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A black chalkboard with the word TEST in big white letters July 26, 2021 - BY EagleLogistics LLC

How to Get Your Class A CDL License

Imagine you are on a motorcycle on the highway. It’s starting to sprinkle a little. You feel the presence of a vehicle pulling up too close behind you. You think, “What a jerk. Will the person be able to stop if I need to brake quickly, or is this it for me?” You look in the mirror. “Oh, of course it’s...?” Ok, whom did you picture? A. An older person in a comfortable car; B. A young person either in a hurry or distracted; C. A utility truck; or D. A truck driver in a rig? That’s right. The truck driver. Just kidding. You pictured a young-ish, reckless or selfish driver. (Do you ever look at dumb drivers as they pass to see if they look as dumb as they drive?) Why not the trucker? Because they are professional drivers. They know through training and experience that following too closely is dangerous. So today, let’s talk about that training. Let’s talk about that Class A CDL license. 

We won’t lie to you - the process to a Class A CDL license is stringent. And shouldn’t it be? You don’t want surgeons who got their licenses through the mail, or lawyers who wrote a one-page paper on an episode of Matlock (a moment of silence for Andy Griffith _____________________________________________________________), or even a driver that proved he could almost parallel park his dad’s minivan when he was 16 years ago. No, we want drivers that can see, know the rules of the road, and have extensive driving skills. The Class A CDL license process ensures those qualities. The process involves three main components:

Paperwork 

  • Proof of Age - must be at least 21 years old
  • Social Security Number verification
  • Proof of Residency
  • CDL application
  • Medical Examination Report Form
  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form 
  • Vision Test 
  • Commercial Learner’s Permit for 14 days between medical examination and driving test
  • Fingerprints and a Security Threat Test (these are only for some special endorsements)
  •  

Written Test

  • Knowledge Portion (Mandatory, 50 questions, must get 40 correct)
  • Air Brakes (Mandatory if your vehicle has air brakes, 20/25 correct)
  • Passenger Transport (Mandatory for Bus Drivers, 16/20 correct) 
  • Combination Vehicles (Mandatory to drive combination vehicles, 16/20 correct)
  • Hazardous Materials (Mandatory to drive hazardous materials, 24/30 correct)
  • Tank Vehicle (Mandatory to haul large volumes of liquid or gaseous materials, 16/20 correct)
  • Doubles/Triples (Mandatory to pull double or triple trailers, 24/30 correct) 
  •  

Skills Test

  • Vehicle Inspection - You will have to tell the examiner what you are looking for and why in order to ensure the vehicle is road ready and safe. To see the official directions of the vehicle inspection, click here.
  • Basic Vehicle Control - You will have to demonstrate that you can move the vehicle safely forward, backward, and turning through a course
  • On-Road Test - You will have to demonstrate that you know the road rules and have the skill to manage real-time driving. Railroad crossings, intersections, up and down grades, highways, streets, single and multi-lane roads, curves, and stops are all on the diet. There may be other components to the road test decided by your examiner. 

As far as tips go for passing your Class A CDL license test, we recommend learning about the crew of examiners. There is likely one examiner that fails every driver on their first attempt just to keep them humble. Imagine if Barney Fife was in charge of giving out licenses. (A moment of silence for Don Knotts ____________________________________________________________________). There will be another examiner who just wants to chat and passes everyone. This dynamic is inevitable and universal. You must decide if you are a gambling person who hopes for the gracious examiner when you pull up, a religious person who petitions God to give you the examiner you deserve like a martyr, or a person of action. We recommend waiting outside the examination area until someone goes in front. Invariably the over zealous person will pounce in the first truck. That’s when you sneak in for the chill person. 

So, it’s not easy, but then again it really shouldn’t be. And don’t be surprised that you are asked to do things other people can’t. That’s the life of the trucker. Hold the country together one stop or one mile at a time, staying alert when others aren’t, hauling critical and time-sensitive loads safely and wisely, performing with excellence day in and day out. You can do this! 

Eagle Logistics is ready to talk to you about a great job with other great people when you’re ready! Contact us HERE. Now go get that Class A CDL license!