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CDL Licensing Skill Tests: Do They Help Prevent Truck Accidents?


In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license in Florida, truck drivers must first pass a series of skills tests. Conducted both on and off the road, these tests help to ensure the driver has basic knowledge in how to handle their rig, ensuring the safety of other drivers on the road. While these tests help to screen applicants, can they actually help to prevent truck accidents? Unfortunately, even if a driver passes their exam, there is no substitute for experience. In some cases, a driver may pass CDL testing, even though potentially dangerous driving errors may have occurred.

Florida CDL Requirements

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has stringent licensing requirements for truck drivers. A CDL is required for any truck weighing 26,001 pounds or more, but the licenses and exams vary depending on the type of truck and the cargo transported.

A Class A license is for drivers of trucks or truck combinations or those towing 10,000 pounds or more. Class B is for straight trucks and buses, and a Class C is for trucks carrying hazardous cargo or materials and those carrying 15 or more people. In each category, the following tests are required:

  • A general knowledge test, which is based on the Florida CDL handbook;
  • An air brake test, which tests the driver’s knowledge of the braking system;
  • Pre-trip testing, in which the driver must identify various parts of the commercial vehicle;
  • Basic skills testing, which requires drivers to perform backup functions, such as backing in a straight line, towards the left or right, and backing to a loading dock;
  • CDL road testing, which tests the driver’s handling of the truck on the road, and in a variety of situations. Includes turns, stops, handling curves, driving on various road conditions, and going through underpasses;
  • Endorsement examinations, which provide specific authorizations for drivers depending on the type of vehicle and cargo. These include endorsements for tankers and double or triple trailers, and for school buses and passenger transportation vehicles.

It takes a good deal of skill and knowledge in how trucks move, handle, and operate to be a truck driver. It also takes practical experience, something drivers taking the CDL exam often lack. According to Trucking Truth, actions such as failing to use a turn signal, running over a curb, not checking mirrors properly, or rolling backward at a stop, may or may not result in an automatic failure. Drivers may still pass exams despite making too wide of a turn or approaching a curve too fast, even though these are common causes of truck accidents.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

Reckless and unskilled truckers put themselves and other drivers at risk. One simple mistake could have serious repercussions on the road. If you have been injured in this type of accident, contact Gregg Wexler . We conduct thorough truck accident investigations to determine the underlying causes and how the driver or the trucking company may be liable. Call or contact our office online today and request a consultation to discuss your case with our experienced West Palm Beach truck accident attorneys.


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