What are the differences between each CDL class of commercial license?

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That's a good question.

The federal government sets the various commercial license classifications. And, they are as follows:

  • Class A: Required to drive a truck or truck combination that weighs more than 26,000 pounds and tows a vehicle or unit weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B: Required to drive a straight truck or bus that weighs more than 26,000 pounds.
  • Class C: Required to drive a vehicle designed to transport more than 15 persons (including the driver) and that has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of fewer than 26,001 pounds. It's also needed to drive a vehicle that hauls placarded amounts of hazardous materials.
NOTE: As a CDL driver, you must only hold one valid CDL, as mandated by The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986.

CDL Classes vs. Endorsements

Keep in mind there are also endorsements, such as those for air brakes and driving a school bus, hazardous materials, and tank vehicles. A CDL endorsement is separate from a CDL class. Depending on the type of vehicle or the cargo you're carrying, you may need one or several endorsements.

Contact your state's DMV agency for more information, including information about the CDL test (or tests) you'll need to take for your class or endorsement, where you can obtain a CDL practice test, and whether you need an appointment for any of the exams.

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