Let’s say you’re looking for a bit of a challenge as a driver. On the side, you’re also hoping to earn a serious living from it. By “serious living,” it’s something over $60,000 a year. Earning that much is possible in the commercial heavy trucking industry, driving vehicles like Semis. But, before you’re able to do so, you’ll need to acquire a special driver’s license — more specifically, a Class B commercial driver’s license.
Why is a Different Type of License Needed for Such a Job?
Driving hulking freight vehicles is far more different than driving a family car. Considerable skills are required in maneuvering something as big as a 13-foot-high truck, while minding a 53-foot long cargo trailer behind it into confined spaces. Drivers also have to deal with manipulating at least a 10-speed gearbox on average. The level of complexity involved can be overwhelming for the untrained.
Fortunately, getting a Class B CDL is made possible by enrolling in special CDL classes, available in New Jersey and other locales. To be eligible for a Class B CDL, a candidate must learn specific driving skills from a recognized vocational school or community college. The length of training programs varies greatly. On average, though, candidates can expect to complete a course in about four weeks or less.
What Can Students Expect During the Training?
During the early days of training, students are taught about traffic and trucking laws from the State’s own CDL manual and from federal safety regulations. In addition, they may also learn about accomplishing relevant paperwork related to transporting freight. Later on, they’ll be able to learn other skills such as gear shifting and vehicle control, backing, parking, docking, loading and unloading, highway and city driving, and defensive driving.
Being a commercial truck driver is extremely challenging. The margin of error in driving a massive vehicle full of important goods is very small, and a quick misstep can easily cost drivers a lot—sometimes even their jobs. This is why a stringent selection process is critical to make sure the industry runs like a well-oiled machine, and that people’s goods is delivered to them safely.