A vehicle used to transport products or other people for commercial use is a commercial vehicle. Commercial vehicles include school buses, vehicles carrying hazardous materials, carriage trucks, towing trucks etc. All these jobs call for greater skill and responsibility on the part of the driver. Hence the training and tests for such driving is also different and there is a separate license for commercial driving abbreviated as CDL.
You need to be at least 21 years of age to apply for commercial drivers license (CDL). When you visit the DMV office, you will have to fill out the application form in person because online option is not available for commercial driving. You must carry with you a proof of your name and your age, social security card, medical certificate and application fee. You will be tested for vision and your thumb print and photograph will be taken at the office. You also need a Hazmat endorsement before getting the license.
Depending on the type of commercial vehicle you plan to drive, you will have to attend the relevant training. It is important that you have a hands-on the vehicle you are going to drive so that you know the basics and can understand well during the training. Make sure you get both theoretical and practical knowledge during your training because both are equally important for the test point of view as well as your driving experience later. What you learn during the training will stay with you throughout your life.
On the day of the skill test, you will have to bring the vehicle that you wish to drive. The vehicle has to pass the inspection. If you are applying for Hazmat (hazardous materials) vehicle, you need to pass a background check as well. You not only need to know how to drive these vehicles on a straight road but also how to drive on different difficult surfaces, turn, back and park your vehicle. All this will be test in the written test as well as the practical test. Though there is some difference in the laws and processes in every state, the basic requirements are the same.
Driving commercial vehicles is a very responsible job and hence the person chosen should have a good medical as well as clear criminal record. This job calls for emotional stability and ability to work under stress and impulsive people must try to stay away from this profession or should be willing to change. With training and practice, it is not difficult to learn and handle a commercial vehicle. Once you qualify the exams, you get a temporary license for 90 days. In the mean time, your license will be mailed to you.