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  • Commercial Driver Education in Alabama

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    Getting Started

    So you want to learn how to drive a big rig. The state of Alabama does not endorse any particular truck driving schools or educational programs, but there are plenty of options available to obtain your commercial driver's license (CDL). Research companies in your area using the Internet, local yellow pages, and other areas of this site, or even talk to some truckers at a nearby truck stop. Your employer might even decide on a driving school for you.

    The Commercial Driver License Manual is available online from the Driver License Division of the Department of Public Safety, so you can download the PDF file and begin studying immediately. Before you get behind the wheel of any commercial vehicle, you must take the written tests for a CDL learner's license. Apply for this license at your local driver's license office.

    CDL Classes & Endorsements

    If you drive a commercial vehicle that falls into one of the following categories, you must secure an Alabama CDL. It is illegal to drive a commercial vehicle without a commercial license.

    • Class A: This classification applies only to combination vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed exceeds 10,000 pounds. The holder of a Class A license, which includes any appropriate endorsements, may operate all vehicles included in class B, C, and D (class D vehicles are normal passenger vehicles).
    • Class B: This class includes single or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle of 26,001 pounds or more. The vehicle in tow must not exceed 10,000 pounds. Class B licensees, with appropriate endorsements, may drive all vehicles in class C or D.
    • Class C: Vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and vehicles placarded for hazardous materials, that do not meet the criteria for class A or B above fall under this classification. Holders of class C may also drive all vehicles in class D.

    CDL endorsements are required for double/triple trailers, tanker vehicles, passenger vans or buses, and vehicles placarded for hazardous materials.

    In addition, driving hazardous materials requires a background check. For more info, see Applying for a New CDL.

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