Types of Commercial Driver’s Licenses in Texas
April 17, 2023 | Texas Law
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) makes it clear that operating a commercial motor vehicle requires someone to have special training and skills. A commercial driver’s license allows a person to operate large commercial vehicles on public roadways. Commercial motor vehicles haul goods and materials, but they also include buses to transport people.
Federal law authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to set minimum standards for obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Texas has three classes of CDLs that a person may obtain based on the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or the number of people the vehicle can transport.
Class A Texas Commercial Driver’s License
With a Class A CDL, you can operate a vehicle or any combination of vehicles with a combined rating for gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or higher. However, the GVWR of the towed vehicle or vehicles must be more than 10,000 pounds.
Class B Texas Commercial Driver’s License
With a Class B CDL, you can operate a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, towing a vehicle that does not have a GVWR over 10,000 pounds. You can also drive a vehicle transporting 24 passengers or more.
Class C Texas Commercial Driver’s License
With a Class C CDL, you can operate a single vehicle or combination of vehicles that do not meet the specifications of a Class A or Class B vehicle. However, this is only true if the vehicle transports 16 to 23 people or is used to transport hazardous materials.
Obtaining Endorsements for a Texas Commercial Driver’s License
Truck drivers must have specific license endorsements to carry specific loads or operate specific vehicles. Additional testing is required to obtain the endorsements. CDL endorsements available in Texas are:
- S Endorsement – School buses
- N Endorsement – Tank vehicles to transport liquefied gaseous or liquid materials
- T Endorsement – Double or triple trailers
- P Endorsement – Vehicles that carry a specific number of passengers
- H Endorsement – Transport hazardous materials
- X Endorsement – A combination of the N and H endorsements to transport hazardous materials in a tank vehicle
Before applying for endorsements, you must have your commercial driver’s license. In some cases, you might be required to have a commercial learner’s permit for 14 days for the specific endorsement before you can add the endorsement to your CDL.
What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a Texas Commercial Driver’s License?
Before applying for a CDL in Texas, you must apply for a commercial learner’s permit. You must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Texas with a valid Texas driver’s license. You must also present the required documents for your identity, Social Security Number, medical status, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration.
You must also:
- Complete the required courses
- Pass a vision test
- Provide your thumbprints
- Have your picture taken
- Pay the application fee
- Pass the knowledge tests for the vehicle class and any endorsements
After you have held your CLP for at least 14 days, you can schedule a driving test to obtain your commercial driver’s license. The driving test consists of a road test, a basic vehicle control test, and a pre-trip test.
Why Is It Important for Texas Truck Drivers to Have Specialized Training and Skills?
A commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The average passenger vehicle weighs about 4,500 pounds. Therefore, a large truck slamming into a passenger vehicle could be catastrophic for the occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Strict regulations require truck drivers to have training and special skills before operating a commercial vehicle. The training should prepare the truck driver to operate the vehicle safely, thereby reducing the risk of truck accidents.
Unfortunately, truck accidents are common. Texas has the highest number of large truck accident fatalities in the United States. In 2020, large trucks were involved in 622 fatal crashes in Texas.
Non-fatal truck accident injuries often result in permanent impairments and disabilities. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe burns
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones and fractures
- Chest injuries
- Crushing injuries
The economic and non-economic damages caused by a truck accident can be significant. Accident victims may never work again and/or require continuous care for the rest of their lives.
When a truck driver causes an accident, the driver and the trucking company could be liable for damages. However, truck accident cases are complex personal injury claims. They often involve multiple parties, giant corporations, and insurance companies.
Proving fault for a truck accident can be challenging. An experienced San Antonio truck accident lawyer has the resources to investigate your claim and fight the trucking company for the money you deserve for your injuries and damages. Contact the attorneys at George Salinas Injury Lawyers to explore your options.
Contact The San Antonio Truck Accident Attorneys from George Salinas Injury Lawyers
If you were injured in an accident in San Antonio, TX, please contact our San Antonio truck accident lawyers at George Salinas Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We serve all throughout Bexar County and the surrounding areas.