REA’s Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Test Prep Puts You in the Driver’s Seat!
Updated 6th Edition
Looking to get your CDL and start a new and profitable career? REA can get you headed in the right direction! Commercial drivers are in high demand across the United States, and a high score on the CDL vastly improves your chances for landing the job you want.
This updated sixth edition of our top-selling test prep offers complete preparation for both the bus and truck driver licensing exams.
Based on the current CDL exams, REA’s Commercial Driver's License test prep focuses on what you need to know. Easy-to-follow review chapters cover all the topics tested on the exams, including:
· General Knowledge
· Passenger Transport
· Combination Vehicles
· Hazardous Materials
· School Bus
· Air Brakes
· Metal Coil
Checklists, diagrams, and definitions of must-know terms help reinforce your knowledge and skills as you study.
This complete CDL test prep package features the latest information on the testing and licensing requirements in all 50 states. Learn the facts about the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Rules, and Licensing, so you’ll be well informed on the rules of the road.
The book contains 9 practice tests that cover the entire scope of the CDL exams. Each practice test comes complete with detailed answer explanations. Unlike other test preps, we don’t just say which answers are right, we explain why the other choices are wrong, giving you the context and confidence that will give you a valuable edge on test day.
REA’s CDL test prep is a must for anyone preparing for this career-building exam!
About the Author
Author Matt Mosher is a third-generation trucker with more than 450,000 safe-driving miles behind him. He currently teaches the rules of the road to students at the Sage Truck Driving School. Contributing editor John Allen is a versatile test-prep author whose books for REA include category best-sellers for professional certification and admission exams.
Read an Excerpt
Getting a CDL
This Chapter Covers
 The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act
All drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) in the United States are required to have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). 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 License Knowledge Tests. The third part reviews the material that will be on the Commercial Driver License Skills Tests. Finally, the fourth part contains one General Knowledge practice test, one practice test for each of the Endorsement Tests and the Air Brakes Test. All of these tests are representative of the actual Commercial Driver License Knowledge Tests in both content and format.
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, you can find out how well prepared you are for the actual Commercial Driver's License Exam.
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act
Congress passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act on October 26, 1986. The purpose of the Safety Act is to help reduce or prevent truck and bus accidents, deaths, and injuries. It does this 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 federal law, each state must have 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 license classifications:
Class A – Any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (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
Federal law requires each state to have the same minimum standards for the licensing of commercial drivers. These standards include the following:
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 vehicle safely. If a driver wants to operate a commercial vehicle in the U.S. with a maximum GVWR of over 10,000 pounds in interstate commerce, he or she must pass a physical examination from a certified medical examiner that is listed on the National Registry, and obtain and maintain a medical examiner's certificate. The medical certificate normally is valid for 2 years. Your medical exam is transmitted and stored electronically in the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS).
Under the recently enacted FAST Act, military veterans are allowed to have their physical done by a qualified Veterans Administration physician, instead of a physician on the National Registry.
Drivers are required to submit a "self-certification" to their state driver's licensing agency (SDLA), declaring their intention to drive commercially in 1 of 4 possible categories. This information is added to the driver's CDLIS record.
In some cases, CMV drivers cannot obtain a medical card because they fail to meet the DOT medical requirements regarding vision, hearing, diabetes, or physical impairment. The FMCSA lets such drivers apply for exemptions that enable them to keep driving. FMCSA exemptions apply only to CMV drivers who drive interstate (from one state to another state or foreign country). To find out your state's requirements for exemptions with regard to intrastate driving (within a state), contact your SDLA.
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 noncommercial purposes.
* 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.
Other important Safety Act rules included in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act are listed on pages 13 and 14.
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
You must pass one or more of the Knowledge Tests depending on the class of license you are seeking and the endorsements you need. The Knowledge Tests include the General Knowledge test, Endorsement Tests, and the Air Brakes Test. This may seem like a lot, but don't worry. Most drivers only have to take three or four tests. Each of the Knowledge Tests is 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 to drive.
The Endorsement Tests
Each Endorsement Test evaluates your knowledge of a particular type of Commercial Motor Vehicle. If you drive or plan to drive one of the specialized vehicles listed below, you must take the corresponding Endorsement Test:
If you want to drive ... you must take the ...
a passenger bus PASSENGER TRANSPORT TEST a combination or Class A vehicle COMBINATION VEHICLES TEST any vehicle that hauls hazardous materials or waste HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TEST any vehicle designed to haul liquids in bulk TANK VEHICLES TEST a tractor pulling double or triple trailers DOUBLES/TRIPLES TEST a school bus SCHOOL BUS TEST
For each Endorsement Test that you take and pass, you will receive a special marking, or endorsement, on your CDL. This marking will indicate to others that you are qualified, or authorized, to drive that particular type of commercial motor vehicle. (New York has a separateendorsement for Metal Coil, which is required for hauling metal coil in that state.)
NOTE To earn a School Bus Endorsement, you must first pass the test for Passenger Transport.
The Air Brakes Test
The Air Brakes Test must be taken if you drive or plan to drive any Commercial Motor Vehicle equipped with air brakes. Unlike the Endorsement Tests, however, the Air Brakes Test works as a restriction rather than an endorsement. If you fail the Air Brakes Test or take the Skills Test in a vehicle not equipped with air brakes, your CDL will bear a mark of restriction. This restriction mark will indicate to others that you are not qualified, or are unauthorized, to drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle with air brakes.
(For more information on how Endorsements and the Air Brakes Restriction will appear on your CDL, see "What will my Commercial Driver License look like?" in this chapter on page 11.)
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 motorcycle license.
What will the CDL Knowledge Tests be like?
All Knowledge Tests are multiple-choice, and each question has four answer choices. For the majority of the questions on each test, you will be required to do one of the following:
Complete a sentence.
EXAMPLE: When looking ahead of your vehicle while driving you should look
(A) to the left side of the road. (C) straight ahead at all times.
Answer a simple question.
EXAMPLE: What should you do when your vehicle hydroplanes?
(A) Accelerate slightly (C) Release the accelerator
Answer the question "Which of the following ...?"
EXAMPLE: Which of the following is a good thing to remember when crossing traffic in a heavy vehicle?
(A) Because heavy vehicles are easy to see, you can count on other drivers to move out of your way or slow down for you.
(B) Heavy vehicles need larger gaps in traffic than cars.
(C) The best way to cross traffic is to pull the vehicle partway across the road and block one lane while waiting for the other to clear.
(D) The heavier your load, the smaller the gap needed to cross traffic.
A smaller number of the questions on each test require you to:
Fill in the blank,
EXAMPLE: The driver must be able to see a warning before air pressure in the service air tanks falls below _____ psi.
(A) 40 (C) 60
Use a diagram or illustration to answer.
EXAMPLE: When you are driving a truck/bus that cannot make a right turn without swinging into another lane, which diagram shows the correct path you should follow?
No matter what the question type, each question will have only one correct answer. You may, however, find questions that include "all of the above" or "none of the above" as answer choices.
You will probably be asked to mark your answer choices for each test on an answer sheet that is separate from the test itself. The answer sheet will most likely require you to darken the circle or oval of the correct answer choice. This preparation guide uses such answer sheets. Be aware, however, that each state is allowed to format its own answer sheet. The CDL test(s) you actually take may have a slightly different design from the practice tests included in this book.
How many questions will be on the test and how can I score a passing grade?
The Knowledge Tests vary in the number of questions asked. No matter what test you are taking, you must answer 80% of the questions correctly to receive a passing grade. If you do not get 80% of the questions correct, you will fail the test and you will have to take it again. Below is a chart listing the number of questions on each test according to the Motor Vehicle Administrator's MODEL Test. The chart also lists the number of questions you must answer correctly in order to pass.
KNOWLEDGE TEST # OF QUESTIONS 80% CORRECT
The same number of questions can be expected on the Knowledge Tests in your home state. However, the United States Department of Transportation does allow states to modify the CDL Test. Therefore, the General Knowledge Test may ask as few as 30 questions, and the Endorsement Tests and the Air Brakes Test can contain from 20 to 30 questions each.
All the practice tests in this preparation guide — except Hazardous Materials — have more than the required number of questions in order to give you extra practice. The explanations that follow the answer key for each test clearly explain why one answer choice is correct, and why the other answer choices are incorrect. The chart on the following page lists the number of questions on each of the practice tests in this book, as well as the number of questions you would need to answer correctly in order to receive a passing grade:
PRACTICE TEST # OF QUESTIONS 80% CORRECT
GENERAL KNOWLEDGE TEST 100 80 PASSENGER TRANSPORT TEST 30 24 COMBINATION VEHICLES TEST 30 24 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TEST 30 24 TANK VEHICLES TEST 30 24 DOUBLES/TRIPLES TEST 30 24 SCHOOL BUS TEST 25 20 AIR BRAKES TEST 30 24 METAL COIL TEST (NY ONLY) 25 20
Will guessing help me?
Since both incorrect answers and answer spaces left blank are counted as wrong, it is in your best interest to guess when you are unsure. Even if you really have no idea what the correct answer is, you at least have a chance of answering correctly if you guess, rather than leave an answer space blank. In general, you won't be any worse off by guessing since it is likely that you will answer correctly some of the questions you are unsure of.
In order to improve your chances of guessing correctly, try to immediately eliminate the answer choices you recognize as wrong and focus only on the choices that remain. Ruling out two or three choices in a question will increase your chances of choosing the correct answer and will, therefore, help to raise your score.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "CDL Commercial Driver's License Exam"
Copyright © 2011 Research & Education Association, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of Research & Education Association.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Letter from the Author, iii,
About REA, ix,
PART I — INTRODUCTION,
CHAPTER 1 Getting a CDL, 3,
PART II — CDL KNOWLEDGE TESTS REVIEW,
CHAPTER 2 Driving Safely, 23,
CHAPTER 3 Transporting Cargo Safely, 87,
CHAPTER 4 Transporting Passengers, 93,
CHAPTER 5 Air Brakes, 99,
CHAPTER 6 Combination Vehicles, 113,
CHAPTER 7 Doubles and Triples, 129,
CHAPTER 8 Tank Vehicles, 135,
CHAPTER 9 Hazardous Materials, 141,
CHAPTER 10 School Buses, 175,
CHAPTER 11 Metal Coil, 185,
PART III — CDL SKILLS TEST REVIEW,
CHAPTER 12 The Skills Tests, 199,
Part IV — PRACTICE TESTS,
General Knowledge Test,
The Passenger Transport Test,
The Air Brakes Test,
The Combination Vehicles Test,
The Doubles/Triples Test,
The Tanker Test,
The Hazardous Materials Test,
The School Bus Test,
Metal Coil Test,
CDL Contacts by State, 351,