What It Takes to Be a Truck Driver


Many Americans have had a driver’s license since they were 16 years old. In most states, a written test, a driving test, and maybe a vision test, are all it takes to get that coveted piece of plastic that says you are qualified to drive a vehicle on public roads. It’s a fairly simple process that most high school students fit somewhere in between classes, homework, sporting events, social gatherings, and college preparations.

But getting a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) is not quite so simple. It takes more skill, ability, and knowledge to be able to operate a commercial vehicle. So the process of getting A CDL is more difficult. But what exactly does it take? If you’ve been in an accident with a tractor-trailer, it can be helpful to know what process the driver went through to get a CDL.

Understanding this process might give you an idea of what the driver should have known at the time of the accident. The process varies slightly from state to state, but there are a few general qualifications that drivers must meet. Here are the details.


When someone applies for, or attempts to renew, a CDL the state issuing the CDL is required to check its own database, the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS), and the National Driver Register (NDR). The State is also required to request the individual’s driving record from every jurisdiction the driver has been licensed in the past 10 years. This step of the process helps to ensure that the applicant isn’t covering up any serious violations that should prohibit him or her from obtaining a CDL.


Truck drivers are required to pass a physical exam by a certified medical examiner to ensure that they are physically qualified to operate a tractor-trailer. Drivers can have their certification taken away if they do not retake their physical exam within a specified time frame, or if they do not pass their physical exam.

Learn what it takes to be physically qualified to be a truck driver.

Knowledge & Skills

Every state develops its own knowledge and skills test, but all tests must meet minimum federal standards. All knowledge tests must have at least 30 questions, not including questions regarding air brake knowledge. To pass the test, want-to-be truck drivers must answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly. To pass the skills test, applicants must correctly perform all the skills listed in 49 CFR 383.113.

Read this article and others like it at TruckAccidentMagazine.com. Call Lori Tepper at APITLAmerica today at 888-772-4852, to learn more about TruckAccident Magazine.  Also, learn more about putting the brakes on unsafe trucking companies online at http://www.apitlamerica.com – APITLA is serving America’s truck accident victims.


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