CDL Licensing Requirements

Los Angeles Attorneys Helping Truck Accident Victims

Drivers of tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks must have a commercial driver's license. Generally, driving a commercial vehicle requires more skill and knowledge than driving a non-commercial automobile, due to the weight and size of these vehicles and their potential to cause serious injuries. To obtain a commercial driver's license, a truck driver needs to pass certain tests and submit to medical testing. In some cases, a failure to live up to CDL licensing requirements may result in an accident. When a CDL holder commits a serious traffic violation, they may not be able to keep their license. At Sharifi Firm, our Los Angeles truck accident lawyers help people injured by negligent truck drivers and trucking companies seek compensation.

Holding Truckers Accountable for Violations of CDL Licensing Requirements

Most drivers need to obtain a commercial driver's license through their own home state, and drivers may not have licenses from more than one state. If a driver plans to carry hazardous materials, a tank, or double or triple trailers, it may be necessary to obtain a special endorsement. In order to apply, a driver must be at least 18 years old, and for certain endorsements, such as driving across state lines, you need to be a minimum of 21 years old.

There are three classes of commercial driver's licenses, and each of these may have endorsements to permit specialized qualifications for certain vehicles like tractor-trailers or school buses. Each of these different classes and endorsements may require you to pass both skills and written tests.

The three classifications are Class A, Class B, and Class C. A Class A license is required to operate a combination of vehicles that weigh a minimum of 26,001 pounds, including a towed vehicle over 10,000 pounds. With this license, a driver may be able to obtain endorsements to drive tractor-trailers or tankers. A Class B license is required to operate a single commercial vehicle weighing at least 26,001 pounds or towing a vehicle with a GVWR of at most 10,000 pounds. With this class of license and the correct endorsement, a driver may operate a city bus or delivery truck. A Class C license must be obtained to operate a commercial vehicle that does not meet the definitions of Class A or B and either carries a minimum of 16 passengers or carries hazardous materials. A Class C license entitles a driver to drive a school bus or HAZMAT vehicle.

In California, a truck driver's employer will be notified of accidents or driving offenses resulting in convictions, as well as suspensions during enrollment and annually from the date of enrollment. A trucking company has a duty to remove drivers who get into accidents, drive unsafely, or have their licenses suspended. Unfortunately, some trucking companies do not take this obligation seriously or put profits ahead of safety. A trucking company may be held directly or vicariously liable for a truck accident.

For example, a trucking company that fails to ensure that a driver continues to maintain their commercial driver's license could be held liable for negligent supervision. This is a form of direct liability. A trucking company may also be held vicariously or indirectly liable for a driver who continues to drive on a suspended license and then gets into an accident that results in injuries. Vicarious liability is a derivative form of liability in which an employer will only be responsible if the employee is in the course and scope of employment when they commit a negligent act or omission.

Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in the Los Angeles Area

At Sharifi Firm, APC, our experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries after an accident caused by a truck driver's failure to abide by CDL licensing requirements. Not all personal injury attorneys understand these requirements or the FMCSA regulations that truck drivers and their employers must follow. Our firm does. Contact us online or call us at 1-866-422-7222 to set up a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney. We also represent victims in Riverside, Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and San Bernardino, among other Southern California cities.


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