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Types of Commercial Driver’s Licenses in Portland, OR

Posted on March 26, 2024 in

The federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a commercial vehicle. Obtaining a CDL is more challenging than getting a non-CDL driver’s license. More in-depth skills and knowledge tests are required, as well as specific training, health screening, and background checks. 

Here’s an overview of the three types or classes of commercial driver’s licenses available in Portland, Oregon, and the endorsements CDL holders can receive. 

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Classes in Oregon

There are three classes or types of commercial driver’s licenses in Oregon. You can learn more about the specifics of each type and requirements in the Oregon Commercial Driver Manual

CDL Class A

This class allows you to operate vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the towed vehicle can exceed 10,000 pounds. 

Common vehicles requiring a Class A commercial driver’s license include semi-tractor trailers, flatbed trucks, tanker trucks, and livestock carriers. 

CDL Class B

This class allows you to operate one or a combination of vehicles with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds for any single vehicle. The towed or pulled vehicle cannot exceed 10,000 pounds. 

A Class B commercial driver’s license allows you to operate city buses, box trucks, tractor-trailers, large passenger buses, and other vehicles. 

CDL Class C

This class allows you to operate any single or combination of vehicles used to transport hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers. 

A Class C commercial driver’s license allows you to operate small HAZMAT trucks, passenger vans, and any other commercial vehicle that does not require a Class A or B CDL. 

CDL Endorsements

Certain types of vehicles or cargo require a separate endorsement. Each endorsement requires additional training or meeting certain requirements. 

The most common CDL endorsements include: 

  • P (Passenger): This is necessary to drive passenger vehicles designed to carry 16 or more individuals, including the driver. You must pass the Passenger Endorsement Knowledge Test. 
  • S (School Bus): To be a school bus driver, you must pass the Passenger and School Bus knowledge tests and a skills test in a school bus. You must also complete 15 hours of ODE’s Behind the Wheel training and the ODE driving and criminal record check. 
  • T (Double/Triple Trailers): This is required to pull a double or triple trailer. You must pass the Doubles and Triples Endorsement Knowledge Test. 
  • N (Tank Vehicle): This is for operating a tanker truck hauling liquid or gas.
  • H (Hazardous Materials): You must pass the HAZMAT Endorsement Knowledge Test and a TSA Criminal Background Check. A TSA security check must be passed every five years to maintain the endorsement. 
  • X (Combination Tank Vehicle and Hazardous Materials): A combination endorsement that signifies both the N and H endorsements for transporting hazardous materials in a tanker truck. 

A CDL license may also have restrictions. For example, a CDL K restriction allows intrastate travel only. 

Basic CDL Requirements in Portland, OR

There is a long list of requirements to meet to earn a commercial driver’s license in Oregon. 

Basic CDL qualifications include: 

  • Be at least 21 (or 18 for intrastate)
  • Pass a vision screening test
  • Get a Medical Examiner’s Certificate 
  • Get a Commercial Learner Permit (CLP) by passing the CDL General Knowledge Test
  • Pass the CDL Skills Test
  • Not disqualified from holding a CDL, including certain convictions

As of February 2022, you must also complete Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) through an FMCSA-certified program to obtain a Class A or B CDL. The ELDT program is also required to upgrade a Class B to a Class A license or get a passenger, hazardous materials, or school bus endorsement. 

Your CDL license will be suspended automatically for certain offenses, such as driving under the influence or leaving the scene of a crash, even if you were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time. 

Contact a Portland Truck Accident Attorney If You’ve Been Injured in a Crash

This is only a basic overview of the requirements to obtain a CDL in Oregon. There are strict laws designed to prevent serious truck accidents by mandating training, maintenance, driving limits, and oversight. Despite this, undertraining and overworking remain common in the trucking industry. 

If you have been hurt in a truck accident in Portland, call Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation. A Portland truck accident lawyer can help you understand your legal options and the next steps to take to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys in Portland, OR – Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers

If you were injured in an accident in Portland, OR, please contact our Portland truck accident lawyers at Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers
101 SW Main St. #1905
Portland, OR, 97204
(503) 272-8986

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