In order to become a truck driver, you’ll need to get a CDL by successfully passing the CDL test. Each state manages its own CDL test based on the driver’s manual, which is created by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These tests assess your skills and knowledge regarding general truck driving knowledge, air brakes if you’ll be driving a vehicle with air brakes, and combination vehicles.
Each CDL test has three basic components.
- Knowledge test (a.k.a. Written test)
- Vehicle inspection test (a.k.a. Pre-trip inspection test)
- Road test (a.k.a. Driving test or Skills test)
What is the hardest part of getting your CDL?
Like when you got your regular driver’s license, you’ll need to get a learner’s permit first. Then the DMV will assess your knowledge with a written test and inspection test and test your physical driving skills with a driving test. The general consensus is that the road test is the hardest part of getting your commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, that could depend on how much you study and practice or how you feel about taking written tests.
What happens if you fail your CDL test 3 times?
No one wants to retest, but if you fail your CDL test three times, you’ll have to start over – get another learner’s permit and retake the knowledge tests and the driving test. In some states, you’ll also have to wait a certain amount of time before you can get your new learner’s permit. Retaking the test could also cost you more money. Check your state’s specific regulations to know for sure.
Preparation will be the key to passing the CDL test the first time. Study the material and practice driving the kind of truck you’ll be driving in the test and on the road after you pass. There are many CDL classes, practice tests, and driving schools to give you the CDL training you’ll need to become a valuable part of the trucking industry.
How many times can you take the CDL permit test?
Technically, you can take the CDL test as many times as you want to. It’s just a matter of how much time and money you want to spend. You can take the test three times before you’ll have to get a new learner’s permit and pay the application fee again.
Save yourself time and money by doing your homework. Decide what kind of vehicle you’d like to drive professionally (e.g. school bus, hazardous materials tanker, etc.), understand what it’ll require (i.e., Class A, B, or C CDL), study the driver’s manual, and practice driving.
Consequences for failing the CDL test in different states
Every state is responsible for managing the CDL program in their state, including the regulations and CDL issuance. That means each state chooses how to administer the CDL road test and knowledge tests, what happens if you fail your CDL test, and what it’ll take to retest. Knowing your state’s regulations upfront could save you time and money.