Jill Kolodner | August 21, 2022 | Truck Accidents
The type of commercial driver’s license a truck driver has may impact your truck accident case. The license may dictate the applicable trucking regulations, the professional standards the driver must adhere to, and certain safety precautions that should be in place when driving certain types of vehicles.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for establishing rules regarding obtaining and maintaining commercial driver’s licenses.
If you were hurt in a truck accident, an experienced truck accident lawyer can investigate whether the at-fault truck driver had the appropriate type of commercial driver’s license. An attorney can also evaluate whether the driver or trucking company that hired the driver violated relevant regulations that contributed to the accident.
Classes of Commercial Driver’s Licenses
There are different types of classes of commercial driver’s licenses, depending on the gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating, and the substances being transported.
A Class A CDL is required when the truck and trailer weigh over 26,000, and the towed vehicle weighs over 10,000 pounds. Tanker vehicles, livestock carriers, and flatbed trucks require a Class A license.
A Class B CDL is required when the truck and trailer weigh over 26,000 pounds, and the towed vehicle weighs less than 10,000 pounds or when transporting passengers.
Common types of vehicles that require a Class B CDL include:
- City bus
- Tourist bus
- Passenger bus
- Box truck
- Dump truck
While some bus drivers must have a Class B CDL, they may have to have a Class C CDL, depending on the number of passengers they transport.
Along with operating a vehicle designed to transport 15+ passengers, a Class C CDL is required to transport federally-classified hazardous materials, which include:
- Flammable liquids
- Explosive, radioactive, poisonous, or corrosive materials
These substances can be dangerous if they spill onto the roadway or another vehicle collides with them, so drivers of these vehicles must be especially careful.
Truck drivers may also need certain endorsements in order to operate certain types of commercial motor vehicles. Truck drivers may have to pass a written and/or driving test to obtain an endorsement. Additionally, truck drivers may have to pass a federal background check before they can obtain certain types of endorsements.
Some of the most common endorsements include:
An H endorsement is required to transport hazardous materials.
Tanker truck drivers who transport gases and liquids must obtain an N endorsement.
The “P” endorsement stands for passengers. It is necessary for drivers who operate vehicles designed to transport 15 or more passengers to obtain this type of endorsement.
S endorsements are necessary for school bus drivers to operate these vehicles legally.
A T endorsement is necessary if the driver is hauling double or triple trailers.
An X endorsement is necessary when a tanker truck driver is hauling hazardous materials.
How an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help After a Collision With a Commercial Vehicle
If you were hurt in a truck accident, a truck accident attorney can determine which type of license the at-fault driver was supposed to have and how that impacts your case. The truck driver may have been operating the vehicle illegally, which may indicate other safety shortcuts they or the company they worked for made. A lawyer can explain your legal rights and options during a free, no-obligation consultation.