There are several requirements besides the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) test that must be met prior to being given the privilege of driving a big rig. Some of these regulations are health related, but all of them are ultimately safety related, and they are all created to save lives on our roads.
Driving a truck is a huge responsibility, and as a result, there are age limitations to go with this major responsibility. All intrastate drivers must be 18 years old to receive their CDL; this allows the driver to legally drive within the state lines of the licensing state. For interstate driving or long range trucking through multiple states, the driver must be 21 years of age.
There are also physical requirements that must be met prior to hitting the open road. This includes a physical exam prior to starting out as a truck driver, and then, every two years after the initial exam. This is a full physical that will ensure there are no diseases or other physical limitations that would hinder the safe handling of a commercial motor vehicle. At this time, the potential driver will also be tested for drugs and alcohol. This will become a normal routine for the driver as they are tested randomly throughout the year and after an accident. The penalties for a failed test at any stage can result in the suspension or revocation of the CDL. Needless to say, drugs and commercial truck driving do not mix.
Age, responsibility and health are all major factors in a driver being able to safely and effectively drive a truck on the highways, but there is one additional requirement that must be met. All drivers must be literate in the language of the country where they will drive. This is mandatory to ensure signs can be read and the regulated reports are properly filled out. This can be a major factor for non-English speakers trying to break into the industry.
Truck driving is synonymous with freedom and a rambling lifestyle. But, to earn that freedom, there are requirements that must be met. Once they have been met, the outcome can be a lifetime of enjoyment on the open highways of America.