Types of Commercial Driver’s Licenses in Florida
Paul Brannon | July 7, 2023 | Florida Law
Individuals driving trucks, buses, and other commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL). The person must pass vigorous written and driving tests to obtain their CDL. The purpose of requiring a special driver’s license to operate large trucks is to improve highway safety.
Requirements for a Florida Commercial Driver’s License
Florida’s commercial driver’s license requirements comply with federal uniform standards for CDLs. A person must be over 18 years old, have an Operator’s License, and pass tests for vision, knowledge, and skills. If the person is under 21 years old, they are restricted to operating a truck within Florida only.
Florida has three classes of commercial driver’s licenses:
Class A Commercial Driver’s License
A Class A CDL is required to drive trucks and combinations with weights of 26,001 pounds or more and that can tow a unit or vehicle weighing over 10,000 pounds.
The knowledge test consists of four parts to test your knowledge about general information, combination vehicles, air brakes, and requested endorsements. The skills test includes an on-road test, basic vehicle control, and pre-trip vehicle inspection.
Class B Commercial Driver’s License
A Class B CDL is required to drive straight trucks and buses with a weight of 26,001 pounds or more. The knowledge and skills tests contain the same sections, except the knowledge test does not include a section related to combination vehicles.
Class C Commercial Driver’s License
A Class C CDL is required to drive trucks carrying hazardous materials or buses with 16 or more people with a gross weight of less than 26,001 pounds. The knowledge and skills tests contain the same sections as the Class B tests.
Endorsements Available for Florida Commercial Driver’s Licenses
A truck driver can obtain an endorsement for their commercial driver’s license. The endorsement allows the driver to operate specific vehicles or carry certain loads. You must pass specialized knowledge tests to obtain a CDL endorsement.
The CDL endorsements available in Florida are:
- Placarded Hazmat (H) – Required to operate commercial motor vehicles transporting hazardous materials that require a special placard. Examples include explosives, combustible materials, and flammable liquids.
- Tank Vehicles (N) – Required to operate tank vehicles that transport liquefied gas or liquids.
- Passengers (P) – Required to drive a vehicle transporting more than 15 people.
- School Bus (S) – Required to operate school buses for children in pre-primary, elementary, and secondary schools.
- Double/Triple Trailers (T) – Required to operate trucks with two or three trailers. However, triple trailers are not permitted on Florida roads.
- Combination H & N Endorsements (X) – Required to drive a tank vehicle transporting hazardous materials.
Endorsements are required because additional knowledge and skills are required to operate trucks with these specific characteristics. The goal is to ensure drivers have the training to operate large trucks safely to avoid causing truck accidents. Unfortunately, requiring commercial driver’s licenses does not eliminate truck accidents.
Common Causes of Truck Crashes in Fort Walton Beach, FL
In 2021, there were over 523,750 accidents involving large trucks. The traffic deaths caused by large truck accidents increased by 17 percent. Injuries from large truck crashes increased by nine percent.
Causes of commercial truck accidents include:
- Inexperienced or inadequately trained truck drivers
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Drowsy and tired driving
- Improper lane changes and turns
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Improper truck maintenance and repairs
- Defective truck parts
- Overloaded trucks and failing to secure cargo
Truck drivers cause trucking accidents. However, other motorists can cause or contribute to the cause of crashes. Poor road conditions and defectively designed roads can sometimes contribute to a truck accident.
What Damages Can I Recover for a Fort Walton Beach Truck Accident?
The truth is that safety measures and CDL requirements do not eliminate all truck accidents. Government measures work to reduce the risk of large truck crashes, but they are far from perfect.
- Past and future medical bills
- Ongoing skilled nursing care
- Lost wages and benefits
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Rehabilitative therapies
- Diminished earning capacity
- A decrease in quality of life
- Impairments and disabilities
- Physical pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Disfigurement and scarring
The damages in a truck accident case could total millions of dollars. These personal injury cases are incredibly complex and often require numerous experts to assist with the case. The best way to protect your right to a fair settlement or jury verdict is to hire a Fort Walton Beach truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. It takes time to investigate and pursue truck accident claims.
Contact a Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyer To Sort It All Out for You
Florida law on negligent infliction of emotional distress is confusing and rapidly evolving. If you have a significant claim, or if you think you might have a significant claim, contact a Fort Walton Beach personal injury lawyer to schedule a free initial consultation.
You are under no obligation to hire the lawyer just because you scheduled a consultation. If the lawyer offers to represent you, however, you can be fairly confident that they believe they can win your case. After all, under the contingency fee system, personal injury lawyers aren’t paid unless they secure compensation for you.
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547