The differences between a Class A and a Class B CDL are the vehicles they let you operate different classes (and weights) of motor vehicles depending on what your job requirements happen to include. The federal government has even passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act to set minimum requirements for drivers of large vehicles and the training and CDL that they must hold to be allowed to drive certain vehicles.
We train students for their Class A CDL because of the variety of job opportunities it allows for. However, it’s important to know what each class allows so you can make the best decision for your career. In this blog post will take a look at the difference between the Class A & Class B CDL and what each one will allow you to do.
Class A CDL:
Your Class A CDL will allow you to operate a variety of different motor vehicles that a regular commercial driver’s license wouldn’t let you operate. Your Class A CDL will allow you to drive combination vehicles such as a semi-tractor and trailer or with combined gross weights of 26,001 or more. You will also be able to drive a trailer that weighs 10,000 pounds or more. You might need special endorsements to drive certain vehicles such as those carrying toxic waste or those with a certain number of passengers.
The following are examples of some of the different types of vehicles you might drive on a Class A CDL:
- Tractor trailers
- Truck and trailer combinations
- Tractor trailer buses
- Tanker vehicles
- Flatbed vehicles
- Most Class B and Class C vehicles can get driven on a Class A CDL
Class B CDL:
Your Class B CDL will let you operate a variety of different motor vehicles that a regular commercial driver’s license won’t let you operate. Your Class B CDL will let you drive single vehicles that weigh 26,001 pounds or more in gross weight. It allows you to operate a trailer vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
The following types of vehicles can get driven on a Class B CDL:
- Straight trucks
- Large buses (i.e., large city or school buses)
- Box trucks
- Dump trucks
- Some Class C vehicles with the correct endorsements
Class A & B CDL, What’s the Difference?
A Class A CDL gives you more flexibility in driving different types of vehicles and lets you drive almost all of the vehicles that a Class B license allows you to drive. If you are looking for maximum flexibility in the vehicles you drive, the Class A CDL is probably the best fit for you.
Endorsements for Class A CDL Drivers:
Being able to haul hazardous loads, driving double trailers, or other variable requires special endorsements on your CDL. It is up to the driver to know and understand the laws requiring endorsements and to ensure that you obtain any endorsements required to drive the vehicles you do and to be in compliance with the law. Our jobs is to help you determine which endorsements will be beneficial to you in your career.
The following list includes some of the most common endorsements, what the driver must do to get them, and the vehicles that they become required for if you wish to drive them as part of your job:
- H Endorsement: required if you will be driving vehicles containing hazardous materials and includes a written knowledge test to receive the endorsement
- N Endorsement: permits drivers to drive vehicles with tanks on them and also requires a written knowledge test to receive the endorsement
- T Endorsement: permits drivers to drive a double or triple trailer and requires the driver to pass an additional knowledge test to receive this endorsement
- X Endorsement: permits drivers to drive vehicles that transport HAZMAT materials or vehicles that are tankers and the driver must pass a knowledge test to receive this endorsement.
Obtaining these endorsements before you begin driving the vehicles that require them is the appropriate way to go. It ensures that you comply with the laws in your area and ensures that you are not subject to disciplinary actions if you do not follow these laws. For more information on which endorsements you can get with your CDL, talk to your admissions officer or your CDL instructor. We will be happy to help you decide which ones are the best for your career goals.
In most cases, getting your Class A CDL is more beneficial as it gives you far more options for which vehicles you are legally allowed to operate on the road. Endorsements can allow you to do even more driving work such as hauling passengers to different destinations, driving vehicles with hazardous cargo, or even driving double or triple trailers full of cargo.
Getting your Class A CDL at HMTT can open up a whole new world of possibility to your driving career. You’ll be able to look at more driver employment opportunities with local, regional, or national carriers.
Start your truck driving career by getting your Class A CDL at HMTT! Call us today to enroll in class and get on the way to earning your CDL! 651-528-8994