What is a CDL?
A CDL License in Alabama is a “commercial drivers license” required to drive any commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 lbs. or more. Commercial driver’s licenses are issued by each individual state, but regulated by the FMCSA.
(Note: These are the Alabama CDL Requirements, click here to see your state’s CDL requirements.)
Do I Need An Alabama CDL?
If you want to operate a commercial vehicle that falls into any of the following classifications, you must obtain an Alabama Commercial Drivers License.
CLASS A – Applies to any “combination” vehicle that has a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs or more, provided the trailer in tow has a weight exceeding 10,000 lbs. Class A CDL holders can operate any vehicle included in classifications A, B, or C.
For Example: You have a tractor and trailer that weighs more than 26,000 lbs combined, with the trailer weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
CLASS B – Applies to any single or combination vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more, but with a trailer that DOES NOT exceed 10,000 pounds. Class B CDL holders can drive vehicles with a class B and C rating.
For Example: You have a straight truck (box/cargo truck) towing a trailer that COMBINED weighs over 26,000 lbs. The trailer must weigh under 10,000 pounds.
CLASS C – Required to operate vehicles that are placarded for hazardous materials, or passenger vehicles designed to transport more than 16 occupants including the driver, that does not meet the requirements of a Class A or Class B license.
For Example: You drive a small bus that carries 22 people, but weighs under 26,000lbs. OR You drive a straight truck (box/cargo) that transports hazardous materials, but weighs under 26,000 lbs.
Requirements For Alabama CDL Endorsements
Endorsements indicate that you are authorized or eligible to drive under certain circumstances, or authorized to drive certain types of vehicles. Alabama CDL Endorsements include:
(T) Double/Triple Trailers (Written/Knowledge Test Only)
(N) Tank Vehicles (Written/Knowledge Test Only)
(P) Passenger Vehicles (Written/Knowledge AND Road/Skills Test)
(H) Hazardous Materials (Written/Knowledge AND TSA Threat Assessment)
(S) School Bus (Written/Knowledge Test AND Road/Skills Test)
(X) Combination Hazardous Materials and Tank Vehicle (Knowledge and TSA Threat Assessment)
**You can study and take your written endorsement exams at the same time you take your general knowledge and air brake exams.**
Alabama CDL Requirements
In order to obtain your Alabama Commercial Drivers License, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- You must be at least 21 years of age or older to drive a commercial vehicle from state to state. However, you can apply for your CDL at the age of 18 if you only drive a commercial vehicle inside the state of Alabama, do not carry loads requiring a hazardous materials placard, and do not drive double or triple trailers.
- You must have a VALID Alabama Class D drivers license.
- You must be capable of passing a medical physical in accordance with the Medical Advisory Criteria for Evaluation Under 49CFRPart391.41
How To Get A CDL License In Alabama
The following are the steps required to apply for and obtain your Alabama Commercial Drivers License in accordance with the FMCSA and the state of Alabama.
1. Study each section the official Alabama Commercial Drivers License Handbook that applies to the classification and endorsements you’d like to receive. Note: Anyone who would like to obtain Class A CDL is required to study sections 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13. If you would like to add additional endorsements, study those additional sections (eg. to get a doubles/triples endorsement, also study sections 4 and 7.)
2. Go to your local department of motor vehicles testing office and pass your written knowledge exams. Be sure to bring with you:
- Your current valid Class D license.
- Your social security card.
- A $25 dollar testing fee (no checks)
3. Begin training for your road/skills test with a qualified CDL driver, or a licensed CDL training school.
4. Obtain your DOT medical card.
5. Pass your road/skills test.
- Pre-Trip Inspection – You will be tested to see if you know your vehicle is safe to drive.
- Basic Vehicle Control – You will be tested on your ability to move the vehicle forward, backward, and turn within a defined area.
- On-Road Test – You will be tested on your ability to safely drive the vehicle in a variety of traffic situations.
How Much Does A CDL In Alabama Cost?
There are several costs associated with applying for and obtaining your Alabama CDL. The following are estimates of what you can expect to pay to get your commercial drivers license in Alabama.
- Knowledge Test Fee – $25.00
- Skills Fee – $20.00
- Class A CDL – $53.50 (Class B CDL – 43.50, Class C CDL – 23.50)
- DOT Physical Card – $50-100 dollars depending on the physician/insurance.
TOTAL: $118.50 – 198.50
Official Alabama CDL Handbook: http://www.marshallco.org/probate/manuals/cdlmanual.pdf
Alabama Dept. Of Public Safety: http://dps.alabama.gov/Home/Default.aspx
FMSCA Guidelines: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration-licensing/cdl/cdl.htm