate how quickly you can accelerate and decelerate your vehicle. The DMV will assign you three tests: one of them is the Class A test, the second is the Class B license test, and the third one depends on your license class. You’ll need to pass all three exams before obtaining a CDL.
Generally, the tests are administered by a DMV representative or an approved testing station. The CDL skills test must be taken in the type of commercial vehicle you wish to drive, so make sure you schedule your exam at a location with access to this kind of equipment! Note that passing scores may vary depending on where you take the tests and what version of the CDL driving test you complete.
After passing both exams, your application will be reviewed and approved by your DMV representative. Once all documents are processed, the DMV will mail you your official commercial driver’s license. You’ll then receive a temporary driver’s license that allows you to operate commercial vehicles in case of an emergency (for example, if there is no other driver available).
There is no need to worry if you unsuccessfully take the commercial learner’s permit test! You can still retake it as many times as needed. However, your temporary license will expire and won’t be renewed until after six months of failing the exam twice. You’ll need to submit a new application with all necessary documentation and fees before retaking the tests.
You should receive your CDL in the mail within days after passing both tests. It usually takes a few weeks to process and approve all documents, even though this timeframe can vary depending on where you live. To be on the safe side, ensure you provide the DMV with verified document copies so that there are no hiccups during processing.
The cost of getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL) varies from state to state. If you’re required to take any additional tests (for example, due to a DUI), you’ll be charged additional fees on top of the regular fee(s).
The benefits of having a CDL are immense! For example, you can drive a commercial motor vehicle within the state(s) where your license is valid. You’ll also be able to operate in all 50 states as long as you have a noncommercial driver’s license AND meet any additional requirements for out-of-state driving. You’ll also be able to drive any vehicle that falls under the class of your CDL.
If you’re thinking of enrolling in a CDL training course, don’t hesitate to contact Western Pacific Truck School! Our instructors will teach you all you need to know and prepare you to pass the driving test. We also offer exciting packages tailored to fit your needs at competitive prices. Call us today!