If you’re planning on getting your CDL, you need to know which type of truck your job requires you to drive.
CDL laws categorize vehicles into three separate categories:
Group A- Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of any vehicle(s) being towed 10,001 pounds or more.
Group B- Any straight single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. This can also be any vehicle towing another vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less.
Group C- Small vehicles that do not meet Group A or B qualifications. They are designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or to haul hazardous (hazmat) substances.
A Group A driver can drive a Group B or C vehicle, and a Group B driver can drive a Group C vehicle, provided (s)he has the correct endorsements.
Endorsements are like authorizations to drive a vehicle that has a specific purpose. Some tests require just a written knowledge test, and others require and on-the-road skills test as well. While endorsements can vary slightly from state to state, generally they are as follows:
H- Hazardous Materials- Vehicles carrying hazardous materials that require a identifying placard (knowledge test)
N- Tank Vehicles- Commercial vehicles carrying liquid or gaseous material within tanks (knowledge test)
P- Passenger Vehicles designed to carry 16 or more people, including the driver (knowledge and skills test)
S- School bus- Any commercial motorized vehicle transporting students to and from school or school-sponsored events (knowledge and skills test)
T- Double or Triple Trailers (knowledge test only)
X- Tank and Hazardous Materials Endorsement (knowledge test only)