As a major source of oil and gas as well as a central transportation hub, Texas is home to more commercial trucks than any other state. Commercial vehicle drivers who operate heavy, large, or hazardous materials vehicles must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
There are different types of CDLs, as well as endorsements. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes rules regarding the acquisition of these licenses. Before a driver can obtain a CDL, they must obtain a learner’s permit, complete entry-level driver training, and take the CDL skills test.
If you were hurt in a truck accident, an experienced truck accident lawyer can investigate whether the truck driver had the appropriate type of CDL and the regulations related to the type of commercial driver’s license or endorsement. Below are the various types of CDLs and endorsements.
Class A CDLs are required to operate a truck and trailer with a weight above 26,000 pounds if the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. Other classifications correspond to the type of vehicle and cargo. A Class A CDL is necessary to drive vehicles such as:
- Semi-trucks with trailers
- Tanker vehicles
- Livestock carriers
- Flatbed trucks
And other similar vehicles.
A Class B CDL is required to operate a truck and trailer with a weight above 26,000 pounds, or a vehicle is towing a trailer that weighs less than 10,000 pounds. A Class B CDL is also required when transporting passengers, such as driving a city bus, tourist bus, or large passenger bus. It is also necessary to drive a box truck or dump truck.
A Class C CDL is required to operate a vehicle designed to transport 15 or more passengers as well as to transport federally-classified hazardous materials, which include such substances as:
- Corrosive materials
- Explosive materials
- Radioactive materials
- Poisonous materials
- Flammable liquids
Among many others.
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In addition to having a CDL, truck drivers may also need certain types of endorsements to operate specific commercial motor vehicles. An H endorsement is necessary to transport vehicles with hazardous materials. The truck driver must pass a written knowledge test to obtain an H endorsement.
An N endorsement is necessary to operate a tanker truck that is transporting gases and liquids. Passing a written knowledge test is necessary to obtain this endorsement.
A P endorsement is necessary to operate a vehicle designed to carry 15 or more passengers. The driver must pass a written knowledge test and road test to obtain a P endorsement. If the driver will be operating a school bus, the driver must pass a federal background check and also obtain an S endorsement while they have their P endorsement.
An S endorsement is necessary for school bus drivers, who must also pass a federal background check.
A T endorsement is required if a driver hauls double or triple trailers. A written knowledge test must be passed before obtaining this endorsement.
This endorsement is necessary to operate a tanker truck that hauls hazardous materials. The driver must pass a written knowledge test to obtain this endorsement.
Consider Hiring an Attorney
Even if a truck driver has the right type of commercial driver’s license and endorsement, this does not mean the driver is a safe one. Every day, serious truck accidents occur. When they do, accident victims can seek legal assistance to pursue compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages, and pain they have suffered. A reputable law firm can help you hold negligent trucking companies and drivers accountable.