What Are Truck Driver Training Requirements?

Commercial trucks are large industrial machines that travel on the same roads as the passenger vehicles we drive daily. Truck drivers must complete specific to acquire a license to operate a commercial truck. This training is to help truck drivers safely maneuver their vehicles on the roads. A collision involving a commercial truck generates a tremendous amount of force, and the consequences can be devastating when the accident occurs between a truck and a car.

Types of Commercial Licenses and Vehicles

There are three main categories of commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) which are called classes. These classifications are based on the weight of the vehicle and whether the truck is considered a single vehicle or a combination, such as a tractor-trailer. Essentially, these classes permit the driver to operate the following vehicle types:

  • Class A CDL — Tractor-trailer (also called an 18-wheeler, semi, or big rig), tanker trucks, flatbed trucks, and livestock carriers
  • Class B CDL — Large buses, straight trucks (single vehicles), box trucks, and dump trucks
  • Class C CDL — Passenger vans, small hazardous material (HazMat) trucks, and other commercial vehicles that don’t require a Class A or Class B CDL

Generally, holding a Class B CDL allows the license holder to also operate Class C vehicles. Similarly, a Class A CDL allows the license holder to operate most Class B and C vehicles.

Basic Requirements to Obtain a CDL in Minnesota

In order to obtain a CDL in Minnesota, a person must satisfy certain requirements. Among other things, a potential CDL holder must:

  • Be at least 18 years old to operate a commercial vehicle within the state of Minnesota
  • Be at least 21 years old to operate a commercial vehicle across state lines or to operate a HazMat vehicle
  • Have a valid Minnesota driver’s license
  • Provide citizenship documentation
  • Provide a current medical examiner certificate and submit a self-certification form
  • Be able to read and speak English well enough to read road signs

If a prospective truck driver meets the requirements, they can apply to receive instruction from a registered training provider.

Knowledge and Skills Testing

In February 2022, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a mandate to standardize truck driver training. This is called Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT), and it is meant to ensure uniform skills for new drivers regardless of the state where they obtain their CDL.

ELDT includes a specific training curriculum as well as both written tests and skills tests. The instruction involves a variety of topics, such as:

  • Vehicle inspections
  • Safe operating procedures
  • Hours of service requirements
  • Fatigue awareness
  • Post-crash procedures
  • Drug and alcohol rules
  • Hazard perception

Once a person passes the applicable knowledge tests, they can apply for a commercial learner permit (CLP). This allows them to practice driving a commercial vehicle in the company of a licensed driver.

After holding a CLP for at least 14 days, a prospective truck driver is allowed to take the remainder of the required testing. This includes pre-trip, skills, and road exams. Upon passing these, the prospective driver is issued a CDL.

Do I Need a Lawyer If I Was in a Truck Accident?

The process of pursuing compensation after a truck accident is complex. There will likely be multiple parties involved. The truck driver might have caused the accident, but it could have resulted from a faulty part on the truck, in which case the manufacturer or maintenance company could be at fault. Something else could have caused the crash. There will be a significant amount of evidence to collect and analyze. Your lawyer can perform an investigation to determine what happened and who is at fault.

You may be tempted to think that you can save money by not hiring an attorney. However, the opposite is usually true. Trucking companies and insurance companies will have legal teams ready to defend them. Their goal is to reduce liability for their clients so they can pay out as little money as possible. You need an experienced lawyer to build a strong case for you. It’s important to choose an attorney who knows how to get results.

Contact Robert Wilson & Associates Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a truck that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to receive compensation. Speak with an experienced truck accident attorney about your case as soon as possible. You should not have to be financially responsible for someone else’s mistake.

Call us today at (612) 334-3444 to speak with a Minneapolis personal injury attorney from Robert Wilson & Associates. You can also submit a contact form online, and we will be in touch. Our lawyers are ready to take over your case so you can focus on your recovery. Call us now.