If you live in Montana or Ohio, check this round up of state guidelines and see what you’ll need to do to be certified to drive safely behind the wheel of a commercial rig! If you want to learn about earning a CDL at other states, we have put together a comprehensive guide on how to get a commercial driver's license in every state of the country.
The following drivers must obtain a CDL:
Class A CDL
Any combination of vehicles with a GCWR (the loaded weight of a combination vehicle) of 26,001+ pounds, provided the GVWR(the loaded weight of a single vehicle) of the vehicle(s) being towed is 10,000+ pounds.
Class B CDL
- Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001+ pounds
- Any vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001+ pounds pulling a vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less.
- A single vehicle designed to transport 16+ passengers (including the driver), if the GVWR is 26,001+ pounds or more.
Class C CDL
- Any vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds transporting hazardous materials for which placarding is required
- Any vehicle transporting 16+ passengers, including the driver, with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds
All first-time applicants must:
- Pass the vision and knowledge tests
- Present a valid medical examiner's certificate
- Fulfill all other requirements for the class of vehicle you want to drive
The knowledge test features questions on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and state laws. If you do not pass a knowledge or endorsement test, you must wait until the next working day to try again. A total of three attempts to pass any combination of knowledge and drive tests are allowed on each set of receipts within one year from the purchase date of the receipts.
The driving test includes a pre-trip inspection test to make sure you can identify truck and bus operating systems and inspect them for safety.
The driving test also includes tests on: (1) 90-degree alley docking; (2) straight line backing; or (3) parallel parking. The test will take at least 60 minutes and will include starting, stopping, braking, turning, observing traffic signs and signals, using vehicle controls, observing other traffic, maintaining lane positions, downgrade, railroad crossing, upgrade, downgrade stopping, upgrade stopping, bridge and underpass clearance, and general observance of traffic laws and safe driving practices for trucks or buses.
If you fail the driving test, you must wait a minimum of seven days before attempting again.
You must obtain a CDL if you intend to drive:
- Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of at least 26,001 pounds, as long as the towed vehicle(s) have a GVWR of at least 10,000 pounds
- Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001+ pounds, or any vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR of less than 10,000 lbs
- Any single vehicle or combination of vehicles designed to transport at least 16 passengers including the driver, or is placarded for hazardous materials
- Any school bus with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds designed to transport 16+ passengers including the driver.
- Any vehicle transporting hazardous materials for which placarding is required by federal regulations.
- Any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that is operated on public roads and is considered to be a commercial motor vehicle (includes cranes, drilling rigs, etc.).
Obtaining a Permit
You must be at least 18 years old, and have a valid Ohio driver's license. You'll need to pass both a vision test and at least one written knowledge test before you may be given a permit package. A general written test must be passed by all applicants. Additional tests will be given to those applying to drive: passenger vehicles, air brakes vehicles, combination vehicles, hazardous materials vehicles, tankers, and double or triple trailers.
A permit allows you to drive a commercial vehicle when accompanied by a CDL holder sitting in the passenger seat.
You are then eligible to take your skills test, the last step before obtaining a CDL.
Drivers will be required to take this test in the class of vehicle they intend to drive. The test includes a pre-trip inspection, basic control skills maneuvering, and road skills driving tests. The applicant will be required to provide a vehicle for testing and must be accompanied by a licensed driver for that vehicle.
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