People who drive specialized vehicles on the streets and highways of the United States must have a commercial driver's license. To obtain it, applicants must meet certain basic requirements and then go through physical tests, knowledge tests and finally a driving test. If you want to know how to obtain this license in New Jersey, read the following steps.
Step 1. Make sure you meet the minimum requirements to obtain a commercial driver's license in New Jersey
Before obtaining it, you must meet the following standards:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Have at least 20/40 of sight in each eye, with or without corrective lenses.
- Have a New Jersey Class D driver's license. You cannot have an out-of-state driver's license when applying for a commercial driver's license in New Jersey.
- Be able to distinguish the colors red, green and amber.
- Be physically approved by a physician.
- You cannot have had a license revoked, denied or suspended or have received a conviction for driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol in the last two years.
- Have paid the required fee to obtain a commercial driver's license in New Jersey.
Step 2. Get the required identification materials
New Jersey's 6-point identification program ensures the identity of all applicants. They must show primary and secondary documents issued by the state, which according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission add up to 6 points.
- Primary documents: civil birth certificate and United States passports are worth 4 points to obtain the identification requirement. Civil marriage certificates are worth 3 points.
- Secondary Documents: Most of the other documents listed here are worth 1 point: New Jersey class D driver's license, a bank statement, or a water, electricity or telephone bill that is no older than 90 days.
- Payment: After submitting the necessary documents to the motor vehicle commission, you will have to pay a non-refundable fee to obtain the permit. This fee covers your background check, administrative costs, and testing.
Step 3. Apply to obtain any of the ratings for the type of commercial vehicle you plan to drive
The ratings are special qualifications whose designations are letters depending on the case.
- H: Hazardous materials. This requires a specialized training program and a license plate stating that the vehicle is carrying hazardous materials.
- L: For trucks equipped with air brakes.
- N: Tanker trucks that transport large amounts of liquids or gases.
- Q: Buses that carry passengers. This type requires a special test drive and registration of your fingerprints.
- S: For school bus drivers.
- T: Double or triple trailer vehicles.
Step 4. Prepare for the commercial driver's license tests that you must pass before obtaining it
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission requires applicants to pass knowledge (written) exams and driving tests before becoming licensed.
- Knowledge Test - These tests cover the rules and regulations that commercial vehicle drivers need to know. The tests are done at the Regional Service Center or Driving Test Center and often include an eye exam. No appointment is necessary. Brochures covering all test materials are available at these locations. A minimum of 80% is required to pass the knowledge test.
- Driving Test - Applicants must pass the knowledge and vision tests before making an appointment for the driving test. The test drive covers the basics of vehicle inspection, driving in normal traffic conditions, and performing required maneuvers based on the type of vehicle you plan to drive. Applicants must bring their own vehicle for the test drive.
Step 5. Determine the classification of the commercial vehicle you plan to drive
Business licenses have 3 classes: A, B and C. Each class is for each type of vehicle.
- Class A: Class A licenses are for all tractor trailers, the combined weight of which exceeds 11,800 kg (26,000 pounds), as long as the total weight of the vehicle being towed exceeds 4,500 kg (10,000 pounds). Those who have a class A license can drive vehicles of another class, as long as they have the necessary ratings.
- Class B: The biggest difference between the Class A license and the Class B license is the weight of the trailer. The Class B license limits the weight of the trailer to less than 4,500 kg (10,000 pounds) while the total weight can exceed 11,800 kg (26,000 pounds). Drivers with a Class B license can drive Class C vehicles as long as they have the appropriate ratings.
- Class C: This type allows drivers to transport hazardous materials in a vehicle weighing less than 11,800 kg (26,000 pounds), buses carrying 16 or more people, school buses carrying fewer than 15 people including the driver, or personnel transport vehicles that carry 8 to 15 passengers.
- Drivers of certain types of vehicles are exempt from the commercial driver's license requirements. This includes emergency personnel who operate ambulances or fire trucks, taxi drivers, armed forces personnel who drive military vehicles, construction workers who use equipment that is not designed for use on the streets, drivers of recreational vehicles, and farmers who transport goods within a 150 mile radius of your home.
- You must be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial vehicle on New Jersey state highways. Minor drivers are also prohibited from transporting hazardous materials or passenger vehicles.
- If you obtain a commercial driver's license in a state other than New Jersey, you can transfer it. You will have to go through physical and vision exams, you will have a background check and you will have to pay a fee.
- If your CDL is lost or stolen, you can get a new one for a fee. You will need to go through a 6-step identity verification process before obtaining a replacement license.