February 3, 2023 | Truck Accidents
Oklahoma, like other states, has strict laws and regulations designed to ensure the safety of commercial motorists and prevent serious truck crashes.
Although most drivers are familiar with the standard license for driving a passenger car, certain vehicles, like buses and larger trucks, usually require a special license to operate, known as a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
If you engage in commercial driving in Oklahoma, it is important to ensure you are familiar with Oklahoma’s licensing requirements and the different types of CDLs available.
When Do You Need a CDL?
Oklahoma law requires drivers of various types of vehicles, or those who carry specific cargo, to obtain a valid CDL.
Some of the most common situations that call for a CDL include vehicles that:
- Weigh 26,001 pounds or more
- Transport hazardous materials
- Carry at least 16 passengers
Depending on the unique circumstances of the vehicle in operation, Oklahoma has different CDL subclasses that allow for special cargo situations.
Although these limits and restrictions apply to vehicles on public roadways, registered farm vehicles used for agricultural purposes don’t require a CDL to operate.
Types of CDLs in Oklahoma
Currently, there are three types of CDLs available to Oklahoma motorists. Depending on the driving you plan to do, you’ll need to obtain the corresponding license to operate any vehicle that requires a CDL.
Class A CDL
Class A vehicles are defined as any vehicle weighing over 26,001 pounds or towing a trailer or object that weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
Generally, Class A licenses are required for all semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and flatbed trucks.
Class B CDL
A Class B commercial license is required for vehicles weighing over 26,001 pounds, with towing capabilities for cargo under 10,000 pounds.
Class B CDLs are expected for drivers who operate trucks with smaller loads, such as tow trucks and moving vans, and work-specific vehicles, such as lineman trucks equipped with lifts.
Class C CDL
When you drive a vehicle that does not fall into Class A or Class B categories but requires a placard to transport hazardous materials — as defined by federal regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation — you’ll need to apply for a Class C CDL.
If your vehicle carries 16 or more passengers, including the driver, you will also need to obtain a Class C CDL.
These CDLs are reserved for drivers who work within specialized industries that require the transport of explosive or highly dangerous cargo. Additionally, a Class C CDL is what all bus drivers must obtain.
Getting a CDL in Oklahoma
Unlike a typical driver’s license, obtaining a CDL in Oklahoma requires extra steps.
Anyone applying for a commercial license must possess a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). The CLP can only be used to operate a commercial vehicle under the supervision of a commercial license holder and allows drivers to become comfortable operating larger vehicles in safe, controlled environments.
After 15 days, CLP holders can apply for the official CDL driving test at any DPS branch. This includes passing a written test and a driving test under the supervision of a state authority.
Oklahoma CDL licenses are only granted to individuals 18 years or older. For out-of-state commercial driving, motorists must be at least 21.
CDL Violations in Oklahoma City, OK
Violating traffic laws and other requirements is a significant offense for CDL holders. Although any traffic violation is dangerous, the law is far more strict with CDL holders because commercial vehicles can pose a more critical threat to other motorists and pedestrians.
Some of the most serious traffic violations while operating a commercial vehicle include:
- Reckless driving
- Texting while driving
- Illegal lane changes
In Oklahoma, two serious offenses can lead to a sixty-day CDL suspension. Additional violations can result in longer suspensions and eventual disqualification.
If you operate a commercial vehicle in Oklahoma, ensuring you have the proper license can help you remain compliant with state laws.
Contact the Oklahoma City Truck Accident Lawyers at McGuire Law Firm Today for Free Consultation
For more information, please contact the Oklahoma City truck accident law firm of McGuire Law Firm at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve throughout Oklahoma and its surrounding areas:
McGuire Law Firm – Oklahoma City
14 NE 13th St, Suite 113
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
McGuire Law Firm – Edmond
200 E 10th Street Plaza
Edmond, OK 73034