Jason Stephens | October 6, 2022 | Truck Accidents
According to the Texas Comptroller, there are approximately 200,000 commercial truck vehicles in Texas – more than in any other state. Additionally, 82% of Texas communities depend exclusively on trucks for needed products. These truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rules to obtain one.
If you were hurt in a truck accident in Texas, the driver’s license and endorsement (or lack thereof) might affect your claim. An experienced truck accident lawyer can gather information about the commercial driver’s background and determine whether they had the proper type of license and endorsement to drive the vehicle that caused the accident.
What Is a Commercial Driver’s License?
A commercial driver’s license is a special type of license that gives someone the right to drive commercial motor vehicles, such as tractor-trailers and passenger buses. There are three classes of CDLs. The particular type of license that a person needs to operate a vehicle of this nature depends on the weight and type of vehicle.
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act requires all drivers of commercial motor vehicles to have a CDL. This law seeks to ensure that drivers of large or passenger vehicles are highly trained and qualified.
Types of Commercial Driver’s Licenses
There are three main types of commercial driver’s licenses:
Class A License
A Class A CDL is necessary to drive a truck and trailer with a weight of more than 26,000 pounds if the towed vehicle weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
With a Class A license, a person can operate:
- Big rigs
- 18 wheelers
- Semi-trucks with trailers
- Tanker vehicles
- Livestock carriers
Under additional legislation that became effective on February 7, 2022, applicants seeking to obtain a Class A or B license must successfully complete training from a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-approved training provider.
Class B License
A Class B CDL is necessary to operate any single-vehicle commercial that weighs more than 26,000 pounds or that is hitched to a trailer that weighs less than 10,000 pounds. This type of license is also necessary to operate a passenger vehicle such as a city bus.
With a Class B license, a driver can operate vehicles such as:
- City buses
- Tourist buses
- School buses
- Box trucks
- Delivery trucks
- Dump trucks
You will also require an endorsement if you’re transporting passengers or operating a school bus.
Class C License
A Class C CDL is necessary to operate a single vehicle that weighs less than 26,001 pounds, a vehicle towing another vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds, or a vehicle that transports 15 or more passengers plus the driver.
A driver needs a Class C CDL to operate vehicles such as:
- Double trailers
- Tanker trucks
- Hazardous materials vehicles
Next, we explain the different types of endorsements you can get.
Types of Endorsements To Operate Commercial Vehicles
In addition to different types of commercial drivers’ licenses, a truck driver may require a special endorsement to operate certain types of motor vehicles or transport certain materials.
Endorsements might include:
- H – Necessary to transport hazardous materials
- N – Necessary to transport gases and liquids
- P – Necessary to operate a vehicle designed to transport 15 or more passengers, plus the driver
- S – Necessary to operate a school bus
- T – Necessary to haul double or triple trailers
These extra endorsements may require the driver to pass a written test, driving test, and/or federal background check.
Obtaining the right type of CDL and endorsement is only the first step in operating a commercial motor vehicle. Truck drivers or companies may be negligent if they fail to drive in a safe manner, do not check their loads before transporting them, or do not maintain the vehicle in a safe manner. If you were hurt in a truck accident, reach out to an experienced truck accident lawyer for help.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth truck accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107