Read an Excerpt
FROM THE AUTHOR
If you are preparing to take the Commercial Driver’s License Exam, you’ve purchased
the right book. Although there is an enormous amount of information that you must know,
we’ve organized this book in order to make your studying as easyand effectiveas possible.
I’ve had more than 450,000 safe miles driving vans, tankers, flatbed, and a variety of
other trucks and trailers. But even more than that, I grew up in the business. My father and his
father before him were both truckers. It’s in my blood. And now I teach others the “rules of the
road” so to speak. In working on this book, I tried to keep in mind what my students over the
years have needed to know in order to do well on the exam, and I’ve included all of the basics
and the latest requirements for the various sections of the test.
You’ll find that this book is divided into easy-to-use sections.
Part I is the Introduction, where you will be introduced to the basics of the CDL Exam,
including the Exemptions, the various tests, and Safety Act rules.
Part II is the review section, where we cover all of the information that will be covered
by the tests. This is the material that you have to know in order to do well on the exam. We’ve
even included the new Metal Coil test that is currently in effect in a few states, and may likely
be included in other state tests over time. You might as well be prepared.
Part III is the CDL Skills Test Review where you will cover those skills that are
required for the actual Road Test.
Part IV features the Practice Knowledge Tests. I think this is an important part of your
preparation for the exam. It’s been proven that the more questions you answer before you take
the actual exam, the better you will ultimately do on the final test. If you have enough time to
prepare, take each test on separate days and take them in a quiet room, under simulated test
conditions. When you’re done, check your answers and then read the explanations. This is very
important in order to assure that you really understand the material and aren’t just guessing. If
you still have more questions, or anything is unclear, go back to the review material and reread
the appropriate sections.
At the end of the book is our CDL Directory with the up-to-date Commercial Driver’s
License contacts by state.
As you go through the book, you will find that there are some areas that may require
additional review, based on your previous knowledge or the results of the practice tests. As we
said earlier, go back to the basics, reread the review sections. By doing so, it will help build your
confidence and enable to approach the test with a positive and relaxed attitude.
Good luck on the test, and see you on the open road!
About This Book
Since April 1, 1992, all drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) in the United States
have been required to have a Commercial Driver License. In order to get this special license,
you must first take and pass the required knowledge and skills tests. Using this book correctly
will prepare you to take and pass these tests.
This book is made up of four parts. The first part introduces the Commercial Driver’s License
Exam and helps you figure out which tests you will have to take. The second part reviews the
material that will be on the Commercial Driver Licensing Knowledge Tests. The third part
reviews the material that will be on the Commercial Driver Licensing Skills Tests. Finally, the
fourth part contains one General Knowledge practice test, one practice test for each of the five
Endorsement Tests, and one Air Brakes Test. All of these tests are representative of the actual
Commercial Driver Licensing Knowledge Tests in both content and format.
Each practice test is followed by an answer key, and each correct answer is explained in
detail. We provide detailed explanations so you can see not only why one answer is right,
but also why the other answer choices are wrong. By reviewing the material for both the
Knowledge Tests and the Skills Test, taking the General Knowledge practice test and any other
practice Endorsement Tests that apply to your vehicle type, and studying the explanations of the
correct answers for the practice tests, you can find out how well you are prepared for the actual
Commercial Driver’s License Exam and what material you need to review again.
THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT OF 1986
AND THE COMMERCIAL DRIVER LICENSE
On October 26, 1986, Congress passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. The
purpose of the Safety Act is to help reduce or prevent truck and bus accidents, deaths, and injuries.
This will be done by requiring all truck and bus drivers to have a single Commercial Motor
Vehicle Driver License and by disqualifying drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles in
an unsafe manner.
By law, each state must now meet the same minimum standards for commercial driver
licensing. The standards require every person who operates a Commercial Motor Vehicle in
interstate, foreign, or intrastate commerce to get a Commercial Driver License. Once you get a
Commercial Driver License you are obligated to return to the state any and all non-CDL driver
licenses that you hold.
Classes of License:
The federal standard requires states to issue a CDL to drivers according to the following
Class A Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds provided
the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
Class B Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle
towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.
Class C Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles that does not meet the definition
of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the
driver, or is placarded for hazardous materials.
(Your state may have additional definitions of CMVs.)
Commercial Driver License Requirements
There is a federal requirement that each state has minimum standards for the licensing of
Class A You must be at least 21 years of age.
Class B and C You must be at least 18 years of age, but if under 21, you can drive a CMV only
for intrastate commerce (for example, within New York State), cannot transport students in a
school bus, and cannot transport hazardous material.
You must be able to read and speak the English language well enough to converse with other
people, understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, answer questions
from officials, and make entries on reports and records.
The federal government requires most CMV drivers to have a medical examination in
order to detect physical or mental conditions that may affect their ability to operate a motor
Driving With Your Commercial Driver Learner Permit
Your commercial driver learner permit allows you to drive a vehicle of the class and type that
matches the class and any endorsements of your permit, as long as: a driver holding a CDL of
the same or higher class with the proper endorsements accompanies you at all times.
Drivers of the following vehicles that otherwise meet the definition of a CMV are exempt from
the CDL requirement:
- A vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds, owned and controlled by a
farmer and used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm products
within 150 miles of the farm.
- A vehicle primarily designed for purposes other than the transportation of persons or
property, such as certain construction vehicles.
- Fire and police vehicles, operated by authorized personnel.
- Military vehicles when operated by members of the armed forces on active duty.
- Personal vehicles (including rental vehicles up to 26,000 pounds) when operated
strictly and exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members for
- A tow truck with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or less which tows disabled Commercial
Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds for a distance of less
than 10 miles.
THE CDL TESTS
To get a CDL you must take and pass two kinds of tests:
(1) Knowledge Tests
(2) Skills Test
The Knowledge Tests are written tests that must be taken in your home state. You should
contact your nearest Motor Vehicle Department for information regarding location, cost, time
allotment, and date of each Knowledge Test that you need to take, as these details differ from
state to state.
Once you pass the required Knowledge Tests, you may take the Skills Test. This is
an “on the road,” or driving, test that must be taken in your home state and in the type
of vehicle for which you wish to be licensed to drive. The Skills Test is usually given by
appointment only, as an examiner must be scheduled to ride with you over an approved
course. Once again, contact the nearest Motor Vehicle Department in your state of residency
for information regarding location, cost, time allotment, and appointment setup for
the Skills Test.
The Knowledge Tests
There are a total of seven Knowledge Tests: one General Knowledge test, five Endorsement
Tests, and one Air Brakes Test. This may seem like a lot, but don’t worry. Most drivers will only
have to take three or four tests. Each of the seven Knowledge Tests will be scored separately.
Which tests should I take?
The General Knowledge Test
All applicants for a CDL must take the GENERAL KNOWLEDGE TEST. This test assesses
your knowledge of the general safety rules that must be followed while driving Commercial
Motor Vehicles and while transporting cargo of all types.
In addition to the General Knowledge Test, you may have to take one or more Endorsement
Tests and/or the Air Brakes Test depending on what type of vehicle you wish to be licensed
The Endorsement Tests
There are five Endorsement Tests. Each one tests your knowledge of a particular type of
Commercial Motor Vehicle. If you drive or plan to drive one of the specialized vehicles listed,
you must take the corresponding test:
For each Endorsement Test that you take and pass, a special marking, or endorsement,
will be placed on your CDL. This marking will indicate to others that you are qualified, or
authorized, to drive that particular type of commercial motor vehicle.
NOTE: For additional assistance in determining which tests you need to take and which
sections of this book you need to study, see “How to Use This Book” at the end of this chapter.
Which class of vehicles will I be licensed to drive?
The class of vehicle (A, B, or C) that your CDL permits you to drive depends on two factors:
(1) the Endorsement Tests that you take, and (2) the class of vehicle in which you take your
Skills Test. If, once you have obtained a CDL, you wish to drive a commercial motor vehicle
from a different vehicle class than the one indicated on your CDL, you will be required to retake
and pass all related tests, except in the following situations:
A) If you have passed the Knowledge and Skills tests for a combination vehicle
(Class A), you may operate a heavy, straight vehicle (Class B) or a small vehicle
(Class C) as long as you already have the appropriate endorsements on your CDL
and your license is not restricted for air brakes.
B) If you have passed the Knowledge and Skills tests for a heavy, straight vehicle
(Class B), you may operate any small vehicle (Class C) as long as you already
have the appropriate endorsements on your CDL and your license is not restricted
for air brakes.
NOTE: To drive a motorcycle or Class A limited use motorcycle, you must have a