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Tips to Maintain your CDL License

Review helpful tips for maintaining your commercial driver’s license and other CDL license requirements. Don’t wait until your license is expired.

As a proud CDL holder, the last thing you want is to lose your license. Instead of letting all your hard work go to waste, follow these tips to maintain your CDL. Explore CDL license requirements for not just getting but also maintaining your position on the road.

How To Maintain Your CDL

The specific CDL license requirements vary from state to state, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration outlines why your license may be disqualified or suspended. This frustrating and stressful outcome prevents you from driving your truck and may cause you to lose your job. Avoid these issues by following these four tips on keeping a valid CDL.

1. Renew Your CDL

Your commercial driver’s license needs to be renewed periodically. If you don’t renew your license, you may have to go through the training process and exam again to receive your license. Renewal is far more convenient than passing the exam again, so stay ahead of renewal requirements.

Driving on an expired CDL can result in fines, penalties, and fees. You may lose your job or be prevented from receiving a valid license again for some time. The renewal process has a few steps, but it’s far more convenient than facing fines and restrictions.

In most cases, commercial driver’s licenses last about five years. Some only last four years, while others last up to eight, so check with your state DMV for more information on their specific rules.

2. Current Medical Examiner’s Certificate

  In order to renew you CDL, most states required proof of a current and valid US DOT Medical Examiner’s Certificate of DOT Physical.   You will likely have to provide proof of meeting this requirement directly to the DMV in-person on through submission or required documents online. 

While a negative drug screen is generally not required to renewal a CDL, passing a valid US DOT Drug Screen and remaining drug-free is a requirement to exercise your commercial driving privileges.  A DOT drug test is similar to a typical drug screening. You’ll be required to submit a urine sample, which will be tested for signs of use of the following drugs:

  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Opiates
  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • Phencyclidine

Taking any of these drugs can not only prevent you from exercising your commercial driving privileges or working for a carrier, but they can also be extremely dangerous while you drive. Watch out for prescription and over-the-counter medications that affect your ability to drive. Muscle relaxers and cough medicine are some common ones that aren’t safe to use while driving.  Any new medications or change in condition or diagnosis must be reported to the qualified medical examiner who completed your most recent US DOT Physical Examination.

3. Avoid Major Driving Infractions or Convictions

Even a speeding ticket is a serious issue for a commercial driver. While most states allow some points before your commercial license is suspended, the limit is typically less for a CDL than for a standard license. Convictions for certain criminal offenses such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also result in the loss of your commercial driving privileges.
A serious traffic violation can result in a suspended CDL or prevents you from renewing it. Avoid the following to reduce your risk of a major driving infraction:

• Speeding
• Texting and driving
• Driving while impaired
• Distracted driving
• Driving on too little sleep

4. Practice Safe Driving Habits

Be proactive about CDL renewal and safe driving. Don’t wait until your license is about to expire or you start receiving points. Get plenty of rest and stay focused while you’re on the road to avoid driving infractions. Schedule your drug test early and be sure you’re prepared to pay renewal fees on time.

Benefits of Maintaining Your CDL

After passing all the CDL license requirements and renewal requirements, you’re ready to keep moving forward in your exciting career. Avoid unexpected downtime and stay in charge of your schedule with a fully maintained CDL. Check out these benefits of having a valid commercial driver’s license as you prepare to follow the renewal steps.

Many Driving Opportunities

Adhering to the CDL license requirements opens doors to many exciting career opportunities. You don’t have to drive an 18-wheeler to make good use of your commercial driver’s license. As a valid CDL holder, you can apply for positions like these:

• Local delivery driver
• Dispatcher
• Driving instructor
• Other professional roles in logistics
Whether you love being behind the wheel or get excited about planning the best routes for drivers in your area, a CDL helps you find your role in the transportation and logistics industry.

In-Demand Career Training

Truck drivers are in high demand in the United States, making it a reliable career to enter if you’re concerned about job security. The number of truck driver positions is expected to grow about six percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are also approximately 231,100 job openings every year because of drivers moving to different careers or retiring.

Drivers work in every state, so experience in the trucking industry is great if you’re looking to relocate. Even if you move, you can transfer your CDL and find a competitive job in your local area or state.

Renewal Is Easier Than Retraining

Missing the renewal deadline for your CDL can have serious consequences. Instead of sending in a renewal form and drug test, you’ll need to go through the updated training requirements. Because of a federal mandate, you now need specific required training before you can apply for a new CDL.

Train for Your Class A CDL in Five Weeks!

From Class A CDL license exam preparation to helpful answers about CDL renewal, turn to Roadmaster Drivers School to learn more about CDL license requirements. Start your CDL training with Roadmaster today.