What Does CDL Stand For?

what-is-cdl.jpg illustration by Paul Dolan

CDL stands for commercial driver’s license, which is required to operate many of the larger vehicles you see on the road today. CDLs have been required since April 1992, and many states also have specific CDL requirements for various vehicles.

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The commercial driver’s license is issued by a driver’s respective home state and, like a regular driver’s license, can be earned after written and practical testing. Specific types of vehicles — school buses, vehicles carrying hazardous waste, or particularly large vehicles like those with two or three trailers — may require additional testing before the license allows for an individual to drive such a vehicle.

Individuals wishing or required to obtain a CDL should contact the licensing agency of their home state to learn about the requirements. Many private companies offer CDL education programs that provide the classroom and practical instruction necessary to obtain a license. More information can also be found at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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