Commercial Driver Education in New Hampshire
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There is no official CDL education requirement, but commercial driver education is still important for all new and experienced commercial drivers. If you are training for any CDL class of commercial driving, you'll need to learn about equipment, safety, traffic rules, cargo, and accidents.
Many employers will pay for commercial driver education, and with a national shortage of truck drivers there is added incentive for your company to help you get licensed. You might be considering buying a truck and working for yourself; you will still want education, training, and practice to help you succeed.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees the laws on commercial drivers because the federal government has jurisdiction over interstate commerce. Even though the FMCSA has many rules about how commercial vehicles will perform on the road, there is no minimum required training. The State of New Hampshire does not have requirements either; however they do offer some guidance.
As many as eight times per year, the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Highway Patrol presents an overview of Motor Carrier Rules. This course is for drivers, managers, employees, public workers, and anyone involved in commercial driving. The training will not teach you how to drive, but you will learn about:
- Drug & alcohol testing
- Insurance requirements
- CDL licenses
- Driver qualifications
- Parts & accessories required
- Hours of service
- Hazardous materials transportation
- Drug & alcohol prohibitions
- Inspection reports & maintenance
Practice is the best way to improve your skills and gain confidence in your ability to drive a commercial motor vehicle. There is a lot to learn and all drivers, state troopers, local police, and the US Department of Transportation will agree that it is a tremendous responsibility to operate a truck on the highway.
Professional driving school and individual attention will teach you skills you need, like:
- Air brakes
- Combination vehicles
- Doubles and triples
- Tank trailers
- Hazardous materials
- Pre-trip inspections
- Testing―written and road
- School bus driving
Professional driving schools are convenient and cost effective, especially if you don't have your own tractor or truck. Use the driving school equipment to practice and even to take your road skills test.
If you are not able to enroll in driving school you will have to learn on your own. If you qualify as a CDL Learner, you can drive a commercial vehicle as long as you have a licensed CDL driver in the passenger seat. The driver with you must have the appropriate class license for the vehicle you are driving. In other words, you can't drive a class A tractor trailer with a CDL class B licensed passenger―the passenger must have a CDL class A license.
The Commercial Driver's Manual is another form of self-study. Professional truck drivers can learn a lot from the manual, which is available online. Over 150 pages of general and specific information about commercial equipment, traffic rules, vehicle classes, cargo, hazardous materials, and testing are discussed in the Commercial Driver's Manual.
Similar to the Driver's Manual, the main message in the Commercial Driver's Manual is safety. There is much more technical information, however, because the equipment is more complicated and specialized.
The manual is a good basis for any commercial driver education, formal or informal. As an experienced driver, reviewing the manual is a good idea to keep your skills fresh.
Plenty of driving practice will train you on different driving situations and on the particulars of being a good commercial driver. Be sure to learn all the proper sections of the Commercial Driver's Manual. Ask questions and practice, practice, practice.
For more information, refer to our Commercial Driver FAQs.
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