October 22, 2022

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The Complete Guide to Obtaining & Renewing Your Commercial Driver’s License in Chicago

 

The Complete Guide to Obtaining & Renewing Your Commercial Driver’s License in Chicago

If you’re planning on driving a commercial vehicle in the city of Chicago, you’ll need to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of getting your CDL and tell you everything you need to know about renewing it.

What is a Commercial Driver’s License?

A CDL is required to operate any vehicle that falls under the category of “commercial motor vehicle” (CMV). This includes vehicles that are used for the transportation of goods or passengers, and any vehicle that is larger than a standard passenger car.

In order to obtain a CDL, you’ll need to pass a written exam and a skills test. The written exam will test your knowledge of traffic laws, and the skills test will assess your ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle.

Types of Commercial Driver’s Licenses

A CDL can be classified as Class A, Class B, or Class C. The type of license you’ll need depends on the type of CMV you’ll be operating.

Class A CDL

This license is required to operate any CMV that has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. This includes vehicles such as

    • Tractor-trailers
    • flatbed trucks
    • Tank trucks

 

Class B CDL

This license is required to operate any CMV that has a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, as well as any vehicle that is designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver). This includes vehicles such as

    • Passenger buses
    • Box trucks
    • Dump trucks

 

Class C CDL

This license is required to operate any CMV that is designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver) but does not fall under the category of Class A or Class B. This includes vehicles such as

    • Vanpools
    • Small school buses
    • Large passenger vans

 

Getting Your Commercial Driver’s License

To get your CDL in Chicago, you must first pass a written exam and a skills test. You can take the written exam at any DMV office, but the skills test must be taken at a designated testing site. There is no charge for the written exam, but there is a fee for the skills test.

To take the written exam, you must:

    • Be 18 years old or 21 years old for interstate driving
    • Have a valid Illinois driver’s license
    • Provide proof of residency in Illinois
    • Have a Social Security number
    • Provide proof of insurance
    • Complete a Driver’s License/ID Card Application
    • Have your photo taken
    • Pass a vision test
    • Pass the written exam

If you are a new driver, you must also complete a Driver’s License/ID Card Application and have your photo taken. You will need to provide proof of insurance, residency, and a Social Security number.

The written exam consists of multiple-choice questions about Illinois traffic laws and safe driving practices. It is available in English and Spanish. To pass, you must correctly answer at least 80% of the questions.

You must take the skills test in a vehicle that is representative of the type of vehicle you will be driving. The skills test consists of a pre-trip inspection, a basic control skills test, and an on-road driving test.

Step By Step Instructions For Getting Your CDL

Now that you know what you need to do to get your CDL, let’s take a look at the process step-by-step.

Step 1: Get Your Commercial Learner’s Permit

The first step towards getting your CDL is to get your commercial learner’s permit (CLP). With a CLP, you can practice driving a commercial vehicle under the supervision of a licensed driver.

You will need to submit the following documents to the DMV:

    • A completed application for a commercial learner’s permit (form available at the DMV office)
    • Proof of your identity
    • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency
    • A medical certificate
    • Payment for the permit fee

 

Step 2: Train At A Truck Driving School

Once you have your CLP, you can begin training at a truck driving school. You will need to complete a training program that is approved by the Illinois Secretary of State. The program must include both classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel training.

During your training, you will learn the skills you need to safely operate a commercial vehicle. You will also have the opportunity to practice taking the skills test required to get your CDL.

The Complete Guide to Obtaining & Renewing Your Commercial Driver’s License in Chicago

Step 3: Take The Road Test And Get Your CDL

Once you have completed your training, you will need to take the road test to get your CDL. The road test has two parts: the vehicle inspection and the driving test.

To pass the vehicle inspection, you will need to demonstrate that you can perform a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle. This includes checking the brakes, tires, lights, and other systems.

To pass the driving test, you will need to show that you can safely operate the vehicle. You will be tested on your ability to start, stop, turn, back up, and parallel park.

If you pass the road test, you will be issued your CDL. Congratulations! You are now a licensed commercial driver in the state of Illinois.

What Next?

Now that you have your CDL, it’s time to put it to use! You can start driving for a trucking company or become a self-employed owner-operator.

If you plan to drive for a trucking company, be sure to check out FleetCare. We are a trucking dispatch service that connects truck drivers with load opportunities. We make it easy to find the loads you want and get paid fast. Our services are available 24/7, so you can find loads and get paid on your schedule.

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