There are a few major steps towards becoming a truck driver that potential truck drivers should know about. First you have to do research to see if you are the right fit for a bay area trucking job, so getting the commercial driver’s license handbook in your state is the first step. Every state publishes an adaptation of a standard version provided by the Federal government, the most current template being 2010. Second, you have to decide where to go and plan the route, because the licensing system gives you an overview of the variety of driving jobs that are available for you.
You have to look at the types of careers offered such as one hauling truckloads over the road, and regional driving between depots with mixed loads. Needless to say, there is a lot of variety. Information on truck driving is available on Google where you can get hits for blog articles, YouTube videos, and other resources that help you learn about what it is like to be a truck driver. Another way to do research is to talk to a truck driver who can explain the reality of the jobs available.
There are CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) classifications that are classified for the different kinds of vehicles and there are classes called A, B, and C. Class A allows for tractor-trailer combinations, and vehicles of all sizes weighing over 26,001 pounds. Class B lets you drive single vehicles over 26,001 pounds, and Class C does not meet the criteria for Class A or B but may carry hazardous compounds, or sixteen or more occupants in the vehicle including the driver. Earning Class A should be your first goal as the other classes could follow if you need to borrow, rent or sign out a tractor-trailer rig.
Getting together all your personal documents is the next step in getting your private drivers license and your social security card as proof of identification, because trucking is a very regulated industry that requires you to submit information to get your CDL license, if you want to get into bay area trucking. Documents held on record mean that your state Department of Motor Vehicles will provide your ten-year driving history upon request, as a printout of your official driving record. If you are a veteran, you can take advantage of the benefits available in return for your service, so have your military I.D. card or your DD214 form available from the National Archives.
Next you are required to get a DOT medical card, which states you are physically fit to become a truck driver, especially if you feel you are not in shape enough. You may get a card granted to you anyway despite having hypertension, a condition that will limit your achievement of a CDL. The next step requires a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check, which involves a fee. After that, you will need to submit to drug testing that influences when you’ve applied for a position, at random intervals, and also you are supposed to take a drug test after any accident.
Then you will be required to learn the CDL handbook, which includes the general driving test that you took for your existing driver’s license. You may then have to take the knowledge tests at your local DMV field office, with practice tests available on the website. After that, you will be responsible for applying for a CDL skills test appointment using the CDL handbook for reference, where you need to take a driving test which involves a skills test in three phases, Vehicle Inspection Controls Test, and the Road Test. After completing all these steps, you should be cleared for getting your license!