The trucking industry is growing in an era when artificial intelligence is causing job insecurity. Becoming a truck driver in Florida includes training and passing driving and knowledge tests. American Trucking Associations report commercial truck drivers move 72.6 percent of the nation’s freight. The number of truck drivers in the U.S. continues to grow, with a 1.5 percent increase to 3.54 million truck drivers working in the U.S. in 2022.
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Florida Truck Driver Requirements
There are multiple steps involved in becoming a truck driver in Florida. Drivers cannot use their regular driver’s license to drive a commercial truck. A CDL license is required to become a commercial truck driver in Florida. There are three main requirements for obtaining a CDL license, including being 18 years of age. Drivers wanting to travel out of Florida must be 21 to drive out of state. All commercial truck drivers must obtain an operator’s license and pass a vision test.
Drivers wanting to obtain an operator’s license must start by learning with a conditional learner’s permit. A conditional learner’s permit is available for those with a Florida driver’s license and knowledge tests. Every candidate for a CDL must pass a vision test and a Division of Driver’s Licenses medical exam. The Division of Driver’s Licenses will complete a driving record check stretching back ten years. After completing these requirements, paying fees, and completing a 14-day wait period, a conditional license will be issued.
The next step to obtaining a CDL is to complete a training course with a qualified CDL holder. After practicing on Florida’s public highways, a candidate can take the three main CDL tests. Trucking Truth explains the three main CDL tests are vehicle inspection tests, basic control tests, and commercial road driving.
Candidates for the Florida CDL license can choose between three licensing levels, Class A, B, and C. Class A license candidates can operate commercial vehicles above 26,001 pounds and tow up to 10,000 pounds. Class B license holders can drive a straight truck or bus up to 26,001 pounds or more. Candidates completing the Class C license course and testing can transport placarded hazardous materials and up to 15 passengers in vehicles weighing less than 26,001 pounds.
Drivers in Florida must complete the applicable conditions if they wish to haul certain types of freight. Additional testing is required to obtain licensing to transport hazardous materials and to operate vehicles with air brakes. All desired endorsements are obtained by completing driving and knowledge tests for each endorsement to be added to a license.
Job Search and Employment
After obtaining your CDL, you are ready to begin your career as a commercial truck driver in Florida. Begin your job search by researching well-known trucking companies and visiting job boards. Pay, benefits, routes, and the company’s reputation for safety and employee satisfaction are all things to consider when searching for a job. Once you have secured a position, you will need to complete the required DOT pre-employment drug screening and background checks.
Truck driving can be a lucrative and rewarding career. Understanding the requirements and process of obtaining your license is the first step in pursuing an exciting new career.