What Is A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
Operating a commercial vehicle is vastly different and more challenging than driving a passenger vehicle. Large trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are often 30 times heavier than the average passenger vehicle. The massive size and weight of semi-trucks drastically exacerbate the impact and damage they can inflict in the unfortunate event of an accident. The stopping distances required for these enormous vehicles are considerably longer. Consequently, obtaining a commercial driver’s license is imperative because of the additional training and skills needed to operate a semi-truck safely.
Do I Need A Commercial Driver’s License?
Truckers must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive certain vehicles, such as dump trucks, tractor-trailers, and tankers. A CDL is also required to operate a bus, stretch limousine, or any vehicle designed to transport 15 or more passengers. New York State requires truckers to have a CDL to drive any vehicle with a gross vehicle rating of more than 26,000 pounds. Additionally, a CDL is needed to operate any size vehicle carrying material classified as a select agent or toxin or requiring a hazardous material placard.
How To Obtain A Commercial Driver’s License?
CDLs are issued by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You must already have a valid driver’s license to apply for a commercial driver’s license. To drive within state lines, you must be at least 18 and 21 years old to drive outside the state, drive a school bus or tanker with gas, or haul hazardous materials. To be eligible to apply for a CDL, applicants must first apply for a commercial learner’s permit and maintain it for at least 14 days. The learner’s permit is valid for 180 days.
During this learning phase, a licensed trucker with the same class must sit in the cab anytime you practice driving. To apply for the CDL, you must pass a federal medical examination, speak enough English to communicate, be able to read traffic signs and provide proof of legal residence in New York State. After all the application requirements have been fulfilled, you must pay an application fee to take the written test. After passing the written exam, you can schedule your road test, accompanied by an additional fee.
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