Once you’ve earned your Class A CDL license, it’s important to maintain it over the course of your career. If it gets revoked or suspended, your ability to earn an income could be in jeopardy.
So, in order to keep your CDL A valid, there are a few things you’re going to need to do regularly (and, just as importantly, a few things you absolutely need to avoid at all costs).
What To DO
Each state has its own requirements for how long your CDL license is valid before you need to renew it. In Florida, for example, renewals are required every five (5) years. It’s worth pointing out, though, that under certain circumstances, states can reduce the renewal period so you need to stay on top of your own renewals.
Just like you need to keep your license up to date, you must also regularly prove that you’re in good enough health to drive. That means getting a valid physical and registering it with your state of domicile’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Usually, physicals can be good for about two (2) years. The big exception here is if your medical examiner decides to issue you a one-year or six-month physical. This shortened time frame comes into play if you have certain health issues that require more frequent physicals in order to make sure that you’re still able to meet the health standards necessary to operate a motor vehicle.
What NOT To Do
Don’t do them. Period.
In order to become a CDL driver, you’ll be required to take a five-stage drug test. After that, you’ll be subject to random drug testing as long as you hold your Class A CDL.
But even if there were no drug tests, how could you possibly think it’s a good idea to drive a truck if you have a drug habit? You’ll be risking your income, not to mention the safety of yourself and other drivers. Despite any incorrect, negative stereotypes you may have heard about professional truck drivers, the truth is that it takes hard work and dedication to get the job done and to enjoy a successful Trucking career.
So, when it comes to drugs: They’re not worth the risk. Best case scenario? You’ll eventually get caught and likely lose a great career. Worst case scenario? You don’t get “caught” by the drug test so you keep driving until you eventually hurt yourself or someone else out on the road (or worse).
Another CDL pitfall to avoid is unsafe driving. It’s important to maintain a good driving record. If you have an accident, commit a felony, get a DUI or commit other unsafe acts, you can lose your CDL license.
For more information on what can disqualify a driver, click here to read the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) webpage on this topic.
The important thing to remember is that you need to know the rules and play by them. Obviously, things in Life don’t always go the way you plan, but by staying aware of what you’re supposed to do and striving to meet the trucking industry’s standards, you’ll have a much better chance of enjoying a long and profitable career as a professional Class A CDL truck driver.
Ready to earn your CDL (A) and start a successful career as a professional truck driver? Great! Roadmaster Drivers School can help…
*wage information provided by Werner Enterprises