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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Requirements to Operate a Big Rig in the United States




Thousands of men and women drive big rigs in order to get the goods to the stores for us to conveniently walk in and buy. They also haul dirty and other materials for building homes and roads. Just as each person needs to fulfill basic requirements in order to get a traditional driver’s license, there are requirements in order to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a big rig.





There are two types of tests that have to be successfully passed in order to obtain a CDL in the United States. There is a written test that goes over the various rules and regulations. This is completed first at any local Department of Motor Vehicles or through a truck driving school. There is also a driving test that has to be completed just like there is for operating a regular vehicle.





An individual must be at least 21 years of age before they are allowed to apply for a CDL. There are some special laws that apply for individuals from 16-20 years old who operate semi trucks used in conjunction with agricultural work. They also have to be able to successfully read and write English due to the many road signs pertaining to trucks on the road and the necessary paperwork.





The Department of Transportation requires all CDL license holders to successfully pass a physical completed by a doctor trained in their requirements. This physical has to be renewed annually in order for the individual to remain in compliance. Since the terrorist attacks of 09/11/01, those individuals applying for a CDL also have to be a citizen of the United States and pass a background check.





There are special endorsements for a CDL that a person can apply for as well. Hauling chemicals and flammable materials requires the individual to complete a Hazardous Materials course. Upon doing so they will be given an endorsement to acknowledge this on their drivers license. To find out the specification of obtaining such endorsements ask your local DMV or take a look at the information found online.





The driving record of an individual is going to determine if they are able to obtain a CDL. While you can if you meet all the other requirements and have a valid traditional driver’s license, it doesn’t mean you will be able to get a job. Most employers look very closely at a driving record when hiring drivers. The cost of insurance for big rigs is very expensive, and the get a discount when they have a fleet of drivers with a safe driving history.





Any individual holding a CDL has to understand that they can lose this privilege if their regular driving privileges are suspended or revoked. In many states failure to pay child support according to the court order can result in a driver’s license being suspended. This can also happen due to excessive amounts of speeding tickets, accidents, or driving under the influence of alcohol.





There are various ways in which a person can learn how to operate a big rig. Many students enroll in a truck driving school. This is a program that lasts for several weeks and teaches them all the fundamentals for both passing the written exam and the driving test. Most students master the rules faster than they do the driving skills. Instructors watch closely and work with students in many areas until they master the necessary skills to safely operate a big rig on the public highways.





Others learn from someone else who already holds a CDL. It is very common for fathers to teach their sons how to do this, especially if they have a business where holding a CDL is vital. The rules for obtaining a CDL in the United States are in place to ensure that the roads are safe. They are also in place to prevent those who have a poor driving record from having control of such a large and powerful piece of equipment.