Driving a commercial rig is a great career option, but you will need to plan ahead if you want to be successful. There are very specific laws that govern commercial drivers, and ignoring those regulations could result in fines or a revoked license. Here is a quick glance at just a few of the steps that you will need to take before you haul your first load.
Double-Check State and Federal Minimum Requirements
If you want to drive across state lines, then you must meet all federal requirements. Those who would like a CDL need to be at least 21 years of age and have no disqualifying criminal offenses on their records. Your state may also require a driver history of at least 10 years or ask you to undergo a physical examination. After that information has been verified, you will then need to pay all of the associated fees before you get your commercial learner’s permit. Driving is a serious matter, so make sure that you are following all requirement s to do so safely. There is always time to drive safer than you did the day before.
Head to Driving School
Truck licence training is one of the most important steps in this process. During your classes, you will learn about all of the laws that you must adhere to as a CDL holder. Most training programs last for at least a few months, but there are some shorter courses for those who want to take the exams as quickly as possible. In addition to working in the classroom, you will also drive an actual truck on a closed track.
Pass All Exams
In order to become a commercial driver, you will need to pass a handful of written and practical tests. The first test that you will need to take is the state CDL exam, and that must be completed at a licensed facility. Drivers who plan on transporting hazardous materials must pass a background check with the TSA as well. The last test that you might want to consider taking is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) exam. That particular test has a written portion as well as a physical examination. Physical examinations are beneficial, because they expose possible problems so that they can be fixed.
Find an Employer
Many schools and training centers have job placement programs, and that is a great way to land your first position. If your school doesn’t have one of those programs, then you might want to contact trucking and transportation companies directly. You will most likely start off in an entry-level position, but many drivers move up to great routes within just a few years. Drivers also have the option of becoming independent operators, but that requires quite a bit of startup capital.
Once you have landed a job, you will need to check all of your paperwork once every few months to make sure that nothing is about to expire. Some examinations need to be taken every year or two while others have no expiration date.