What is a CDL (Commercial Drivers License)?
A commercial driver’s license or CDL is a license that allows drivers to operate heavy vehicles on the roadway. CDL’s are broken down into different classifications or “classes” of vehicles based on their weight and are defined by letters. In addition, drivers can earn endorsements for different types of vehicles within those weight classifications. These endorsements are also defined by letters.
Class A CDL
This license allows you to operate a combination vehicle, most commonly associated with a tractor pulling a trailer, with a GCWR of 26,001 or more pounds, with the GVWR of the trailer weighing in excess of 10,000 pounds. (GCWR = Gross Combined Weight Rating, or the total weight of both the tractor and trailer. GVWR = Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or the total weight of any given vehicle.)
Note – If a driver has a CDL A, they can drive a Class B or D (common car or SUV) vehicle.
Class B CDL
This license allows you to operate any single vehicle, most commonly associated with a straight truck, with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds. It also allows you to operate a single vehicle towing a trailer that is less than 10,000 pounds GVWR.
Note – A driver with a Class B license can also drive a Class D vehicle, but NOT a Class A vehicle.
This license allows you to operate any single vehicle, most commonly associated with a bus, such as charter buses, or buses such as NJ Transit or PennDot buses with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds. Bus drivers transport people between various places — including work, school, and shopping centers — and across state or national borders. Some drive regular routes, and others transport passengers on chartered trips or sightseeing tours.