A lot may be familiar with the term CDL, or commercial driver’s license but may not be fully aware of its purpose or perhaps the opportunities that come with it. The ability to operate larger commercial vehicles can only be granted to those who can pass the CDL exam. These PA CDL endorsements grant the applicants additional driving privileges without the need to apply for multiple license types. The majority would opt to apply for a commercial driver’s license which would not deem effective especially to those who have gotten a hold of class C licenses or motorcycle endorsement since they can be added to any regular driver’s license.
PA CDL Endorsements
Even though some states require more restrictive classifications of licenses or additional endorsements, they are acceptable as long as they. 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 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
Note that to qualify for a hazmat endorsement, applicants must first pass the written test with questions relating to the Pennsylvania driver’s manual. However, to apply for renewal or original PA CDL endorsements, applicants will then be required to undergo a security assessment test or a background check by the (TSA) Transportation Security Administration. This can only be done once you have completed all tests and medical forms after you can pay the fee, submit your thumbprint, and lastly provide any other additional required by the assigned TSA agent.
Pennsylvania CDL Classifications
For individuals to be allowed to operate a commercial vehicle in Pennsylvania, applicants must earn their commercial driver’s license. Only vehicles such as tanker vehicles, double and triple trailers, passenger vehicles, and vehicles carrying materials that are found to be hazardous require PA CDL 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 and C vehicles. Drivers may operate double and triple trailers, truck and trailer combo, tanker vehicles, tractor-trailers buses, livestock carriers, flatbeds are some of the vehicle types 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 only Class C vehicles, but not Class A. Drivers may operate box trucks (such as appliance & furniture delivery services and couriers), straight trucks, dump trucks, and large 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 would also need an endorsement for hazardous materials.
CDL Pennsylvania License Restrictions
Aside from the additional privileges granted alongside these license endorsements, the Pennsylvania license 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 more questions regarding specific endorsements, it is best to contact your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office for more information for them to provide you with better assistance.
CDL Requirements and Qualifications in Pennsylvania
When applying for Pennsylvania CDL, applicants must be of 18 years old to be allowed to drive within the state of Pennsylvania and at least 21 years of age to either transport hazardous materials and drive interstate. They must also pass the physical requirements such as possessing good eyesight meaning, a 20/40 vision in each eye with or without the use of contact lenses or glasses. Drivers should have good hearing and be able to distinguish colors. The use of prescription medicine is allowed with a maximum blood pressure of 160/100, blood sugar over 200 is not permitted since diabetes can be controlled through diet or medication with the exception of the use of insulin injections.
Applications are less strict and easier in Pennsylvania as compared to other states. The minimum requirements to be presented to the local Department of Motor Vehicles are the following:
- Pennsylvania Driver’s License
- Certificate by a medical examiner
- Agreement with state motor carrier safety regulations as stated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- Proof of Pennsylvania residency
- Social Security Card and Number
Pennsylvania CDL Testing
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. 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.
- CDL Knowledge test comprises of different sets of questions depending on the license classes applied, for class A, 70 questions to assess the driver’s understanding of Pennsylvania driving regulations, 50 questions for class B and C CDL whereas another additional 20 questions for double and triple trailers, passenger and tank endorsements. For school bus operation and air brake restriction, 25 questions are added whereas an additional 30 questions for hazmat endorsement.
- CDL Road Skills Test can only be conducted 15 days after passing the knowledge test and acquiring a permit which depends on the type of vehicle you wish to operate. It comprises of Pre-Trip inspection, Basic Vehicle Control, and Vehicle Parking Exercises.
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