In order to drive a commercial vehicle in Alabama, you must first obtain an Alabama commercial driver’s license (CDL). While classes of CDL licenses can vary from state to state, Alabama classifies commercial vehicles that require a CDL to drive as follows:
- Class A: Operate vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds that tow trailers or other vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds
- Class B: Operate vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds and tow trailers or vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds
- Class C: Operate vehicles that can transport 16 or more people or vehicles that transport hazardous materials
To qualify for a CDL in Alabama, you must be at least 18 years old, pass a vision exam and obtain a medical certificate. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) governs the transportation of materials across state lines. Federal regulations require truck drivers hauling materials from one state to another to be at least 21 years old. CDL applicants must then pass both a written knowledge exam and a driving test. The three part driving test includes a pre-trip vehicle inspection, a basic control skills test and an on-road driving exam. The driving test must be taken in a vehicle that matches the class of CDL license you are trying to obtain.
Additional endorsements are then needed to drive certain types of vehicles including trucks with air brakes, double/triple trailers, tanker trucks or school buses. Endorsements are also needed to transport passengers or to haul hazardous materials. To transport hazardous materials (also referred to as a Hazmat endorsement), a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check is required. A truck driving school in Alabama will provide you with the foundation to pass the CDL requirements and start your career in truck driving.