A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is something that all individuals who want to drive a truck, a school bus, a tank vehicle or some other commercial motor vehicle, need to obtain.

There are several written and road skills tests that all applicants have to pass. Depending on the type of vehicle you wish to drive, the tests vary in form. So, there are different tests for tank vehicles, for school buses, for vehicles transporting hazardous materials, as well as for doubles/triples.

There are also some additional tests, such as the air brake test, that has to be taken by those who are going to drive a vehicle that has air brakes.

All these tests can prove to be quite difficult to pass, and there are a lot of things you need to learn and study hard before you take them. If you want to make sure that you are prepared when you go to the DMV to take the tests, reading the CDL manual is the best way to do that.

Written CDL exams are made of questions that are derived from the CDL manuals that each state issues and provides to all CDL applicants.

For specific information on the CDL handbook in your state, visit your state’s page:

Select a state to begin:
Select a state to begin:

A CDL manual is divided into several sections, with each section covering different areas regarding commercial driving. So, there are sections that explain the requirements you need to meet to obtain a CDL, what types of CDL’s there are, and which endorsements you need for a certain vehicle.

One section provides information about safe driving, with tips on how to avoid distracted driving, and how to handle driving in various weather conditions and different traffic scenarios.

The following sections cover transporting cargo and passengers safely, focusing on securing and inspecting cargo, as well as vehicle inspection.

Then, there is a section covering air brakes, as most commercial vehicles have air brakes, so you need to know how to inspect and use them. Another section is designated to vehicles designed for transporting hazardous materials, with tips on how to drive such vehicles, and how to load and unload such materials.

As you are required a special endorsement for driving a school bus, there is a section about school buses, as well, offering information about how to deal with students, how to use emergency exits and what do to in case of emergency.

To pass the CDL written exam, you have to be familiar with traffic laws specific to commercial vehicles, such as speed limits, as well as safe driving techniques. These tests have multiple choice questions, which offer several possible answers. You have to answer at least 80% of the questions correctly, in order to pass a test.

To prepare for this exam see our CDL Handbooks containing updated information per state. They are available online, similar to the real test, and can be a great way to actively study.

Last updated on Friday, February 28 2020.