A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required to obtain a union position with a major or local freight carrier covered under the National Master  Freight Agreement.

To qualify for a truck driving job with a company operating in interstate commerce a driver must meet the minimum requirements prescribed in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. In addition to federal regulations, most companies have other rules and guidelines which must be followed.

Information obtained from : www.teamster.org

The Qualifications

Age: While many states allow those 18 and older to drive trucks within state borders, federal regulations require drivers operating across state lines to be at least 21 years of age.

Physical Condition: The U.S. Department of Transportation requires a driver to have a complete physical examination every two years. You must not have suffered the loss of a hand, arm, foot, or leg, nor have any physical defect or disease likely to interfere with safe driving. You cannot have a medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes that requires insulin for control.

Vision: A driver must have a minimum of 20/40 vision in each eye, with or without corrective lenses, and have a 70 degree field of vision in each eye. Drivers may not be color blind.

Hearing: A driver must be capable of perceiving a forced whisper in the better ear at not less than five feet, with or without the use of a hearing aid.

Education: All drivers must be able to read and speak English well enough to understand traffic signs, prepare required reports, and speak with law enforcement authorities and the public. Some companies may have additional educational requirements.

Safety: The U.S. Department of Transportation sets safety rules for interstate truck drivers (vehicle inspection, hours of service, etc.), and drivers must learn and comply with these rules. Drivers must be able to safely operate the type of motor vehicle he/she drives. Most states have adopted similar rules for intrastate drivers. NOTE: This requirement is not met by simply holding a CDL.

Substance Abuse: Strict regulations forbid the use of alcohol or drugs prior to or while operating a commercial vehicle. Successful passage of alcohol and drug tests is often a condition of employment. Thereafter, drivers are subject to drug and alcohol testing by their employers and by law enforcement officials in the following circumstances: post-accident, reasonable suspicion, and random testing. A driver must have no current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism, and must not use any illegal drugs.

Criminal Driving Record: A driver must not have been convicted of a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle; a crime involving drugs; driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or hit-and-run driving which resulted in injury or death. Drivers with a criminal conviction of any kind may not operate a commercial vehicle into Canada.

Driver’s Road Test: A driver must successfully complete a driver’s road test and be issued a certificate of driver’s road test.

For further detail on qualifications of drivers, seePart 391 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

CDL is issued by one (and only one) state. Specific endorsements (e.g., hazardous materials or tank) may be required depending upon the company’s needs and the type of equipment you will be operating.

Note: Holding a CDL does not indicate that the holder is a trained or experienced driver, only that he/she has passed minimal skills and knowledge tests concerning the type of vehiclehe/she proposes to drive. Contact state department of motor vehicles for further information.