A CDL, or a commercial driver’s license, is issued by the United States to anyone who is driving a vehicle with a gross weight of 26,000 lbs. or more for commercial use. This includes trucks, trailers and buses that can carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver of the vehicle. If want to apply for a job where you will drive a truck or a similar vehicle, you will have to acquire a commercial driver’s license aside from your usual driver’s license. You can apply for a CDL at the Illinois Secretary of State Driver Facility. They are the ones who issue a CDL. Acquiring a CDL is more difficult than getting a regular driver’s license. You need to have specific knowledge and training on the commercial vehicle that you will drive. Keep your wallet handy. There are fees that have to be paid when getting a CDL.
- You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a CDL. If you are 18 years old, you can only drive a commercial vehicle within the state that the license has been issued. For interstate travel, you have to be at least 21 years old.
- It is advisable to look for a job first before applying for a CDL because the DMV will not provide you with the type of commercial vehicle that you will be using on the test drive.
- Before taking the written and actual tests, you should first read the Illinois Commercial Driver's License Study Guide. This manual will give you pointers on how to pass the written exam that will be given to you. For the road test, you need to have training for the vehicle that you will be driving. You can enroll in a commercial driving school for this.
- Pay the necessary fees. You will pay $60 if you are getting a brand new CDL and if you do not have a driver’s license;.$50 if you are a holder of a regular driver’s license; $20 for a school bus CDL; and $5 for any additional endorsement.
- You will take the written exam first. If you pass, you will now demonstrate your actual driving skills. You have to schedule your road test and provide the vehicle. If you already have a job, they will provide the vehicle for you. There are three aspects of the road test: an inspection of the vehicle done by you before the road test, a skills test where you will show the examiner where the controls are and the actual driving test.
- A medical certificate is required for a commercial driver to determine if you are healthy enough to handle such a vehicle. Have yourself checked in a clinic and forward it to the one who is processing your license. If you have passed everything including the medical examination, you will be issued a CDL.
Have with you your medical certificate at all times in case of any inspection. It is also advisable to continue improving your driving skills even if you have been issued a CDL. Take safety precautions every time you go out and drive the vehicle. Take note of the renewal date of your CDL. Renew it on time so you can continue driving a commercial vehicle.