CDLs, or Commercial Driver Licenses, come in three class categories: A, B and C. Getting a Class B license allows a candidate to drive vehicles such as school buses, city buses, furniture delivery trucks or dump trucks with small trailers. In order to legally drive these vehicles, candidates must take a series of tests that show knowledge of the vehicles and the ability to drive them.
What Does a Class B License Cover?
Candidates who successfully pass all tests and receive their Class B license are allowed to drive any vehicle in this category. This includes single vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of at least 26,001 pounds, and/or any of these vehicles towing an additional vehicle weighing up to 10,000 pounds. Drivers may have to apply for and receive additional specific endorsements for some vehicles that fall under this category.
Read More: What is a Class E License?
Can You Drive a Class B With a Class A?
A Class A license allows drivers to operate more elaborate and larger vehicles, including those towing other large vehicles. Drivers who are licensed to operate Class A vehicles may be allowed to operate Class B vehicles, as long as they have the correct vehicle endorsements. If the Class B vehicle will be hauling hazardous materials, the driver still needs an H endorsement on his license. For those wanting to drive a school bus, even those with a Class A endorsement still have to take the test and pass the background check to earn an S endorsement on their license.
What Is a Class A and B Truck?
Both Class A and Class B trucks are vehicles that weigh over 26,001 pounds, excluding any trailers they tow. If the weight of the trailer being towed is over 10,000 pounds, the vehicle is classified as a Class A. If the weight of the trailer being towed is under 10,000 pounds, or if it won't be towing a trailer, the vehicle is classified as a Class B.
By these rules, most of the vehicles classified as Class B are box trucks, city buses, school buses and dump trucks with a very small trailer. Class A vehicles are those most people think of as Big Rigs, the classic 18-wheelers you see on the freeway every day, along with large tanker trucks, flatbed trucks and livestock carriers.
In order to get a Class B commercial driver's license, or CDL, candidates need to pass a general knowledge exam, an air brakes test and a pre-trip inspection.
Victoria Bailey has a degree in Public Law and Government. She has spoken before state Supreme Court justices and her photograph is on the back cover of Bill Clinton's autobiography. As a former member of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, Bailey worked closely with lawmakers to help set public policy. Bailey's work appears on numerous websites, and she's currently writing the text for a governmental information app.