July 29, 2019

Pitts Carr and Alex Weatherby

What is a CDL?

To operate a tractor-trailer, a driver must obtain a Commercial Driver’s License commonly called a CDL. The rules for each state vary slightly. In Georgia, a CDL has several more stringent requirements than a regular license.

  • Age: The driver must be 18 years of age to drive a tractor trailer, dump truck, bus or other commercial vehicle. Even then, the driver is limited to driving in the State of Georgia. To drive interstate, a person must be 21 years of age.
  • Written Exam: Similar to a regular license holder, a Commercial Driver’s License Holder must submit to a written knowledge exam. The written knowledge exam is based on information in the Georgia Commercial Driver’s Manual.
  • Medical Certification: Unlike a regular license, a commercial driver’s license requires a medical certification. This is based on a Federal Rule that requires a commercial driver be physically and mentally fit to operate a big rig. The questions that typically appear on a medical certification include: (a) hear/brain injuries; (b) seizure issues; and, (c) fainting or passing out, among many others.
  • Road Skills Test: A CDL driver, like a regular driver, must demonstrate that they are capable of operating a commercial vehicle through passing a skills test. This includes parallel parking, backing, using the clutch, turning, and other road skills—all while operating a tractor-trailer.

In addition, even after a CDL is obtained, a driver may need an endorsement in order to operate a particular type of commercial vehicle. A truck hauling hazardous material, such as gasoline, will need to pass an endorsement exam. Having a CDL is just one of the basic differences in truck accidents and why hiring an Atlanta truck accident lawyer is important if you have a tractor-trailer wreck claim.