Do All Truck Drivers Need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?

It depends on the vehicle. Because large commercial vehicles are more complicated to drive and more dangerous than passenger vehicles, many operators are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in order to safely maneuver large trucks and buses. Federal regulations require each state to set requirements for obtaining a commercial driver’s license.

However, you may be surprised to learn that not all operators are required to have a special license to drive certain types of trucks in Missouri.

Who Needs a Commercial Driver’s License in Missouri?

The weight of a vehicle determines whether or not a commercial driver’s license is required for operation. Individuals driving the follwoing vehicles must have a CDL:

  • A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001. pounds, as long as the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
  • A vehicle of any size transporting hazardous materials in a quantity that requires a hazardous material placard, which are federally-required warning labels placed on the truck when transporting these dangerous substances.

Truck drivers in Missouri required to obtain a commercial driver’s license must hold the correct classification of CDL for the vehicles they intend to operate. These classifications apply:

  • Class A: Towed unit with GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more
  • Class B: Truck with GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Class C: Vehicle transporting 16 or more passengers, which includes the driver; also trucks required to utilize a hazardous material placard

Not all trucks require an operator to hold a CDL. Lesser-weight trucks, passenger vans with fewer than 16 passengers, small delivery trucks and vans, and rental trucks can be driven without this license. While this may make it easier for drivers to have versatility, you and your family may be in danger due to less-experienced drivers who aren’t used to a vehicle with a greater size and weight making a truck accident more likely.

Missouri’s Requirements to Obtain a Commercial Truck Driver’s License

Missouri law requires an individual to complete a number of requirements to receive a commercial truck driver’s license:

  • Knowledge test. An individual must take a general skills written test and could be required to take additional tests involving factors such as air brakes, tanks, and hazardous materials, depending on the type of truck he plans to drive.
  • Skills test. A driver has to take a skills test that includes a vehicle inspection examination to show that he or she knows whether his commercial vehicle is safe to drive; and a basic control test to determine whether he or she can control the vehicle.
  • On-road test. The driving test requires the individual to drive his commercial truck or bus safely in a variety of on-road situations. This could include making left and right turns, driving near railroad crossings, navigating curves, and traveling on the highway.
  • Medical certification. Many prospective commercial vehicle drivers are required to provide certification from an examining doctor indicating they are medically fit to drive a bus or truck.

Commercial Driver’s License Disqualifications

Truck and bus drivers can be disqualified from holding a commercial driver’s license in Missouri by their actions. Some reasons include:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04 percent or more
  • Refusing BAC testing
  • Driving when under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Leaving the scene of the accident involving a commercial vehicle
  • Committing a felony while using a truck or bus
  • Driving with a suspended commercial driver’s license
  • Causing a fatality in a commercial vehicle accident
  • Committing serious traffic violations, such as speeding in excess of 15 mph above the limit, reckless driving, and erratic lane changes
  • Violating an out-of-service order by driving a truck or bus when it was in need of repairs

Have You Been Injured In A Truck Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a tractor trailer accident you need to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.