Have you ever seen someone driving a tractor-trailer or a school bus and thought, “I want to do that?” If these are career options that you are interested in pursuing, you will have to apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This license gives you the right to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
You have to get a special license because operating this vehicle is more complicated than operating a personal vehicle. The stakes are also higher, because the sheer size and weight of these vehicles can cause much more damage than the average car or truck can. You can learn more about the commercial motor vehicle here.
Definition of Commercial Motor Vehicle
The Department of Motor Vehicles defines a commercial motor vehicle as any vehicle that does one or more of the following:
- Carries hazardous material.
- Transports at least 16 people (including the driver). For example, this might include a public transportation bus or a school bus.
- Transports 11 or more students under age 21 to and from school. The driver is included in this number.
- Weighs at least 26,001 pounds.
If the vehicle in question does not meet some of these requirements, it is not considered a commercial motor vehicle. This means that you can operate that vehicle with a regular driver’s license. However, to operate a commercial motor vehicle, you will have to apply for your CDL.
Applying for a CDL
In order to apply for a commercial driver’s license, you need to meet certain requirements. You need to comply with the rules related to this license and fill out the necessary paperwork. You will have to fill out the application for the CDL and pay the fee for the permit. Then, you need to pass the CDL knowledge exams. These exams also require fees. Once you finish your exams, you also have to take a road test, similar to the test you took for your regular driver’s license. You will have to make an appointment at the test center, which is located in Hartford.
If you pass all of your exams and meet the requirements, you will then have to pay the endorsement and license fees. At this point, you will receive your license and be able to drive commercial motor vehicles.
Once you have a commercial driver’s license, it is your responsibility to operate the vehicle safely and comply with any regulations outlined by the state. If you violate any of these regulations, you could commit a motor vehicle violation.
Disqualifications Due to Motor Vehicle Violations
Your commercial drivers license is probably an important part of your work life. Many jobs require a CDL, and if you lose yours it will make working impossible. So, if you face a major traffic offense in Connecticut, it is important that you keep your license. Unfortunately, your commercial drivers license can be disqualified if you commit one of many different types of traffic violations. You can learn more on this page.
Major driving violations can cause you to lose your CDL. So, these offenses include:
- Driving in a negligent manner that causes the death of someone else.
- Using a commercial motor vehicle to commit a crime (specifically a felony).
- Leaving the scene of a crime or accident.
- Getting a DUI or other alcohol/drug related offense.
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle with a suspended, revoked, or disqualified CDL.
Serious Traffic Violations
If you receive a second offense for a serious traffic violation, the state will disqualify your CDL. So, some serious traffic violations include:
- Improper lane switching.
- Following other vehicles too closely.
- Reckless driving.
- Violating a traffic control law that causes a fatal accident.
- Operating a commercial motor vehicle without your CDL on you or without a CDL at all.
If you commit any of the following offenses, your CDL will be disqualified:
- Failing to follow out-of-state orders.
- Committing railroad-highway crossing offenses.
- Failing to submit to blood, breath, or urine tests.
- Using a CDL from a decertified state.