Should I become a truck driver? It’s a common question for anyone who is considering a change of career and is interested in the transportation and shipping industry. Perhaps you have your CDL but want to pursue a job as a truck driver over driving a bus. Regardless of what led you to this question, it is important to consider whether it is a good fit for you before becoming a truck driver 

Top 5 Reasons to Become a Truck Driver 

A career in truck driving is extremely rewarding, but it can also be challenging. Some of the top reasons that drivers have shared with us about why they became truck drivers are listed below. 

  1. Ideal Job for People from Different Walks of Life: There is no set profile for a truck driver. The industry has become incredibly diverse and people from all different walks of life choose to become truck drivers. People fresh out of high school consider it as a career, but for many people it is a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th career that they arrive at in their middle age. Truck driving is a great career option for both men and women, people from different educational backgrounds, and is especially an ideal job for veterans. No two truck driver stories are the same, which is why it is a career that appeals to a wide variety of people.
  2. Opportunity to Travel: If you have ever wanted to get on the road and see different parts of the country, then trucking is the perfect career choice for you. Many people choose a career as a truck driver solely for this purpose. If your company allows guests to accompany you on your truck, then it is also a great opportunity to show your family other states as well. 
  3. Independent or Team Environment: The beauty of trucking is that you can be as independent or social as you want while working. For those who crave freedom, minimal supervision, and nothing but solace and the open road, driving solo is a great career fit. If you would prefer not to be alone, you can consider a team driving job which allows you to drive with another person, which can be a friend or even your spouse. Depending on what kind of job you would prefer, there is something for everyone in the world of trucking. 
  4. Job Stability: Companies are always looking to boost their roster with experienced, quality truck drivers, which makes trucking a stable field which is largely in demand. Trucking is an essential industry and when you choose to be a truck driver, you are often able to find work quickly. With the right company, you can also look forward to an array of benefits including opportunities for career advancement, mentorship, competitive compensation, home time, and more. 
  5. Purpose and Focus: Whether you are fresh out of school or looking to change careers later in life, truck driving is a career which can provide you with purpose and focus. Truck driving is a challenging job, but it is full of unique opportunities and provides the chance to contribute to a field that is vital to communities across America. 

At Drive My Way, we are proud to help drivers across the nation find the right trucking job that matches their unique needs. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay updated with new job openings and exciting announcements.  

Living where you work is one of the many adjustments trucker drivers will make once they begin their career driving. One of the best ways to adapt to this situation and create a welcoming environment is to take some initiative to make the truck feel like a home away from home.  At Drive My Way, we love compiling tips for truck drivers to help them with their life and career on the road.  

What are Some Creative Ways Truckers Have Made Their Truck Home? 

Some of the best tricks and tips we have heard from truckers about making their truck feel like home are outlined below.   

Create a Library: If you like to read, you can create a mini library in your cab to house a selection of books or magazines. Add a custom reading light and you are ready for some important downtime after a long day. Make sure you also have your favorite books on tape and podcasts on deck to help pass the time during your drives. 

Dedicate a Space for Entertainment: If you prefer to watch movies, TV shows, or play games, investing in an entertainment space is the perfect way to feel right at home while you’re on the road. Some of the most popular items we have heard truckers adding to their entertainment space include a TV, DVD player, satellite radio, or gaming console. It’s important to remember though, the more electronics and appliances you have onboard, the more important it is to have an inverter as well. An inverter will help spread out the voltage for everything you have plugged in including your TV, phone, tablet, or toaster.  

Add Personalization: Nothing is going to make your truck feel like home more than making it your space. Create a wall to hang up your children’s drawings, photos of friends and family, and memorabilia you collect on your travels. Get creative with wallpaper, steering wheel and seat covers, accent pillows and seat cushions, area rugs, and more! We’ve even seen truck drivers who create a little spa area with relaxing music and an essential oil diffuser!  

Give Yourself a Kitchen: Even though the space in a cab is limited, there are plenty of ways to make a kitchen area that allows you to make tasty meals and snacks. Many truckers make sure to have their favorite appliances onboard including a mini refrigerator (a perfect place for all those magnets you collect at truck stops), microwave, crockpot, coffee maker, toaster, or even an air fryer! Don’t forget to bring along some of your favorite recipes also. 

Make Your Sleeping Area an Oasis on Wheels: Not only is your truck a place to work and eat, but it is also your bedroom. Some of the best ideas we have seen from truckers on how to make their sleeping area inviting include adding curtains to give the space a more private feel, and if you’re really sensitive to light, blackout curtains are the way to go. You can make your bed the perfect fit for every season by having nice cool, cotton sheets for the summer and super soft, flannel ones for the winter. You can also invest in an electric blanket, comfortable pillows, and any other necessities that will help you get your best rest. You can also add mood lighting and a sound machine to create serenity to help you doze off.  

Rotate Your Theme: One way to keep the excitement going with your truck personalization is to have a new theme and matching decorations that you can rotate throughout the year. You can go patriotic for the 4th of July, spooky for Halloween, and merry for Christmas. From holiday lights to bedspreads, you can make your truck feel close to home.   

If you drive a company owned truck, always make sure to check with them before making any modifications to the interior or exterior of the vehicle. While taking any of these steps can give your truck a homier feel, it’s important to remember that if you feel lonely or isolated, get in touch with family and friends, or be social with fellow truckers at stops. A good conversation is an excellent way to break up the monotony of being alone while driving. With a little creativity, your cab can transform into a tiny home rather than feeling like just the back of your truck.  

Do you have a decked-out rig, full of personality? We want to see all the creative ways you have made your truck and cab match your unique needs and style. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to show off your truck and tell us your story.

Do you have what it takes to compete with the best of the best?  


This year, truck drivers from across the nation will be headed to Columbus, OH, to battle it out for the title of 2023 Grand Champion in the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck and Step Van Driving Championships.  


Every competitor must have first qualified at a state level championship, competing in one of nine classes of competition. In addition to winning at the state level, each contender must have been accident free for a year, inspiring safe driving practices among the tens of thousands of drivers vying for a spot annually.  


Over 500 attendees will crowd the Greater Columbus Convention Center from August 16-19 this year to watch the three-part championships. The competitors will undergo a written examination, a pre-trip inspection test, and, ultimately, a skills test. Although the 2023 Grand Champion is the most coveted title of the championship, there will also be awards for Professional Excellence, Vehicle Condition, and Rookie of the Year.  


A Long History of Roadeo 

Originally called the National Truck Roadeo, the championships have been held since 1937. The first competition came just four years after the founding of the American Trucking Association in 1933. 


There have been many memorable moments over the years, and a long list of talented drivers who have competed, won, and logged millions of safe driving miles. Over the years, the National Truck and Step Van Driving Championships have provided an opportunity for countless truckers with diverse backgrounds and experience to display the skills, patience, and bravery necessary to succeed in this field.  


The 2022 Bendix Grand Champion, Roland Bolduc, is no exception to this great history of impressive drivers. With the 2017 Bendix Grand Champion title already under his belt, the FedEx Express driver aced all the tests last year competing in the Sleeper Berth Division.. 


Bolduc, who has more than 2.5 million safe driving miles in a career extending over four decades, was also one of four FedEx drivers that won four out of the nine classes of competition. This included Step Van Division (Gregory Long, FedEx Express), Tank Truck Division (Michael Flippin, FedEx Freight), and Straight Truck Division (Christopher Shaw, FedEx Express). 


Winners from the other five classes hailed from employers across the country, including Three-Axle Division (Wilbert Vano, XPO Logistics Inc.), Four-Axle Division (Martin McMahon, RIST Transport), Five-Axle Division (David Guinn, Publix Super Markets Inc.), Flatbed Division (Eric Ramsdell, Walmart Transportation LLC), and Twins Division (Damien Hebert, XPO Logistics Inc).  



The annual National Truck and Step Van Driving Championships aren’t called the “Olympics of Trucking” for nothing. These competitions offer an opportunity for top talent from across the country to highlight the extensive knowledge and talent required to be a truck driver while entertaining hundreds of spectators.  


From winning state level competitions to competing nationally this year in Columbus, OH, every competitor taking part in the National Championships will help shed light on the hard work being achieved by every truck driver in America.  


What are your favorite memories of past championships? Will you be attending this year’s? Be sure to connect with us on social media to share your stories and learn more about the National Truck and Step Van Driving Championships.  

tanker endorsement

For truck drivers, the path to increased earnings comes with experience and endorsements. Endorsements are special designations given to certain truck drivers so that they can drive specialized types of vehicles or haul materials that are dangerous or difficult to haul. 

Two of the most popular endorsements are the “N” and “X”. Here’s what you need to know about those endorsements including their requirements, differences, and the jobs you can get with them. 

Are There Different Tanker Endorsements?

tanker endorsementYes, there are two different tanker endorsements. The “N” endorsement allows drivers to haul a tank trailer. The “X” endorsement also allows a driver to haul a tank trailer with HAZMAT material inside. This means that the “X” endorsement is really just a combination of the “N” and “H” (HAZMAT) endorsements. 

“N” Endorsement

The “N” endorsement allows a driver to haul a tank or “tanker” full of liquid or gaseous materials that the FMCSA doesn’t consider dangerous. These jobs are often higher paying and usually are local or regional runs, so you’d have more home time than some other jobs.  

A tanker truck driver needs to be able to adjust to having his cargo constantly moving around if the tank is not full. Dealing with the “surge” caused by the movement of the liquid in the tank while driving takes some practice and skill development. 

“X” Endorsement

The “X” endorsement allows a driver to haul large loads of liquid or gaseous HAZMAT cargo inside of a tanker. Having an “X” endorsement even further separates these drivers and their skill sets from the rest. If a driver has any plans to be in the gas and oil hauling business, an “X” endorsement will certainly be required. 

What are the Requirements for an “N” or “X” Endorsement?

requirements for X endorsementAs of right now, all that’s needed to secure an “N” endorsement is to take an additional written knowledge test. This can be done at a testing location in your state. Visit your state’s DMV/BMV for more information on where to test and what information the test will cover. 

Because of the dangerous nature of hauling HAZMAT liquids and gases, obtaining an X endorsement is a little more involved. In addition to passing a written test, you need to pay for and pass a TSA background check as well. 

These requirements are on top of what’s required to hold a CDL A.  

What are the Benefits of Getting an “N” or “X” Endorsement?

More Opportunities

Companies that haul any type of liquids or gases will require drivers to have either an “N” or “X” endorsement. By securing that, you’re already opening yourself up to a number of high-paying jobs that many truckers can’t get into. 

More Money

Drivers with additional skills and endorsements often find that they are paid more than drivers without. Driving a tanker requires additional safety skills due to the unstable nature of hauling liquids. Therefore, drivers with tanker endorsements are many times some of the highest paid truckers on the road. The payoff of seeing those paychecks increase certainly outweigh the up-front costs to pay for a tanker endorsement and training. 

Getting your “X” or “N” endorsement can be very beneficial to any CDL truck driver, regardless of what career stage they’re in. With a tanker endorsement, the job pools is bigger, the pay is likely higher, and overall earning potential as a trucker increases. 

If you’re looking for tanker truck driving jobs, you’re in luck. Drive My Way partners with carriers who have open tanker positions for drivers with “N” and “X” endorsement. Complete your driver profile below, and be sure to include that you have that endorsement. We can match you to a great new job that best fits your lifestyle and driving preferences. 

truck driver at loading dock

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Pay is one of, if not the most important consideration to a driver when taking a new job. While Industry statistics show that average truck driver salaries are on the rise, most drivers are still understandably looking for more money based on the difficulty of the work they do. Let’s take a look at the different ways that drivers can make more money in trucking.

1. Gain More Experience

It’s not the quickest or most glamorous way, but a few years of experience can’t be overstated if you’re looking to make more money in truck driving.  

It’s understandable that carriers will pay more to experienced drivers than to new ones. Much like everything nowadays, insurance premiums for carriers are on the rise. Carriers can decrease these hefty premiums by hiring experienced drivers with a clean driving record.  

That’s why many carriers have years of experience requirements in their job postings. They’re willing to pay these drivers more since it will offset with the lower insurance premiums they’ll be paying.  

If you’re a brand-new driver and not making as much money as you want to right now, don’t let it get to you. While you can’t do anything immediately about the years of experience you don’t have, you can follow the next few tips to start earning more money quickly.  

2. Add Additional Endorsements

truck driving jobs

Once you’re an established CDL driver, you can seek to add additional endorsements that will give you access to a larger range of truck driving jobs.  

The double/triples endorsement allows drivers to haul two or three-times more freight, while driving the same amount of time as you would with a single trailer. A HAZMAT endorsement will open doors to new opportunities with companies that specialize in the transportation of flammable or otherwise dangerous materials. 

There are several of these endorsements that CDL drivers can earn if they’re looking to make more money. A full list of these endorsements (and their requirements) can be found here. 

3. Maximize Available Bonuses

driver payBonuses are a great way to make more money in trucking. Most carriers likely have their own bonus structure, and you should have a copy of the payout information available to you when you start working for them.  

Outside of a standard sign-on bonus, your carrier might offer various additional bonuses based on performance, safety or longevity.  

Planning well and using proper driving techniques could qualify you for a fuel efficiency bonus. Having a track record that shows you’re a safe driver who follows the rules could put you in line for a safety bonus. Being consistently prompt with your deliveries may qualify you for an on-time delivery bonus. Be sure you’re aware of all the available bonuses you carrier offers, and work to achieve them regularly. 

4. Keep Your Skills Sharp and Your Reputation Safe

Another tip is to keep up with the new systems and processes in the industry. Technology is always changing so make sure you’re doing your part to keep up with the necessary tools and systems that can benefit you in the future. Something that’s optional now might become mandatory to use in the future. Learn it now, and you’ll have an advantage later when you’re applying to higher-paying jobs.  

Keeping your skills sharp is important, but your reputation in the industry is just as important. Be sure to always keep things professional and respectful whenever you’re working. You never know when you’ll run into a former dispatcher or fleet manager down the road when applying for a new job. 

While the trend of rising truck driver pay doesn’t seem to be slowing, you can use these tips to add even more to your bank account. The amount of effort you put into it now will be rewarded with a bigger paycheck in the future. 

If you’re looking for a great trucking job that pays well and meets your needs, consider creating a free profile with Drive My Way. Our proprietary software matches drivers with a job based on their qualifications and unique lifestyle needs. 

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car hauler

One of the most recognizable trucks on the road is the car hauler. You’ve seen them on the highway, hauling cars, trucks and SUVs to their next destination, but have you ever thought about driving one as a career option for you? We talked to an experienced car hauler who gave us the facts about what this line of work is like. If you are interested in becoming a car hauler, here’s everything you need to know first.  


Luckily for car haulers, the only requirement is that they have a valid CDL A. There are no additional endorsements necessary beyond that. 

Experience Needed

Once you’ve gotten your CDL A, the next thing you’ll need is some on the road experience before you start hauling cars. Granted, having x number of years of experience isn’t always necessary depending on the company you’re planning on working for. But most carriers prefer that their drivers have a few years of experience hauling dry van or reefer before they jump into car hauling.  

Clean Driving Record

It isn’t unusual for car haulers to be carrying cargo that’s worth upwards of five hundred thousand dollars. That’s why drivers considering car hauling as a profession need to be extremely safety-conscious and have a spotless (or near spotless) driving record.  

Total Attention to Detail

Car hauling is a tough job. It requires total attention to detail at every step. More times than not, car haulers are responsible for not only driving the cars but loading and unloading them as well. This means 100% perfection in your routine while spacing the cars and strapping them down in place. Ensuring that there’s no damage to the vehicles in transit or during delivery is paramount to being a successful car hauler.  

Hansen AdkinsWe were about to talk with Robert Sitarski, Customer Service and Dealer Relations Supervisor with Drive My Way client, Hansen & Adkins. Robert has years of experience as a car hauler and shared his thoughts and advice for drivers considering this field.  

What made you interested in car hauling as a profession?

“I had a friend who was in the industry that told me all about car hauling as a career. Driving the newest models of vehicles, learning how to operate the truck, and making a great living helped me decide to give it a shot.” 

What advice do you have for truck drivers who are considering becoming car haulers?

“Car hauling isn’t just another driving job, it’s a career. Pay attention during your training, as this is where you’ll start to develop a routine that will not only save you time but will help you operate your truck safely.” 

What’s the best part about car hauling?

“The best part about car hauling is the freedom you have. There are no appointment times that you have to meet. Your truck is also not affected by the wind whether you are empty or loaded. It’s a lot of fun driving the latest model vehicles and the exercise that you get loading and unloading the cars is a bonus.” 

What’s the most difficult part of the job?

“The most difficult part of car hauling is configuring the load on the truck to meet all the weight and height requirements when you first start. The good part is that there is always a peer or a trainer that is there to give you advice on the load configuration to get you through it.” 

Is there anything else you think is important to add about car hauling?

“Once you start hauling cars as a career, you will never want to haul anything else. With the proper training you will be specialized in a rewarding career that you will be proud to be a part of.” 

If car hauling sounds like the job you’re looking for, consider creating a free profile with Drive My Way. Our proprietary software matches drivers with a job based on their qualifications and unique lifestyle needs. 

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intermodal truckingIntermodal trucking can be a great option for truck drivers who are looking for a new job over the road and want to try something different than typical dry and reefer hauling. Here are 3 perks of being an intermodal trucker, along with quotes from actual intermodal drivers about what the job is like.

What is Intermodal Trucking?

Intermodal trucking, sometimes referred to as drayage, is the act of using a truck to move international cargo in specially designed containers from point A to point B. Usually this is either the first or last step in the overall intermodal transportation process.

The containers that intermodal drivers haul are large, weather-hardy, and fit securely on several types of transport vehicles so that they can be moved easily between ship, plane, train, and truck. So, what about intermodal trucking makes it appeal to drivers? Here are 3 perks.

1. Consistent Schedule and Home Time

cdl studentsIf consistent home time and a healthy work/life balance are important to you, intermodal trucking might be a good choice for your next driving job. Drivers will tell you that the biggest benefit of this line of work is the consistent schedule and shorter routes. Drivers will usually complete at least one route, (most times more) in a single shift and be home every night.

We spoke with an intermodal truck driver, David, and he shared his thoughts about this line of work,

“Intermodal trucking provides the ability to make great money and be home daily. But the tradeoff is a lot of frustration and hold ups in the railyards,” shares David. 

2. Less Manual Labor and Loading

The shipping containers that intermodal truckers haul move from transport vehicle to transport vehicle without being unpacked or broken down (With the exception of inspections by customs officials). They stay packed as is and sealed from the time they leave, until they get to their destination.

At each stop the container moves to, there’s specialty equipment there to pick up the containers and place them on the trucks. It’s usually no touch for the drivers, which means less wear and tear on your body, and more time moving down the road.

3. Flexibility

Most intermodal drivers find the real perk of the job to be the flexibility that it provides them. We talked to another intermodal truck driver, Ritsuko, and she shared what she loves about intermodal trucking, including seeing the country and making money.

“I enjoy the independence and peace of being on the road and being able to take off when needed and having more flexibility in my schedule,” shares Ritsuko. 

If you think that you’re up to the challenge of being an intermodal truck driver, do some research on companies in your area that specialize in this line of work. Keep in mind that intermodal trucking jobs will be much easier to find the closer you are to large ports and railyards.

If you’re looking for another type of CDL A or B job, consider making a free profile with Drive My Way. Our patented technology matches drivers with jobs that are matches for their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

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class b cdl

Are you considering getting a commercial driver’s license, also known as a CDL? If you are, you should know that there are 3 options: Class A CDL, Class B CDL or Class C CDL.  

Each CDL has its own training and testing procedures, and there are pros and cons to each. Depending on your career plans, any of these might be the right fit for you. Here, we’re going to explore what you need to know when getting a Class B CDL License.

1. The Basics of a Class B CDL

Dump truck jobsThough getting a Class A CDL will open the most job opportunities for a driver, a Class B CDL can provide drivers with a great career as well.  

A CDL B vehicle is described by the Federal Motor Carrier Association as,

“Any single vehicle which has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more), or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight that does not exceed  4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds).” 

In layman’s terms, this means that drivers who hold their CDL B can drive a truck that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 26,000 pounds but cannot carry a trailer in tow if that trailer weighs more than 10,000 pounds. So, what kinds of trucks can CDL B drivers operate?

2. Vehicles a CDL B Driver Can Operate

With a Class B CDL, a trucker can drive any vehicles endorsed for Class B or Class C. Some of these vehicles are: 

  • Straight trucks 
  • Large passenger buses (city buses, tourist buses, and school buses) 
  • Segmented buses 
  • Box trucks (including delivery trucks and furniture trucks) 
  • Dump trucks with small trailers 
  • Garbage trucks 
  • Ready Mix (Concrete) mixers 

 3. Age Requirements

cdl age requirementTo hold a Class B CDL, you only need to be 18 years old. This is actually true for a CDL A as well, but many companies will not hire 18-20 year old drivers for CDL A positions, since you need to be 21 to travel across state lines.  

This is why many young drivers looking to start early and gain valuable experience before they turn 21 will usually get their CDL B instead. When a CDL B driver turns 21, they can test for a CDL A license if they’re looking to drive bigger rigs over the road (OTR).  

4. Where Can a Class B licensed Trucker Drive?

Fed Ex VanIf you’re a truck driver looking to stay close to home, a Class B CDL might be a great option for you, since most CDL B jobs only run locally. This means that if you’re planning on getting your Class B CDL, you should be prepared for jobs as a mover, delivery driver, bus driver, or garbage truck driver. 

No matter what type of license and endorsements you pursue, the key is to make sure you’re matched with the trucking job that’s the best fit for you. If you’re a newly minted CDL driver looking for your first job, or you’re a seasoned road veteran, let Drive My Way help you get connected with the perfect job. 

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truck driver safety

Truck driving is a dangerous profession. Getting behind the wheel of a 15-ton semi always presents risks, especially when the roads are crowded or there’s inclement weather. But, there are other parts of the on the road lifestyle that can present dangers as well.  

Stopping at truck stops and rest stops, especially at night, can lead to situations where drivers don’t feel safe. Almost every experienced driver has a story of when something went wrong or almost went wrong at one of these stops.  

For many of these drivers, taking precautions to protect themselves is what got them out of these situations safe and sound. Here are a few different ways to practice truck driver safety while stopping on the road. 

Limit Night Stops if Possible

While this isn’t always possible for OTR and regional drivers, limiting rest area stops at night is the best way to protect yourself on the road. When you do have to stop at a rest stop, avoid stopping at the nearest truck stop. Instead, do some research on the best ones on your route. 

Apps like Trucker Path can show you reviews of truck stops left by truckers before you. Before you hit the road, plan out where you’ll stop so you can avoid sketchy or poorly reviewed stops.  

If you do have to stop at a rest area, avoid leaving your cab unless you really need to. 

Watch for Dangerous Spots

The same rules that apply to parking garage and parking lot safety also apply to truck stops. If you need to get out of your cab at night, there’s a few different things you can do to be as safe as possible.  

The first is to avoid walking directly next to a trailer or between two trailers. These areas are the perfect spot for someone to lay in wait if they wanted to. Also, try and avoid walking directly next to corners if you can help it.  

Having a flashlight or even better, wearing a reflective piece of clothing while getting out of your truck could be the thing to dissuade would-be attackers. If something were to happen, you’d be much easier for a passerby to spot if you’re wearing something neon yellow as opposed to black or brown. 

Arm Yourself (Legally)

When people talk about protecting themselves, one thing usually comes to mind; firearms. While many drivers do prefer to carry while in their vehicle, there are some things you should be aware of if you plan on doing the same.  

To have a firearm in your cab, you’ll first need to obtain a concealed carry permit. This isn’t too hard for local drivers since they’re usually only driving intrastate, but for OTR or regional drivers, this is where carrying a firearm can be legally dicey.  

The issue is that since you’ll be crossing state lines, you need to make sure your concealed carry permit is valid from state to state. There isn’t nation-wide reciprocity, so the CC permit that you have in Missouri may not be valid the second you cross into Illinois. You can view this map to see which states a concealed carry permit is valid in.  

Aside from guns, there are any number of other things a truck driver could use to defend themselves if they needed. Think of things you probably have in your truck right now; wrenches, padlocks, hammers, tire iron, etc.  

Any one of these items could be used to defend yourself in a pinch. If you don’t have anything like those, doing something as simple as carrying your keys or some other sharp object between your fingers in a fist could be the difference between being a victim or not.  

Crime will always be a part of life, but that doesn’t mean that truck drivers have to be on the receiving end of it. Avoiding possibly dangerous situations, being aware of your surroundings, and staying prepared are your three best defenses as a truck driver on the road.

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6 Types of CDL Class A Endorsements

There are three options when getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL): the CDL A, the CDL B or the CDL C. Each class has its own training requirements and testing procedures, and there are pros and cons to explore for each type. Your lifestyle and career plans dictate which license will be the best fit for you. The Class A CDL is the most widely obtained CDL, as it allows you to drive the most vehicles. On top of that, there are 6 types of additional endorsements you can get for it as well as 7 restrictions that can be placed on it.

The Basics of a Class A CDL

The Federal Motor Carrier Association defines CDL A trucks as, “Any combination of vehicles which has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more) whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) whichever is greater.”

6 Types of CDL Class A Endorsements

commuter bus passenger endorsement

Once you have your CDL A license, you can get additional endorsements to allow you drive more specialty vehicles. These endorsements require extra written and sometimes, skills testing to obtain the endorsements. As of February 2022, there are additional requirements for drivers looking to obtain their Hazmat, Passenger, or School Bus endorsement. You can find more information about this below.

1. (H) Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT)

A HAZMAT endorsement opens the doors to hauling hazardous materials over the road. These jobs are often higher paying and there is usually a larger pool of jobs available. Once you have your CDL A, you can obtain a HAZMAT endorsement passing the required TSA background checks, written test, and medical exam by a DOT doctor. In many cases, having your HAZMAT license is a requirement for getting the X endorsement which will be described shortly.

2. (N) Tanker Vehicle

The tanker endorsement allows a driver to haul a tank or “tanker” full of liquid or gaseous materials. These jobs are often higher paying and usually are local or regional runs, so you’d have more home time than some other jobs. This endorsement does require an additional written test. A tanker truck driver needs to be able to adjust to having his cargo constantly moving around if the tank is not full. Dealing with the “surge” caused by the movement of the liquid in the tank while driving takes some practice and skill development.

3. (P) Passenger Transport

Passenger transport endorsement is pretty straightforward. It allows a licensed driver to drive a vehicle which carries more than 16 passengers, like a city commuter bus. This endorsement requires an added written and skills test to obtain. These jobs are great for people who want to drive a set schedule and be home every night, or for seeing the country driving for travel companies across country. One thing is certain, you will interact with passengers all day long, so this is not the job for someone who likes being alone. This endorsement is usually required to subsequently obtain the “S” endorsement to drive children in a school bus. Usually these two endorsements go hand-in-hand.

4. (S) School Bus/Passenger Transport

School bus endorsements are required to drive children in school busses. Like the “P” endorsement just discussed, this also requires an additional written and driving skills test. But for the “S” endorsement, there are also background checks, criminal history checks, physical fitness tests, and they usually require more frequent supplemental training and testing when the school bus rules change. And these drivers should have a little more patience and certainly must be able to tolerate driving boisterous children.

5. (T) Double/Triples

Double or triple trailers require their own endorsement. The “T” endorsement allows drivers to tow more than one trailer on the back of their truck. This endorsement requires an additional written test as well. The “T” endorsement is especially valuable, as it allows drivers to haul two or even three-times the amount of freight, while driving the same amount of time over the road as with a single trailer. These are often higher-paying trucking jobs, due to the added skills and driving ability the driver needs to have.

6. (X) Tanker and Hazardous Materials

Finally, the “X” endorsement allows a driver to haul large loads of any type of liquid or gaseous HAZMAT cargo inside of a tanker. Having this “X” endorsement even further separates these drivers and their skill sets. This endorsement requires an additional written test. If a driver has any plans to be in the gas and oil hauling business, an “X” endorsement will certainly be required.

Note About the H, P and S Endorsements

As of February 2022, the FMCSA has new updated guidelines for drivers looking to obtain their H, P and S endorsements. Here’s what the new rule states,

“FMCSA establishes new minimum training standards for certain individuals applying for their commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time; an upgrade of their CDL (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL); or a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsement for the first time. These individuals are subject to the entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements and must complete a prescribed program of instruction provided by an entity that is listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR). FMCSA will submit training certification information to State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs), who may only administer CDL skills tests to applicants for the Class A and B CDL, and/or the P or S endorsements, or knowledge test for the H endorsement, after verifying the certification information is present in the driver’s record.”

In layman’s terms, this means that any driver looking to obtain their H, P, or S endorsement will need to go to the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry and select a training provider in their area. They will then need to reach out to that provider and complete a training program for the CDL upgrade they want.

Once that program is completed, it’ll be noted in the driver’s file and they can then go to their state licensing bureau to take the written skills test and/or road test. Once that’s completed, they’ll be able to receive their endorsement.

Be sure to call your local licensing bureau for more information on what skills and/or road tests you’ll be required to take, as they may vary by state.

7 Types of Class A Restrictions

doubles triples endorsement

Just like obtaining CDL A endorsements lets you legally operate more CMVs, restrictions limit the ones you can operate. The good news is that these restrictions can be lifted once you meet the necessary requirements. Here are the 7 types of CDL A restrictions.

1. (L) Air Brakes Restriction

This restriction is pretty straightforward. If you didn’t pass the air brakes portion of your CDL test, you’ll get an “L” restriction. This means that you won’t be able to operate any semi-truck that uses air brakes, which could be a problem since the majority of trucks do. The good news is that you can take this test as many times as needed to get that “L” lifted.  

2. (Z) Air Brakes Restriction

Just like an “L” restriction, a “Z” prohibits you from driving a truck with air brakes. It just means that instead of failing this portion of the test in a vehicle with air brakes, you passed it in a vehicle with hydraulic brakes. It’s the same process to get this restriction lifted as well; just take the test again in a vehicle with air brakes.  

3. (E) Manual Transmission Restriction

This restriction is placed on a CDL if the driver passed their test but took it in a vehicle with automatic transmission. This isn’t an issue if your current employer uses automatic transmission trucks, but you may want to take your test again in a manual if you plan on moving to a different carrier in the future.  

4. (K) Interstate Travel Restriction

The “K” restriction means that you’re not allowed to travel to other states while driving a CMV. This restriction is placed on drivers who are under 21 as they’re not allowed to haul freight across state lines, although that could be changing soon.

5. (O) Fifth-Wheel Connection Restriction

If you take your CDL test in a vehicle that doesn’t use a fifth-wheel connection, and instead uses a pintle hook or some other type of connection, you’ll get an “O restriction. How do you get this reversed? You guessed it. Just retake the exam with a truck that has a fifth-wheel connection.  

6. (M) Class A Passenger Vehicle Restriction

The “M” restriction is one of those very unique (and confusing) restrictions that you probably won’t run into during your trucking career. It means that you have your CDL A and can drive all CDL A vehicles but took your “P” or “S” endorsement test in a CDL B vehicle. You can drive all CDL B passenger vehicles (typically buses) but can’t drive any very large bus that falls under the Class A weight limits. 

7. (V) Medical Variance Restriction

The “V” restriction is put on your CDL if you have a medical issue that would somehow impact your ability to drive. These variances could include vision impairment or high blood pressure. Unlike the other restrictions, a “V” doesn’t affect your ability to drive certain types of vehicles.  

When it comes to CDL A restrictions, the best advice is to take your CDL A test in the appropriate vehicle so you can avoid getting any of these restrictions placed on your CDL in the first place.

If you’ve just got a new CDL endorsement or restriction lifted and are looking for a new CDL job, let Drive My Way help you out. Make a free, secure profile below and get matched with your next CDL job.

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