A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required for everyone who wants to drive a commercial vehicle, such as a truck, a bus, a tractor trailer or a tow truck.
Drivers ed is mandatory in some states in order to obtain a CDL. The commercial drivers ed is very helpful, though, and it is recommended because driving a commercial vehicle is very different from a passenger vehicle and has its own challenges.
Each state has its own set of regulations regarding CDL’s. Various types of CDL’s require various tests and exams. Most states require a written test and a driving test.
The standard written knowledge test includes driving rules and regulations, and additional tests are required if you want to drive a vehicle that carries hazardous materials, combination vehicles, vehicles with air brakes and so on.
The driving test contains examination of various driving skills, such as parallel parking, backing, rural and urban driving, highway driving, driving on intersections, clutch and brake usage.
In order to drive a school bus, you have to get a school bus endorsement on the license, and pass a special written test along with an air brakes test.
Three types of license certifications can be issued: Class A, Class B and Class C, which depends on the gross vehicle weight rating.
Active and former military personnel who have the necessary skills and experience in driving such vehicles may obtain a CDL without having to pass a written or skills test.
There are both physical drivers ed programs and schools, where you can obtain certifications that are recognized, and other options if you are just looking to brush up on your skills. For more on all the regulations for commercial drivers, see the FMCSA page.