What are the qualifications for obtaining a CDL?

As has been often discussed on this blog, though semi-trucks play an important role in our society and our economy, they pose significant dangers to other motorists. One way that these threats are lessened is by state and federal laws and regulations. These laws and regulations may limit the number of hours a trucker can drive in a given period, restrict what a trucker can haul, and/or impose inspection requirements on trucking companies. One of the easiest ways to ensure a truck driver can operate his or her vehicle in a safe manner is to require him or her to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License, known as a CDL.

Massachusetts, like many states, has several classes of CDLs, each corresponding to certain types of commercial vehicles. Obtaining a CDL often requires a potential trucker to pass a written exam as well as a road test. Before the driving portion of the exam, the potential trucker has to inspect his or her vehicle and explain to the examiner why he or she would inspect that part of the vehicle.

Those who wish to add an endorsement to their license, such as the ability to drive hazardous waste or operate a vehicle with air brakes, must also pass an additional written exam and, perhaps, another driving test. Any driver who fails any portion of either the written or driving exams will be disallowed from acquiring a CDL until all portions are satisfactorily passed.

While this may make some motorists feel more at ease with truckers, the sad reality is that sometimes an unqualified truck driver is behind wheel of a big rig. If this is the case and a tractor trailer crash results, then victims may be entitled to compensation. To recover money for their damages, victims may have to prove negligence on the part of a truck company or its driver. This can be a complicated matter, and one with which a Massachusetts personal injury attorney can help.

Source: Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, “Obtaining a CDL Permit and License,” accessed on Dec. 28, 2014


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