Brian White | August 24, 2022 | Truck Accidents
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) allows an individual to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Federal law gives the Secretary of Transportation the authority to set minimum uniform standards for issuing commercial driver’s licenses. At a minimum, the law requires a person to pass written and driving tests and complete driver training to obtain a CDL.
Texas has specific requirements for obtaining a commercial driver’s license. State law divides CDLs into three classes, with several available endorsements.
What Are the Types of Commercial Driver Licenses in Texas?
The three classes of CDLs for Texas truck drivers are based on the vehicle weight and/or the number of passengers the vehicle holds. The three classes of commercial driver’s licenses are:
Texas Class A Commercial Driver’s License
The license allows you to drive or operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight of 26,001 pounds or more when the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle(s) towed is more than 10,000 pounds.
Texas Class B Commercial Driver’s License
The license allows you to drive or operate any single vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more according to the gross vehicle weight rating. The weight of a towed vehicle cannot exceed 10,000 pounds.
The license also applies to vehicles designed to carry more than 24 passengers, including the driver. If you take your skills test in a bus with a weight less than 26,001 pounds, your CDL is restricted to operating buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,001 pounds.
Texas Class C Commercial Driver’s License
The license allows you to operate any single vehicle or combination of vehicles designed to transport 16 to 23 passengers (including the driver) that are not a Class A or Class B vehicle. The license also applies to transporting hazardous materials that require a placard under 49 CFR, Part 172, Subpart F.
Endorsements for Commercial Driver’s Licenses in Texas
In addition to the types of CDLs available in Texas, drivers might need one or more endorsements. The six endorsements permit you to operate a commercial motor vehicle that transports specific items or falls into a specific category of commercial motor vehicles.
The endorsements for commercial driver’s licenses are:
- T Endorsement – allows the driver to tow a double or triple trailer.
- P Endorsement – allows the driver to operate a vehicle that carries a specific number of passengers.
- N Endorsement – allows the driver to operate a tank vehicle designed to transport liquid or liquefied gas.
- H Endorsement – allows the driver to transport hazardous materials, such as gases, explosives, and combustible or flammable liquids. This endorsement request an extensive state and federal background check.
- S Endorsement – allows the driver to operate a school bus.
- X Endorsement – A combination of the N and H endorsements allows the driver to operate a tank vehicle to transport hazardous materials.
Obtaining CDL endorsements requires additional testing in some cases. For example, Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) is required for passenger, hazardous materials, and school bus endorsements. In addition, all endorsements require a knowledge test, and passenger and school bus endorsements require a driving test.
What Do Truck Drivers Need a Commercial Driver’s License?
Safely operating large trucks requires specialized training, knowledge, and skills. There are also commercial truck rules in Texas drivers must follow.
Requiring a driver to obtain a commercial driver’s license ensures that the person has gone through the necessary training to operate a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler, or other large truck. Without the additional training, there would be a higher risk of truck accidents throughout the country.
Large truck accidents result in catastrophic injuries and deaths. Because of the trucks’ size and weight, most injuries and fatalities in truck accidents are other motorists and passengers in other vehicles.
Of the 4,965 people killed in 2020 in large truck accidents, 71 percent were occupants of other vehicles. Likewise, of the 146,930 people injured in truck crashes, 68 percent were passengers in other vehicles.
Truck accident victims often sustain life-threatening and traumatic injuries. They may sustain multiple injuries from the crash. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Severe burns and disfigurement
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Back and neck injuries
- Nerve and soft tissue injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Loss of bodily functions, sight, and hearing
- Crushing injuries
Training truck drivers can reduce the risk of deadly truck crashes. However, when a truck accident occurs, the victim could be entitled to compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. A truck accident lawyer identifies the parties liable for damages and works to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Houston Truck Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
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Houston, TX 77098
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