You need a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle. However, driver’s licenses are not one size fits all. Operating certain types of vehicles requires you to have a special license. If you plan to operate large, heavy, or placarded hazardous material vehicles in the United State in commerce, you need to get a commercial driver’s license, or more commonly referred to as CDL.
Furthermore, if you plan to drive certain specialized types of vehicles such as buses or tank trucks or carry hazardous materials, you will need to also apply for the proper endorsements on your CDL. Endorsements include:
- Passenger (P) allowing you to carry passengers
- Tank (T), allowing you to drive trucks containing liquid cargo
- H (Hazardous Materials), allowing you to drive trucks containing such hazardous materials as flammable liquids, explosives, or radioactive substances
- Bus (S), you need a background check in addition to the other requirements
In order to get an endorsement, you must first pass a specialized knowledge exam and a specialized driving skills test.
Overview of the Different Classes of CDL Licenses
There are three different types of CDL licenses: Class A, B, and C.
|Types of Licenses||Description||Vehicles You May Drive|
|Class A CDL||allows you to drive a vehicle or any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds, or more. This includes towed unit(s) with a gross weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 lbs||Tractor-trailers (also known as Semi, Big Rig or 18-wheeler), Truck and trailer combinations, Tanker vehicles, Livestock carriers, Flatbeds. Most Class B and Class C vehicles, depending on endorsement requirements|
|Class B CDL||allows you to drive a vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more. If you are towing, the GVWR of the vehicle being towed may not exceed 10,000 pounds||Straight trucks, Large buses (city buses, tourist buses, and school buses), Segmented buses, Box trucks (including delivery trucks and furniture trucks), Dump trucks with small trailers. Some Class C vehicles with the correct endorsements|
|Class C CDL||allows you to drive a single or combination vehicle designed to transport specific quantities of passengers. It also allows you to drive vehicles containing materials that may be considered dangerous and may not meet other CDL classifications, with the appropriate endorsements||Double/Tripe Trailers, Buses, Tank Trucks, HazMat Vehicles|
How to Get a CDL
You must typically be at least 21 years old to apply for a CDL. However, some states allow drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to apply for a single-state CDL. A single-state CDL allows you to operate a commercial vehicle within the driver’s state of residence (intrastate driving). The restriction will automatically be removed when you turn 21 years old.
Since obtaining a CDL can be a difficult process, you should take every step necessary to prevent a revocation or suspension of your license. If you find yourself in a situation where you are in danger of losing your CDL, you should immediately contact a New Jersey CDL attorney.
Call a New Jersey CDL Attorney Today
If you or someone you know is in danger of losing their New Jersey commercial driver’s license, an experienced attorney can help. Call Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law, LLCat 908-355-7100 to schedule a free, complimentary consultation with our legal team today.