SeanCarlo Lopez | October 25, 2023 | Truck Accidents
Types of Commercial Driver’s Licenses in Florida
As every licensed driver knows, driving is a privilege. Before you receive your license, you need to prove that you understand the rules of the road, are responsible enough to follow them, and can drive safely.
The same guidelines apply to driving a commercial vehicle. However, because commercial vehicles are more dangerous than passenger vehicles, the standards for getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are much higher than the standards for getting a basic license.
The rules for getting a CDL in Florida are partially set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and partially set by the state of Florida. Three types of commercial driver’s licenses permit you to drive different types of trucks.
Class C License
The holder of a Class C license can operate the smallest types of commercial vehicles. This class is mostly made up of large passenger vans and small hazmat trucks. Class C vehicles must weigh 26,000 pounds or less when fully loaded. You are required to have this type of license if your vehicle is carrying hazardous materials or transporting more than 15 people.
Class B License
The next tier of license allows you to drive commercial vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds as long as any trailer you might be towing weighs less than 10,000 pounds. Since fully loaded trailers weigh well more than 10,000 pounds, this license generally allows you to drive a semi-truck only if the trailer is empty.
A Class B CDL is typically required to drive:
- Passenger buses
- Box trucks
- Garbage trucks and other types of dump trucks
- Straight trucks
You can also drive a segmented passenger bus with this license. The second segment does not count as towing another vehicle.
Class A License
A Class A CDL is the type of license you need if you want to be a long-haul driver. It allows you to drive a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds, regardless of how much it is towing.
However, since semi-trucks are different from Class B and Class C vehicles, a Class A license does not cover all commercial vehicles. You will need an endorsement to drive a vehicle like a school bus or hazmat truck.
Requirements To Get a CDL in Florida
Because truck accidents and bus accidents are often much more destructive than passenger vehicle accidents, the standards for getting a CDL are much stricter than for getting a standard driver’s license.
Just to be eligible to get a CDL in Florida, you must:
- Already have a valid driver’s license
- Be at least 18 years old (or 21 if you want to drive out of state)
- Be able to speak English
- Pass a hearing test
- Have 20/40 uncorrected vision or better
- Pass a medical test that includes a urinalysis
- Have a mostly clean driving record
- Have never been convicted of a DUI
If you are eligible, you will need to complete commercial vehicle driver’s training. CDL courses generally take a few weeks. After your course, you must pass multiple skills and knowledge tests.
When You Don’t Need a CDL
Although moving box trucks and recreational vehicles are large, you do not need a CDL to drive them. However, you should always take additional care when driving RVs or moving trucks due to their size.
Commercial Driver’s Licenses Should Be Taken Seriously
Even the smallest commercial vehicle is quite a bit heavier than the average passenger vehicle. They are dangerous, and the driver must take their job seriously. The strict standards Florida imposes to get a CDL help ensure people take this privilege of owning a CDL as seriously as they should.
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700 7th Ave N Suite B St. Petersburg, FL 33701