Requirements for Commercial Truck Drivers in Texas

The State of Texas, and the commercial cartage industry, take the safety of the public, drivers and the integrity of safe delivery of goods and commodities very seriously.  Our record and reputation for quality cartage services is routed in public and driver safety.

Mandatory Training and Education Prior to Licensure

Before enrolling in a truck driving educational program, drivers must first possess a valid Social Security Card for U.S. work authorization, and then provide:

  • A valid drivers license (Class-C)
  • Present without warrants or pending criminal charges.
  • Be at least 18 years of age or older
  • Submit to drug testing and provide a clean drug screening result
  • Provide a medical examination report certificate
  • Submit a complete driving abstract, to establish a safe driving record
  • Pass a Department of Transportation Physical Exam

During the course of driver’s education, students engage in both classroom and lab (in-truck) training, to gain real-world and hands on experience.  They are also required to demonstrate mechanical aptitudes for the safe operation of the truck, as well as education regarding highway and traffic law, and safety procedures.

Applying for a Commercial Truck License

 With so many industries relying on the safe transportation of goods by commercial trucks, and the number of transport trucks on the road, the steps to become licensed as a driver in Texas requires experience, education and a clean driver’s abstract.

They start by filling out a corresponding form for each category or cartage endorsements that they plan to be tested (and licensed) for, which includes:

  • Double/triple trailer
  • Tank vehicle
  • Hazardous materials (HAZMAT)

Truck drivers in the State of Texas, must first complete a Form CDL-1 which is the Texas Commercial Drivers License Application.  Truck drivers are required to be a lawful permanent resident, or citizen of the United States, before becoming licensed to drive commercially.

Before becoming successfully licensed to drive commercially in the State of Texas, drivers must also undergo the following checks:

  • Administration and completion of a written multiple-choice test, on road and traffic safety, transportation laws and technical/safe operation protocols. The driver is required to attain a score of 80% or higher to pass.
  • A safety inspection on the truck is conducted (if the individual is an owner/operator of his or her own vehicle). During the safety inspection, the road-worthiness of the vehicle is evaluation, to certify all equipment requirements, registration requirements and to determine minimum standards for liability insurance eligibility.

How does the State of Texas insure the safety of commercial drivers on our highways?  Prospective commercial truck drivers must also pass a skills and road test, to determine their ability to safely operate a transport truck and haul cartage.

If any aspect of the licensing request, administrative testing and road test or inspection fail to meet minimum standards, the driver has conditions placed on their license, which remain until they have completed additional training and undergone retesting (and met standards).

Drivers Must Be Experienced in Interstate and Intrastate Shipping Requirements and Freight Laws

Prospective commercial truck drivers are also required to specify what type of shipping they will be engaging in.   There are two categories:

1) Interstate or Foreign Commerce

The trade, traffic or transportation in the United States which between multiple locations within the state of licensure, or a destination outside of the state (or the country), originating or terminating outside of the state of Texas or the United States of America.

2) Intrastate Commerce

The transportation of property, goods or commodities, where the origin and destination are both within the same state, without crossing an international border or state line.   In Intrastate commerce, the bill of lading must indicate whether shipment of the commodity is interstate or intrastate or indicated by the final destination of the shipment.

What Are the Maximum Hours of Driving Time Allowed Per Week?

Recent changes to commercial legislation within the State of Texas, help protect the driver, improve safety and reduce collisions on our highways, and reduce loss or damage to commercial and industrial goods.

Drivers are now limited to working a maximum of 70 hours in any seven-day period.  After working 70-hours, commercial truck drivers are required to take no less than 34 or more hours off-duty.  For intrastate truck drivers, there are three outlined exemptions from this law:

  • A driver who returns to his/her work-reporting location and is released from working within 12 consecutive hours.
  • A driver who has at least 8 consecutive hours off between each twelve-hour period of commercial truck operation.
  • A driver who operates his/her commercial truck within a 150-air-mile radius of their freight reporting location.

Intrastate truck drivers are limited to drive 12-hours, after which they are required by law to take 8 consecutive hours off duty, to rest.   Drivers may not drive after being ‘on duty’ (this can mean in maintenance or administrative activities as well) for 15 hours, without taking 8 consecutive hours off work.

At Canal Cartage, we hire only experienced drivers who have demonstrated two or more years of successful and safe operation.   With more than 160 owner operators, we provide flexible schedules to prevent driver fatigue, while helping to protect public safety, and ensure the safe delivery of our customer cargo.

Canal Cartage is committed to keeping drivers, and our Texas roads, safe.

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