Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

I am not about to become a "trucker", but I am thinking about getting
a Commercial Driver's License (CDL).
The purpose is to be able to drive a larger truck (like a 1 ton
pickup) with a larger trailer (like 15K lbs), buying and selling
larger things.
I am curious if anyone here has a CDL and, if so, how hard it was to get.
I can study the study questions by myself, and I would prefer not to
go to a CDL school for a whole month.
Can I somehow pass it with at-home preparation? Also, can I pass that
test with a vehicle that does not require a CDL? I will do some
finding out by myself also, but I wanted to hear if anyone has any
practical experience.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus11295
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That depends on what state you're in. I know that in Minnesota and California you can drop into the local DMV and pick up a manual for free; I'm almost completely sure that the manual covers commercial licenses.
For a 1-ton pickup and 7 1/2 ton trailer, you might not even need a commercial license unless you're hauling passengers or are getting into the freight business.
Good Luck! Rich
Reply to
Rich Grise
Check with your local DMV / RMV / whatever they call the drivers licensing division in your state's web site, but in most states you can drive quite a lot on a "car" driver's license - 26,000 lbs GVW on a "car" license here, so long as it's not a schoolbus. You do a lot of surplus - the duce-and-a-half is, IIRC, a classic "car license max" truck, for instance. Kind of a high bed for loading machinery without a dock, though.
It's a big hassle to get a CDL (especially these days - homeland security wants to stick their oar in too.) Then you also have to maintain logs, etc. You do need a CDL-class-suited vehicle, and a CDL-class-suited licensed driver to supervise you - If you don't have a buddy that's a truck driver with his own truck, that's much of the reason for "CDL School" - access to those items.
IMHO, if going to school (or exploiting buddies), if you have a need to get bigger than you can drive on a "car" license, just go for the tractor-trailer (usually class A) license - you can drive anything else with that one, and have a backup career, and more options in buying trucks.
Reply to
Ecnerwal
So, I can own a Deuce and use it to haul stuff, without a CDL?
I see. I think that in IL, CDL schools are required to teach 160 hours, which seems like a big overkill.
I think so too. Class A would be the way to go.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus11295
If you get the CDL, I'll give you ten to one that you start selling liquidated big rigs, too, so go the course.
It would truly behoove you to get the behind-the-wheel time, Ig.
I passed my Contractor's license exam after studying a book and CD for several weeks. I doubt there's anything available from the DMV for that, though, but you could call them and the local truck driving schools to see.
Well, what do you know?
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us know how it works out, Ig.
-- Fear not those who argue but those who dodge. -- Marie Ebner von Eschenbach
Reply to
Larry Jaques
I recently go my CDL, class AM with TX endorsements (double, triple trailer, tanker, hazmat). It is not at all difficult if you are smart enough to understand how air brakes work, and can handle a vehicle with a trailer. I got a few CDL books and reviewed them over the course of a couple weeks in my spare time, then I went to the DPS office here and took the written (computer based) tests of which I passed all 8 or 9 I took on the first try in a total of about 45 minutes.
After that I got in touch with one of the area "rent our truck for your CDL test" places and rented a truck for the road test. The truck place provided a nice Kenworth T2000 auto-shift truck and a 27' "pup" trailer as is normally used in a tandem configuration. The truck folks met me at the DPS office early in the morning and gave me a review of the air brake test and an hour or so of drive time to familiarize myself with the truck, which was on the actual route the DPS uses for the road test.
After I passed the road test I waited in line at the DPS to do the last paperwork, then waited at the truck for the DPS tester. The actual road test was not difficult at all and the DPS guy was very nice, the test took perhaps 45 min. After that a quick visit back in the DPS office where I received my paper temporary license, with the regular license in the mail a week later.
For the hazmat endorsement which you may not care about, there was an extra step of an appointment for fingerprints to go to the TSA for check and approval (new post 9/11). The TSA approval came in less than two weeks and the new license with the hazmat endorsement in the mail a few days later.
The total cost with books, truck rental, license and TSA fees was around $750. If you'd like I'd be happy to loan you the books, or you could just order the best one "Bumper to Bumper the complete guide to tractor-trailer operations" which goes for about $48 and I believe is used by many of the schools.
The bottom line is that it's not brain surgery and you should have no problem passing the test. You will need to get a DOT physical exam, CVS's Minute Clinic does them for $60 or so, and you'll need a log book for any commercial driving you do. Also note that you can't get any traffic tickets waived or the like as you can with a non commercial license.
Reply to
Pete C.
Pete, this is an amazingly great answer, something that I have been hoping to hear. Thanks a lot. This is the way to go. I just ordered this book. I will stop by a CDL facility tomorrow, to get a Illinois CDL book.
I
Reply to
Ignoramus11295
Per the actual federal CDL rules, yes if you are hauling *personal* stuff. Per corrupt IL rules, doubtful. In either case, if you are hauling items in support of a business you *must* have a CDL for any class A or B vehicle, or a class C vehicle that requires placards (hazmat).
Reply to
Pete C.
It doesn't vary too much post the '84? motor carrier safety act. Rules are supposed to be consistent across the country now.
Reply to
Pete C.
I will just get a real CDL, like you. Thanks
I generally am averse of the idea of using a deuce for commercial operations. They are not that reliable and stand out a little too much.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus11295
It's pretty simple really, just did it myself.
Only if you want the hazmat endorsement, they have nothing to do with CDLs without hazmat endorsements. I go my hazmat endorsement and it was fast and easy, and extra $60 or so, a quick appointment for fingerprints and my updated CDL with hazmat endorsement in about two weeks.
Yes, if driving CMVs for commercial use. Personal use of CMVs is exempt from logs and hours of service, but since Iggy is looking to haul stuff for his business he will need to keep logs, which isn't that big a deal.
You can rent a CMV for your road test, and when you get your CDL "learner's permit" after you pass the written test, the truck rental place can take you out on the road to familiarize yourself with the truck before your official road test. It's not brain surgery, if you can drive a pickup with a trailer you can most likely drive a semi just fine.
Yes, certainly, get the A and the extra endorsements, it's not much more effort. I got all endorsements except for passenger.
Reply to
Pete C.
Very informative, Pete.
If i was to follow in your footsteps to get the CDL and then buy a tractor trailer unit. What else would be involved in driving my stuff cross country?
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
I do not quite see the point of hazmat endorsement for me.
So, I need to keep logs only for business stuff?
"Went to Dairy Queen"
I can drive a truck with a trailer. The longer the trailer is in relation to the towing vehicle, the easier it is to back up with it.
Thanks!
i
Reply to
Ignoramus11295
Insurance, log book if you don't fall under the personal use exemption, and probably a DOT number (free). Oh, and a lot of diesel at 5-6 MPG :)
Reply to
Pete C.
Asbestos wiring? PCB capacitors? Probably under placardable quantities though...
Yes and no. Personal use of CMVs is exempt from logs and hours of service regulations *but* business use is not and your logs must cover 7? hours prior to starting driving a CMV for business use.
Yes, and a fifth wheel hitch puts the pivot point in a better location over the axle than a receiver hitch way behind the axle.
Reply to
Pete C.
A little Isuzu LCF stake/flat-bed truck would be fairly cheap ($39k brand new, half that used. ROAD TRIP!) and quite invisible, too. They're everywhere. I don't think they need CDLs, with an 11k load rating. I looked into getting one 4 years ago when I started my handyman business, but they were just too stiff and bouncy for a daily driver. They tame down under load.
-- Fear not those who argue but those who dodge. -- Marie Ebner von Eschenbach
Reply to
Larry Jaques

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