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What Does CDL Stand For?

what is cdl jpg Cars.com 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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Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and Cars.com in 2013, and he became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

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