If you live in Wisconsin or Delaware, learn the guideline for getting your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) below. For information regarding other states, TheJobNetwork has published a very comprehensive guide on how to apply for a CDL in all states.
In Wisconsin, you must obtain a CDL if you are operating the following:
- A vehicle or vehicles with a combined weight of 26,000+ pounds
- A vehicle carrying hazardous materials that require placarding under federal law
- A vehicle designed or used to carry 16 or more persons including the driver
First, in order to obtain a CDL, you must take and pass the General Knowledge Test. A passing score is answering 80% of more of the questions correctly. You must present a valid Class D license at the time of testing.
You are then eligible to obtain a Commercial Driver Learner Permit (CLP). In order to obtain one, you must:
- Complete a Wisconsin Driver License Application
- Complete a Commercial Driver Certification
- Present a valid Federal Medical Card
- Provide Proof of Citizenship or Legal Status in the U.S.
- Pay the required fee(s)
Your CLP is valid for 180 days. When you have a CLP, you can practice driving with a qualified instructor or CDL driver holding a valid license at or above the level of your permit. You must hold the permit for 14 days prior to taking the road tests you must pass in order to obtain a CDL.
Finally, you must take and pass your skills tests. During the skills tests, you drive in the type of vehicle you seek a license for. You will be tested in pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road driving.
In Delaware, you must have a CDL to operate:
- Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001+ pounds
- A combination vehicle with a GCWR of 26,001+ pounds, if the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is more than 10,000 pounds
- A vehicle designed to transport 16+ passengers (including the driver)
- Any size vehicle requiring hazardous material placards or carrying material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR part 73
To obtain a CDL, you must first pass one or more knowledge tests, depending on what class of license and what endorsements you need.
- The general knowledge test is taken by all applicants.
- The passenger transport test is taken by all bus driver applicants.
- The air brakes test is required if your vehicle has air brakes (including air over hydraulic brakes).
- The combination vehicles test is required if you want to drive combination vehicles.
- The hazardous materials test is required if you want to haul hazardous materials as defined in 49 CFR 383.5.
- The tank vehicle test is required if you want to haul any liquid or gaseous materials in a tank or tanks with an individual rated capacity of 119+ gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000+ gallons permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or chassis
- The doubles/triples test is required if you want to pull double or triple trailers
- The school bus test is required if you want to drive a school bus
If you pass the required knowledge test or tests, you must then take and pass the CDL skills tests. There are three skills tested. You must take these tests in the type of vehicle for which you wish to be licensed.
This test will see if you know whether your vehicle is safe to drive. You will be asked to complete an inspection of your vehicle and explain to the examiner exactly what you are doing and why.
Basic Vehicle Control
This test will assess your control of your vehicle. You will be asked to move your vehicle forward, backward, and turn it within a defined area.
This test will assess your skills safely driving your vehicle in a variety of traffic situations like left and right turns, intersections, railroad crossings, curves, up and down grades, single or multi-lane roads, streets, or highways.
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