A commercial driver’s license (CDL) can be a great start to earning a good living, whether you hear the call of the open road or want to drive a truck locally.
The Commercial Driver’s License
A CDL (commercial driver’s license) is required for all commercial truck drivers. The reason for this, in part, is that, as opposed to operating a regular motor vehicle, a certain awareness and skill set is required by commercial motor vehicle drivers. To get your license, a passing grade on a series of road skills tests and a general knowledge written test will be required.
Though the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier’s Safety Administration) has established CDL requirements, certain additional requirements may be applicable depending upon which state you live in.
Practice makes perfect! To practice on public roads, a CLP (Commercial Learners Permit) is needed. As long as, in the cab with you, you have a qualified CDL driver, you can drive with your CLP license. When you’re ready to start, be prepared by:
- Being ready to pay your state’s applicable fees
- Knowing your medical history
- Being aware of/reviewing your driving record
Getting Your CDL or Your CLP
There are FMCSA established standards set forth depending on the state you live in. CDL’s and CLP’s abide by these standards. You’ll need to know them.
Since you will be operating a commercial vehicle that may involve a lot of lifting, bending, pushing, pulling, etc., you will need to meet specific physical requirements to become a commercial driver. You may need an ME’s (Medical Examiner’s) certificate. Not all drivers need to meet strict medical requirements.
Of the tests that you will be required to take, one is written test involving general knowledge. This test covers the regulations and rules involving cargo transport, traffic laws, safe driving, and more.
Next is a skills test and three-part road test. The skills test will involve operating the same kind of vehicle that you’ll be using when you get your license. The three-part test includes a road test, basic controls test, and a vehicle inspection test.
Commercial Driver’s License Training
In some cases, depending on the state in which you live, CDL training is required. To prepare to drive a truck, there are typically two types of training:
- Get hired and then trained by contracting with a trucking company.
- Attend an independent driver/truck driving training program.
Both of these options have their own disadvantages and advantages. If you contract with a trucking company, you might have to work for them for up to two years – but you will experience no upfront costs. Quitting before your contracted work term is up can incur reimbursement charges and more.
On the other hand, you may not be able to afford an independent training program. Additionally, you may be required to travel for an extended period if the training facility is far away from home.
By reviewing all of the requirements outlined in the corresponding contract, you will be able to determine which is right for you.
When it comes to serving the trucking industry, Mickey Genuine Parts is a leader in our field. We sell trailers, parts, accessories, and have Mickey certified service centers located throughout the United States for your convenience. Whether you do the work yourself, or have Mickey’s technicians do it for you, you will find a supportive partner in Mickey Genuine Parts. Contact us today to see how we can be of assistance.