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  • Commercial Driver Education in Oregon

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    Education for a CDL

    Though not formally required, to obtain a commercial driver license (CDL) in Oregon, some drivers may need commercial driver education. The basic requirements for the state's CDL are that applicants are at least 18 years old (21 years old for interstate operation of commercial vehicles) and must possess or obtain a non-commercial, regular driver license by passing both the non-commercial C written and drive tests.

    CDL applicants in Oregon also need at least 1 year of driving experience, but this may be in a non-commercial vehicle.

    What You'll Need to Know

    When you apply for your CDL, you will need to pass the CDL general knowledge test and additional CDL class tests, such as passenger endorsement, air brakes, combination vehicles, and hazardous materials tests. You'll also have to pass driving skills tests.

    In order to pass your skills tests, you will need to learn how to inspect vehicles before driving, learn how to couple and uncouple tractors and trailers, and have plenty of practice driving. This includes driving in different conditions and on different road surfaces, turning, parking, backing up, and braking.

    Where to Begin

    The Oregon Commercial Driver's Manual is a good place to begin learning how to drive a commercial vehicle. For driving practice and training in Oregon, you must first obtain a CDL instruction permit. You can take the commercial drive test without a CDL instruction permit, but you need it to take the drive test with a third party tester, as required in some instances.

    Many motor carriers train their employees, while other drivers take courses at private driving schools, vocational or technical schools, and community colleges. Individual states often approve or certify training courses. The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) has set minimum standards for training curriculums and certifies driver training courses that meet industry and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines. Many employers require their drivers to take PTDI-approved training.

    An instruction permit holder may operate any vehicle, except a motorcycle or vehicle with hazardous materials, when accompanied by a person at least 21 years old, who has a valid license for the class of vehicle being driven. The accompanying party must also be sitting in the front seat next to you when you drive. A CDL instruction permit is valid for 1 year from the date issued, and is not renewable.

    The CDL knowledge tests may be taken at any full-service DMV office. Tests are not offered beginning 90 minutes from closing at the DMV office.

    Test fees must be paid for in advance and cost $10 for knowledge tests such as the doubles/triples, CDL tank vehicles, and CDL school bus knowledge tests. Drivers who fail must wait at least 1 day before trying again after each failure. After 4 attempts, however, you must wait at least 28 days before trying again. The CDL drive test, evaluating pre-trip inspection and on-road driving skills test, costs $70.

    Removal of an air brake restriction is $56, and the Oregon CDL certificate of test completion, including the one for passenger and school bus endorsement drive tests, is an additional $40.

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