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Interested in Becoming a Truck Driver and Owner? Here’s an Explanation of How to Become Certified in California

Controlling a large vehicle, especially a truck, can be difficult. In California, truck drivers are required to fulfill a series of steps in order to acquire a valid California driver’s license that will allow them to operate large vehicles. In the sections below, we will discuss in further detail what the overall process is like of becoming a certified truck driver and owner.

If you have any questions in regards to a truck accident or would like to schedule a free consultation, our qualified truck accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are available 24/7 to offer legal assistance. You may reach us by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

Qualifications of Becoming a Certified Truck Driver and Owner 

To meet the qualifications of owning a truck in California, you must obtain a commercial 

learner’s permit (CLP). For the CLP:

  • You are required to be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have already obtained a valid California driver’s license. This will allow you to have the capabilities of operating a noncommercial Class C motor vehicle. Having a temporary California driver’s license is also permitted.
  • It is primarily considered valid when accompanied by the CLP holder’s California driver’s license.
  • It will be valid for up to 180 days from the initial date of the issuance and could be renewed for an additional 180 days as long as the CLP’s expiration date does not go past the 1 year period from when its initial application date was.
  • Limited to:
    • Tank (N)
    • School Bus (S)
    • Passenger (P)
  • An individual who holds a CLP that has the “N” endorsement is restricted from using a tank vehicle unless the tank is empty. It is mandatory to get rid of the tank if it previously carried hazardous substances.
  • An individual who holds a CLP that has “P” or “S” endorsement is restricted from using a CMW with passengers, excluding:
    • Federal auditors,
    • State auditors,
    • Inspectors,
    • Test examiners,
    • CL holder, and
    • Other remaining trainees.
  • An individual who holds a CLP is expected to have a 14 day minimum waiting period after the initial CLP issuance to be qualified to take a skills exam. The 14 day waiting period is applicable towards the classification upgrades along with the adjustments made to the endorsement or restrictions, which must require a skills exam.
  • Holder is expected to be accompanied by a CDL holder while they are using a CMV permit.
  • Holder needs to give up their CLP and driver’s license before they are given a CDL.

Additional requirements for commercial vehicle drivers include:

  • Being a California resident prior to applying for a California CLP or CDL.
  • Provide information on all states in which they were licensed before within the past 10 years and give up any out-of-state driver’s licenses that are either current or have expired.
  • Verify whether or not the individual has a driver’s license from more than one state or country.
  • Inform the individual’s local DMV in their home state about any convictions that have happened in other states during the 30 days of them being convicted.
  • Use the Report of Out-of-State Traffic Conviction by a Commercial Driver (DL 535) form to make a follow up on the notification of the conviction.
  • Let the employer know about the individual experiencing suspension, cancellation, revocation, or disqualification prior to the end of the business day that follows after the action.
  • Provide the individual’s employer with a 10-year employment history of commercial driving. Only do this if the individual is applying for a driving job.

Once you follow through with all of these steps provided, you will be eligible to obtain a commercial truck in California.

Apply at DMV Field Offices to Obtain Certification 

  • Ambulance Driver Certification: This is mandatory for driving an ambulance that is used commercially for emergency services. Individuals who obtain an ambulance driver certificate are required to send a copy of their MER and MEC forms to the DMV every 2 years.
  • School Bus Driver Certification: This is a requirement for individuals who drive a bus for:
    • School districts,
    • Public pupils, or
    • Private pupils.

Additionally, the driver is expected to have the School Bus (S) endorsement indicated on their CDL. School bus drivers who are 65 years or older are expected to send their MER and MEC forms to the DMV once a year.

  • Hazardous Agricultural Materials Certification: This is primarily for individuals who carry hazardous waste. CDL requirements for this particular certification include:
    • The individual is required to be at least 21 years old.
    • The individual works under the agricultural operation department.
    • The load is not being carried for compensation.
    • Truck is either owned or leased by a farmer.
    • The individual has finished the HAM program. Even though an individual may be eligible for HAM, they are not required to get a CDL. Commercial motor vehicles sanctions may be incorporated.
    • The individual must send a copy of their MER and MEC (DL 546) forms to the DMV every 2 years.
    • The individual owns a vehicle that requires a Class C license, along with not going over 50 miles.
  • Tow Truck Driver Certification: This is mandatory for drivers who are a part of emergency road service organizations. These individuals have performed work-duties, such as offering freeway service patrol.
  • General Public Transportation Certification: This is required for individuals who drive a truck that carries up to 24 individuals with the driver included, along with offering the general public transportation to local areas.

Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a truck accident, our expert truck accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Contact us today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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