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CDL Meaning And The Different Classifications


There are a couple of different types of CDL classifications and they determine what kind of vehicle you can drive commercially. As an example, a Class B CDL will allow someone to drive a single-vehicle and it can weigh over 26000 pounds or a tow vehicle that is not more than 10,000 pounds. Some of the most common types of vehicles driven by a holder of a Class B license include dump trucks, buses, and cement trucks. There’s also a Class A CDL which is what someone who wants to be a truck driver driving an 18-wheeler would need.

What Does The Term CDL Mean?

CDL stands for commercial driver’s license which means that you have earned the right to drive certain vehicles for hire. As a commercial driver, you can be paid to drive whatever type of vehicles your particular CDL type qualifies you to drive. There are also various endorsements that can be added to a CDL that will expand the types of cargo that can be hauled in those vehicles. Depending on which type of CDL you get you may be qualified to drive something that weighs more than 26,000 lbs and you may be able to drive a vehicle that’s capable of transporting more than 16 people.

If you have the right endorsement then it’s possible that the type of cargo could be hazardous materials. If you get the right endorsement then you could also drive a truck that has two or three trailers. The type of CDL that you get will fall into one of a couple of categories. They help determine the size, function, and weight of a vehicle that you’re qualified to drive. These are put into Class A and Class B categories and they each will require a different skills test and knowledge-based test that must be passed.

What Type Of Vehicle Can You Drive With A Class B CDL?

This is the class of CDL that you will need if you want to drive a bus or dump truck. It allows you to drive a vehicle that weighs 26001 lbs or more. With the right endorsements, it also allows you to drive a vehicle that carries more than 16 people and you can tow a vehicle that doesn’t exceed 10,000 pounds. With this classification of CDL, you would not be able to drive an 18-wheeler.

What Type Of Vehicle Can You Drive With A Class A CDL?

Getting a Class A CDL will let you operate a vehicle that weighs more than 26,001 lbs and is a combination vehicle. This means that you have a tractor towing a trailer. The weight of what’s being towed can be over 10,000 lbs with a Class A. The vehicle driven with a Class A is a semi also called a big rig.

What Is The First Step To Getting A CDL?

Once you determine the type of vehicle that you want to drive and you know what class or type of CDL you want, then the first step to getting it is to get what’s called your CLP which is your commercial learner’s permit. This will be needed even if you’re going to school to learn how to be a truck driver or bus driver because it will be necessary to have your CLP to practice driving the vehicle on the road with a licensed driver.

Once you have your CLP you will be required to wait a minimum of 14 days before you would be allowed to take the driver’s skills test. The skills test will include a driving portion as well as a pre-trip inspection and various backing maneuvers. Earning your CDL is a privilege but for many, it is a great opportunity as a career choice.

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