The state of Florida provides commercial driver's licenses to people working as delivery drivers, over-the-road truckers, and others engaged in the business of transporting goods over the highways. The state sets out a multi-step process for obtaining a CDL to candidates, who have to pass both written exams and road tests.
Pass the General Knowledge Test, which covers the basic rules of the road in Florida. This written exam is required of all CDL applicants, no matter which classification or endorsements they are applying for. Florida CDLs are offered in three vehicle categories: Class A for trucks or combination rigs weighing 26,001 pounds and over, or towing vehicles of more than 10,000 pounds; Class B for trucks over 26,001 pounds; Class C for the transport of hazardous materials or vehicles carrying 15 or more passengers.
Pass the pre-trip vehicle inspection and basic control skills tests, which tests your practical knowledge of commercial vehicles and ability to maintain a safe rig.
Pass the CDL on-road driving test, which requires you to demonstrate the ability to safely drive and maneuver the vehicle.
Pass the applicable exam for any desired endorsements on your CDL. These can be added to any of the three classes of commercial driver's licenses, and include H (hazardous materials); N (tank vehicles); P (passenger vehicles); S (school buses); and T (for double- and/or triple-tractor trailers). The X endorsement is for those who qualify for both H and N endorsements.
Pay applicable fees for your original commercial driver license. As of 2012, the fee is $75 for a first-time or renewed license, and $7 each for any endorsements. The fee for school-bus driver licenses, either first time or renewal, is $48.
- CDL applicants must be at least 18 years of age. If they are younger than 21, they are restricted to intrastate routes that keep their operations within Florida. The state allows drivers already holding a CDL from another state or Canada to apply for a reciprocal Florida license. However, these drivers must still pass the Florida hazardous materials examination to get a hazmat endorsement.
- You cannot pass the CDL road test in a truck that falls outside the classification of CDL you're applying for. If you apply for a Class A CDL, you must test in a Class A vehicle. Applying for a hazardous materials endorsement requires you to undergo a federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check.
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