Unlike most situations, the ability to operate larger commercial vehicles can only be granted to those who can pass the CDL exam. In addition, these license endorsements grant the applicants driving privileges without the need to apply for multiple license types. The majority except those holding regular class C and motorcycle endorsements can apply for commercial driver’s licenses.
If you are wondering how to get an Illinois CDL, this post is definitely for you!
Even though some states require more restrictive classifications of licenses or additional endorsements, they are acceptable as long as they are. Are explained thoroughly on the licensed document. The following are Federal endorsements: H, N, P, S, T, and X even though only P, S, and N endorsements are recognized by the Illinois CLP. With that said, Illinois CDL holders with “P” endorsement are not allowed to operate a CMV that transports passengers, “S” endorsement Illinois holders are prohibited from school bus operation, and “N” endorsement Tennessee holders can only operate empty tank vehicles and banned from driving tanks previously carrying hazardous materials.
- H (Knowledge test only) – hazardous materials
- N (Knowledge test only) – tank vehicle
- P (Knowledge and skills test) – passenger vehicle
- S (Knowledge and skills test) – school bus operation
- T (Knowledge test only) – double and triple trailers
- W (Knowledge and skills test) – tow truck (written test to be able to operate legally if in New York)
- X (Knowledge test only) – transportation of tank vehicle and hazardous material
Take into consideration that to qualify for a hazmat endorsement, passing the written test is a must however its renewal requires applicants to undergo the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) assessment test in order words, a security background check.
Illinois CDL Classifications
For individuals to be allowed to drive a commercial vehicle in Illinois, applicants must earn their Illinois CDL. Only vehicles such as tanker vehicles, double and triple trailers, passenger vehicles, and vehicles carrying materials that are found to be hazardous require endorsements.
- Class A License – this type of license allows an individual to drive any combination vehicles with a GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating) of 26,000 pounds or more and a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or towing capacity exceeding 10,000 pounds. Any driver holding a Class A license as long as supplemented by appropriate endorsements can be allowed to operate Class B, C, and D vehicles. Drivers may operate truck and trailer combo, tractor-trailers buses, tanker vehicles, double and triple trailers, livestock carriers, flatbeds among others to which drivers must present appropriate endorsements based on the capacity of the loads each vehicle could carry.
- Class B License – holders can drive single or combination vehicles with a GCWR of 26,000 pounds or more and with a towing capacity not exceeding a GVWR of 10,000 pounds. Any driver holding a Class B license as long as supplemented by appropriate endorsements can be allowed to operate Class C and D vehicles. Drivers may operate box trucks (such as appliance & furniture delivery services and couriers), straight trucks, dump trucks, and buses (city buses, tourist buses, and school buses).
- Class C License – holders that are neither Class A nor Class B but are designed to transport at least a minimum of 16 passengers inclusive of the driver or used to transport hazardous materials as stated in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.
- Class D License – holders that only transport private passengers.
Illinois CDL License Restrictions
Aside from the additional privileges granted alongside these license endorsements, the Illinois CDL restrictions are used to prevent drivers from operating under conditions such as driving both an automatic transmission vehicle and a regular manual geared vehicle. For questions regarding specific endorsements, it is best to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles office for more information.
Illinois CDL Requirements and Qualifications
When applying for Illinois CDL, applicants must be of 18 years old to be allowed to drive within the state of Illinois and at least 21 years of age to either transport hazardous materials and drive interstate. They should also be physically able and certified to operate a commercial motor vehicle, converse and read English well enough to communicate with the general public as well as understand traffic indicators & signals and respond to reports and inquiries. Just like applying for any other state, it is essential to review the respective state CDL guidelines and requirements first.
Illinois CDL holders are required to pass a physical exam, which is more than just the usual eye test as commercial drivers bear physical demands. After completing the requirements, they will then be issued a Medical Examiner’s Certificate which is renewed every 2 years unless as instructed otherwise by the doctor.
Illinois CDL Test
To be able to acquire a CDL license, applicants must pass the two types of exams offered: namely the CDL Knowledge test and CDL Road Skills Test after scheduling an appointment with their local Commercial Driver License Road Skills Test. For any current military personnel or recently discharged personnel, the state of Illinois has introduced a new program allowing them not to take the road skills test due to their previous military driving experience done during their service. Passing the General Knowledge exam which consists of questions regarding safe driving, knowledge of basic traffic laws, and signs are required for all drivers in each class. After passing and completing the general knowledge test, applicants will then be asked to take different endorsement exams depending on the type of vehicle they wish to operate. When the likely event of individuals wishing to drive any commercial vehicle with air brakes, they are required to pass the air brakes test to prevent any restriction from their CDL. This test is different from the endorsement exams since they work more as a restriction rather than an endorsement. Failing the test would only mean that the applicant is not capable of driving a commercial vehicle with air brakes.
Now that you are familiar with the different facts and information regarding the CDL, it is now time to schedule an appointment with your local DMV to get yourself started. With all these being said, passing the CDL will surely grant you various job opportunities once you complete the training.
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