This book measures 5X7 inches and contains all the information a perspective CDL driver needed to obtain their license in 1992 .


Last week, I was going through some old boxes when I stumbled upon an old “Truck Driver’s Handbook” from 1992.

I drove for a private carrier many years ago and it was my responsibility to train any new drivers they brought on board. I used this driver’s training manual which was published from the Division of Motor Vehicles for the state of North Carolina. The entire book is a total of 27 pages. I did a bit of research online to see what has changed in regards to obtaining a CDL in North Carolina. What I found was that today it’s still possible to get a CDL by studying your state manual and making a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles to take a test. A 1.5 hour written test is necessary with a passing score of 80% and a driving test is also required. You must bring your medical card and the results of a drug test to the testing site.

If you want to obtain a CDL license in North Carolina, you’ll need to follow this 10 step process.
1. Obtain and review the commercial driver’s license manual and user guide. The state manual is available online or from your local DMV office.
2. Choose the type of commercial driver’s license you need based on the type of vehicle you will be driving. If the vehicle you will be driving involves a trailer weighing more than 10,000 lbs. you will need a class A. If you only plan on driving a straight truck, with a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,001 lbs. you’ll only need a class B license. You can also obtain a learners permit. If you have a permit you are required to have a CDL holding passenger sitting next to you each time you drive. A permit is only valid for 6 months.
3. Bring a document that proves your place of residence.
4. Bring 2 pieces of documentation that confirm your identity and age.
5. Bring a document that proves you carry liability insurance for the vehicle you plan on driving.
6. Certify or confirm with NC DOT that you have a clean driving record.
7. Bring your United States Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card.
8. Take the written knowledge test at any full service driver’s license NCDOT location.
9. Take the driving skills test after you pass the knowledge test. The driving skill test will include an inspection of the vehicle you plan to drive, basic vehicle control skills, such as: making turns or backing up, and a complete road –driving test.
10. Pay the applicable fees to receive your commercial driver’s license. The application fee will cost $30.00 and the license fee will cost $15.00 per year.

There is much discussion and writing on the subject of driver training. I remember when I was getting my CDL license that my training only lasted a couple of days. Today, there seems to be more training with various carriers than when I began driving. The actual requirements to get a CDL are quite minimal and in fact always were. I applaud the carriers who conduct ongoing training after an individual receives their CDL. This training is a finishing school and is well beyond the requirements of the DOT. In reality, there is more training today than when I received my CDL.


Comments (3)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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Everyday is a training session behind the wheel of a semi. If you choose to make it a habit of self imposed obstacles to overcome, you will only increase your abilities. Practice makes perfect.

August 31, 2014 6:43:28 AM

Training standards should change. The industry has. I am one of those driving school graduates. When I first got on the road the old timers belittled driving schools. Now, we are beginning to see their importance.

August 30, 2014 7:10:02 AM

I have had my CDL for a very long time and getting a Class A License was basically not much different then getting a drivers license. First I did practice in an old two stick Mack pulling a water trailer and my practice consisted of backing as we knew that the main tester liked to have potential drivers perform a blind side back. I arrived at the county courthouse with another driver in the Mack (no automated trucks at that time). I easily passed the written test and out we went to the truck, I climbed inside, turned on the headlights, checked the wind shield wipers, and the tester climbed in and buckled his seat belt. Everyone used this truck to test in as it was the only one that had seat belts. Off we went through the local neighborhood to perform a left hand turn to get onto a two lane highway. Got the truck up to about 40 mph and had to make a easy right turn to go down another side street. This is where he liked to have a driver do a blind side back buy he had me continue on and then pull off onto the shoulder of the road. I had to back straight for about 20' and then we were off again. He had me perform one more hard right turn turn and I knew from other drivers that if you crossed the center lines he would dock you. I had this turn perfected and I performed it flawlessly... He then told me the rules say what you just did is right but in real life and with a longer trailer do not pull onto this highway like that ever again as the trailer will have to jump the curb. He then said congratulations you have a Class A! Took all of about ten minutes off driving. I appreciate that the rules have changed for the better to get a CDL.

August 30, 2014 5:49:48 AM