Hazardous Materials Commercial License Overview

If you are going to be transporting fireworks to the location for a show, you will need to fulfill the requirements for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) first. Under federal legislation, drivers must pass a state-administered test before being granted their CDL. The standards for driver testing in the United States were developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Commercial Driver’s License Classes

A CDL may be issued in the following license classifications:

  1. A Class “A” License is issued for vehicles weighing over 26,000 lbs that are towing a minimum of 10,000 lbs.
  2. A Class “B” License is issued for vehicles weighing more than 26,000 lbs or a vehicle towing less than 10,000 lbs.
  3. A Class “C” License is reserved for vehicles that don’t fit into a Class “A” or “B” category. It includes vehicles that are made to carry a minimum of 16 passengers, as well as those transporting hazardous materials.

Along with meeting the CDL requirements, a driver may need to take additional tests to qualify for endorsements that may be added to the basic CDL:

  • H – Hazardous Materials
  • N – Tank Vehicle
  • P – Passenger
  • T – Double/Triple Trailers
  • X – Combination of Tank Vehicle and Hazardous Materials

The Hazardous Materials, Tank Vehicle, and Double/Triple Trailers endorsements are granted to drivers who pass a knowledge test.

For the Passenger endorsement, the driver must pass a knowledge and skills test.

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Requirements for Passing a Knowledge & Skills Test

A test administered to drivers who are interested in having an endorsement added to their CDL must meet these criteria: The driver must be presented with at least 30 questions. To pass the test, the driver must answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly.

A driver who is taking the skills test must show the examiner that they can perform all of the skills required to operate the vehicle correctly. The driver performs these functions in a vehicle that is similar to the one that the driver is operating or will operate after they are granted the endorsement.

Information on the Commercial Driver’s License

Each state issuing a CDL is responsible for setting the fees that drivers must pay to obtain one, as well as the procedures involved in renewing them. This includes how often a CDL must be renewed, as well as age and/or medical restrictions that apply.

Federal law sets out that the CDL must include the following information:

  • The Words “Commercial Driver’s License” or “CDL”
  • State License Number and the Issuing State
  • Date of Issue and Expiration Date
  • Classes the Driver is Authorized to Drive
  • Endorsements for Which the Driver is Qualified
  • Driver’s Full Name and Address
  • Driver’s Signature
  • Driver’s Date of Birth, Height, and Gender
  • Photograph of the Driver


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