What Is a CDL, and Why Is It Required to Ship Equipment?

What Is a CDL, and Why Is It Required to Ship Equipment?

When you’re shipping equipment or freight, a driver with a CDL or Commercial Drivers License is legally required. Here’s what you need to know about CDLs and why they’re so important in the equipment transport industry.

What Is a Commercial Drivers License?

A CDL, or commercial driver’s license, is a special type of driver’s license that allows you to drive commercial vehicles. Most people get a non-commercial class C driver’s license, which means they can drive vehicles that weigh less than 26,000 pounds. Getting your CDL allows you to drive vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds.

A CDL is also required if you’re driving a vehicle with more than 16 passengers (including yourself), or if you’re transporting hazardous materials. Driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL can lead to federal fines of $2,500 to $5,000 and up to a year in jail.

In addition to having a CDL, drivers may need to have special endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles. Special endorsements may be required for hauling hazardous materials, trucks with double or triple trailers, and trucks with tanks.

Transporting a rock truck on a lowboy trailer.

Why Is a CDL Required for Heavy Haul Transport?

Drivers need a CDL for heavy transport because driving heavy commercial vehicles differs greatly from driving a car or small truck. Everything is different in a commercial vehicle, including accelerating, braking, and turning. Driving a massive truck that’s hauling heavy equipment requires a particular set of skills, and CDL drivers are equipped for the job.

Most commercial vehicles also have more complex controls and gauges, so drivers must know what to watch for and how to keep their trucks running smoothly. When you hire experienced drivers with their CDL, you don’t have to worry about accidents holding up your job or costing you money.

Things to Know About Getting (and Losing) a CDL

The process for getting a CDL is a lot like getting a standard driver’s license. The first thing you need to do is apply for a CDL through your local DMV, DOT, or whoever handles state licensing.

Before applying for a CDL, drivers will need to meet certain requirements, which include not having their driving privileges suspended in any state. Once drivers have met these requirements and applied for their CDL, they’ll need to wait for their scheduled written and physical driving tests. Once they’ve passed these tests, they can start applying for heavy equipment shipping jobs that require a CDL.

Here are some of the jobs that require a CDL:

  • Heavy haul trucking
  • Hauling oversized loads
  • Vehicle transport
  • And more
Transporting water tanks on a hot shot trailer.

Transferring a CDL to Another State

Drivers can only have a CDL in one state at a time, so they’ll need to transfer their CDL to another state if they move. To transfer a CDL, drivers will need to visit their local DMV and fill out a form to start the transfer process. The transfer process includes providing all the information used to get the previous CDL, including proof of address and a background check. Some states also require drivers to pay a fee and retake the test to transfer a CDL.

Can You Lose a CDL?

An individual can lose a CDL in a few different ways. Serious traffic violations, repeated traffic violations, and ignored traffic violations can be grounds for losing a CDL. Drivers who have a CDL need to drive carefully. If a CDL driver receives any traffic violations, it’s imperative to pay the ticket and/or appear in court if necessary.

When you hire someone to haul heavy machinery for you, ensure they have a valid CDL. Even if somebody had their CDL at one point, there are several violations that can lead to a suspended or revoked CDL.

If You’re Interested In Transporting Oversize Loads, It’s Time To Get Your CDL

Whether you need heavy machinery for a construction job site or a tractor for your farm, you need a driver with a valid CDL. If you’re at all interested in this line of work, a CDL is imperative. It’s your first step in gaining the proper credentials for oversize load transport.

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