A Guide to Licensing for Commercial Vehicles

Model 1 | August 24, 2016

A Guide to Licensing for Commercial Vehicles


For transporting goods across the country within commercial vehicles, drivers must obtain special licenses from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The government requires that drivers of commercial vehicles go through rigorous testing to confirm their understanding of the rules of the road as well as their driving abilities. Within this post we’ll present our guide to licensing for commercial vehicles.

Who Requires a Commercial Driver’s License?

Any driver who is operating interstate or intrastate commerce via their vehicles needs a commercial driver’s license. There are three specific classes of vehicle that are included within the commercial driver’s licensing regulations. These classes are as follows:

Class A Vehicles

Any combination of vehicles that have a gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more.

Class B Vehicles

Any single vehicle that has a gross weight of 11.794 kilograms or more.

Class C Vehicles

Any vehicle that doesn’t meet the definition under Class A or B and yet transports 16 or more passengers or is designed for the transportation of hazardous materials.

How to Obtain a Commercial Driver’s License

The first step in getting a commercial vehicle driver’s license is for the driver to get a copy of their state’s commercial driver’s licensing manual, which allows the driver to learn more on vehicle operation and the process moving forward for getting and retaining their license.

Each class of license requires the driver to take a skills test and in some cases a written test to move forward in the process. In the beginning of their testing, the driver will be provided with their Commercial Learners Permit. This allows the driver to practice on public roads with a qualified license holder. The driver may also be required to take a physical to get their Department of Transportation Medical Card, proving their driving safety. Once they’ve held the learner’s permit for 14 days, the driver can then take the skills test which features three separate components: vehicle inspection, basic controls, and the road test. Once the 14 days has been completed and the test successfully passed, the driver can then apply for their license and begin driving.

When Do Commercial Driver’s Licenses Expire?

Each state sets their own individual span at which their commercial driver’s licenses will expire. It’s the responsibility of the driver, along with their company, to ensure that their license remains valid and updated constantly. Drivers will require their current license and any documentation they brought when applying for their license in order to renew.

The team here at Creative Bus Sales is expert on the rules of commercial vehicle licensing and can match vehicles to your needs. To learn more, call our team today at 888-633-8380.