FloridaDriversLicenses.org Articles


A commercial driver's license is much different from a traditional driver's license. A traditional driver's license allows you to drive a smaller vehicle, one that doesn't carry cargo or has room for 16-plus people. If you would like to transport cargo, passengers, or drive for commercial purpose, you will need a commercial driver's license, or CDL. Commercial drivers usually haul a large volume of material such as food, fuel or different sorts of supplies for every industry imaginable.

Commercial driver's license classes are broken up into three different categories combination vehicles, heavy straight vehicles, and small vehicles. Combination vehicles are, hence the name, a combination of vehicles. To fall into this category a combination of vehicles must exceed 26,001 in gross combination weight rating (GCWR) with the smaller vehicle exceeding 10,000 pounds in gross combination weight rating (GVWR). To fall into the Heavy Straight Vehicle' category, your vehicle must exceed 26,001 but the vehicle it tows cannot exceed 10,000 pounds in GVWR. Small vehicles are classified as vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver.

Another aspect that distinguishes commercial driver's licenses from general-use driver's licenses is the list of endorsements you can have added to your driver's license. If you have a civilian, or general-use driver's license, you are allowed to drive cars, mini-vans, trucks, sport-utility vehicles. If you want to drive heavier and larger vehicles or haul specific materials, you need have a commercial driver's license.

Passing the CDL written test and skills test is not all you have to do to make a living as a commercial driver. You will have to take additional tests, which, upon successful completion, will add official endorsements to your CDL. If you plan on drive a passenger vehicle, you will need the "P" endorsement. If you want to drive a school bus, you will need both the "P" and "S" endorsement. If you want to drive a double or triple trailer truck, you will need the "T" endorsement. If you want to haul hazardous materials, you will need the "H" classification. To operate a tank vehicle, such as a sewage or fuel truck, you will need to obtain "N" endorsement. If you want to drive a tank vehicle that carries hazardous materials, you will need the "X" endorsement.

Driving a large and heavy vehicle requires more responsibility and expertise than driving a general-use vehicle. Because of this, commercial drivers must undergo additional training and take a test so to ensure the safety of all drivers on the road.