Determining Class of CDL Required

As a result of the Federal Commercial motor vehicle Safety Act of 1986, Pennsylvania established a Commercial Driver Licensing Program. This program has been developed to improve driver quality, ensure commercial drivers have the skills needed to operate commercial vehicles and to prevent drivers from having more than one driver’s license. The program requires you to have a CDL if you operate or plan to operate any of the following Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs):

  1. A combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  2. A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds.
  3. A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  4. A school bus designed to carry 11 passengers or more, including the driver.
  5. Any size vehicle, which transports hazardous materials and is required to be placarded in accordance with federal regulations.
  6. Any size vehicle used in the transportation of any material that requires hazardous materials placards or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR 73. Federal regulations through the Department of Homeland Security require a background check and fingerprinting for the Hazardous materials endorsement.

To get a CDL, you must pass knowledge and skills tests.
This manual will help you pass the tests. This manual is not a
substitute for a truck driver training class or program. Formal
training is the most reliable way to learn the many special
skills required for safely driving a large commercial vehicle
and becoming a professional driver in the trucking industry.
Figure 1.1 helps you determine if you need a CDL.

Exemptions: You do not need a CDL to drive military equipment while in military uniform; certain fire and emergency equipment owned by a fire company; or recreational vehicles; implements of husbandry; or
certain motorized construction equipment.

This section examines the requirements of the CDL and how you can get your CDL.

As part of the motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act, the Federal motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) amended
the Federal motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to require interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders,
subject to the physical qualification requirements of the FMCSRs, to provide a current copy of their medical Examiner’s
Certificate (also known as the U.S. DOT Physical card) to their State Driver Licensing Agency.

Interstate is defined as trade, traffic or transportation in the united States:

  • Between a place in a State and place outside of such State (including a place outside of the united States); or
  • Between two places in a State through another State or a place outside of the united States; or
  • Between two places in a State as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the State or the United States.