What Is a Class A CDL?

CDL stands for Commercial Driving License. There are several kinds of commercial licenses, identified as Class A, B or C. The classes are determined by the length, weight, and complexity of the particular truck.

1 What Class A Means

According to the US Department Of Transportation (DOT), a Class A license is defined as, "...any combination of vehicles with a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of 26,001 or more pounds."

2 What Does "Combination" Mean?

When operating a towed commercial vehicle, the gross weight of the vehicle includes the tractor, and trailer combination. However, in the case of of a Class A license, the trailer itself has to weight in excess of 10,000 lbs.

3 Class A Written Test Requirements

In order to secure a Class A commercial driver, you will have to pass a set of written tests. These include a general knowledge, air brakes, and combination vehicle operator module.

4 Class A Practical Test Requirements

You will also have to pass a set of practical skill tests. In this licensing segment you will have to complete a series of tasks. These will include a complete formal pre-trip safety inspection and an "on the road" driving test. Again, the driver will have to pass both tasks to secure a license.

5 Additional Endorsements

Along with operating a vehicle of this class, various materials that may be carried on the truck require different "endorsements." These include hazardous materials and tank trailers, and each requires its own test.

Since 1984, Rick Carlton has authored more than 450 articles on the principles, application, analysis and deployment of interoperable enterprise technologies. Additionally, he has written more than 150 feature articles on aviation, auto and motorsports topics including work for The Auto Channel, "Automobile," "Flight Training" and "On-Track" magazine. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.