Because collisions involving semitrucks can have disastrous consequences, truck drivers need to meet certain requirements. If you do not meet some of these requirements, there may be restrictions on your license.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, you can only get a commercial driver’s license after you pass tests demonstrating your abilities and knowledge. Even after you receive your CDL, you may face some restrictions which are designated by a certain letter on your license. These letters tell inspectors what kind of vehicles you can drive. There are several types of restrictions you might face.
You may have restrictions on your license if you do not have the skills to operate certain semitrucks. Some vehicles have air brake systems, for example. If you do not know how to use this brake system, the FMCSA usually puts an “L” on your license. This means that you are not allowed to operate a truck with this brake system.
Additionally, some semitrucks have a manual transmission. If you do not know how to operate this system, you can only drive trucks with automatic transmissions. In this situation, your CDL license would have an “E” on it.
Sometimes, you may have restrictions on your license because you take your test in a certain vehicle. If you drive a Class B vehicle when you take the passenger vehicle test, you can only drive Class B and C passenger vehicles. This is the case even if you have a Class A CDL. In this situation, officials place an “M” on your license.
Officials usually recommend that you take your test in the kind of vehicle that you want to drive. This allows you to make sure that you have the necessary skills to operate the vehicle and receive the right kind of license.