Stephen Schultz | April 24, 2023 | Truck Accidents
Commercial driver’s licenses are issued by each state, which means that a CDL in Missouri comes with certain state-mandated requirements and restrictions. While CDL classes are the same across the country, it’s essential to know Missouri state laws when it comes to earning a CDL.
Operating a commercial vehicle without a CDL — or operating a type of vehicle you aren’t licensed to drive — can have costly consequences in the event of an accident.
There are three main types of commercial driver’s licenses: Class A, Class B, and Class C. These three CDL types are offered across the country, but Missouri has unique requirements, testing processes, and endorsements for a driver hoping to earn their CDL.
Understanding the Different Types of Commercial Driver’s Licenses in Missouri
Whether you’re planning to test for a CDL license or you already hold one, every commercial driver should be aware of the basic differences in commercial licenses. It’s also a good idea to know when a standard Missouri driver’s license is enough and when your vehicle’s weight or purpose requires you to hold a CDL.
Any time the combined load of a vehicle and its trailer weighs over 26,000 pounds, a Missouri driver is required to hold a CDL. A CDL is also required any time a trailer or towed vehicle weighs up to 10,000 pounds.
Class A CDL
A Class A CDL is issued for operating a combined commercial motor vehicle, which means that the vehicle tows another unit.
A Class A CDL is necessary when operating Missouri commercial vehicles such as:
- Livestock trailers
- Trucks towing trailers
Class A is the highest class of CDL. Holding a CDL with certain endorsements allows a Missouri driver to also operate commercial vehicles that require a Class B or Class C CDL.
Class B CDL
A Class B CDL is required for operating single commercial motor vehicles. These vehicles do not tow a secondary unit. Large passenger vehicles often require the driver to hold this type of commercial license.
In Missouri, a Class B CDL is necessary to operate vehicles like:
- Box trucks
- City buses
- Tour buses
- Straight trucks
- Passenger buses
A Missouri driver with a Class B CDL can earn endorsements that allow them to operate vehicles that require a Class C CDL.
Class C CDL
A Class C CDL is the lowest level of commercial driver’s license.
Vehicles in Missouri that require a Class C CDL to drive include:
- Any vehicle that can transport 16 or more passengers
- Any vehicle that transports hazardous waste
Even with endorsements, a Class C CDL holder cannot legally operate vehicles that require a Class A or Class B commercial license.
Missouri Law and CDL Endorsements
While the three classes of commercial licenses are available in every state, each state has its own endorsements.
Commercial endorsements available in Missouri include:
- S (School bus) – for operating a school bus
- N (Tank) – for vehicles designed to carry liquid in a tank
- T (Double or triple trailer) – for vehicles towing multiple units
- P (Passenger) – for vehicles that hold 16 or more passengers
- H (HAZMAT) – for carrying large quantities of hazardous material
- X (H and N endorsements combined) – for tanks holding HAZMAT materials
Endorsements are added to a license after a driver has undergone additional training and testing.
Both Missouri drivers and out-of-state drivers alike should be familiar with Missouri state laws surrounding commercial driver’s licenses as well as specific endorsement requirements.
Remaining in Compliance with Missouri’s Commercial Driver Requirements Can Prevent Truck Accidents
Should a truck accident ever occur, a truck driver operating without the correct license or endorsement for the vehicle involved can be left facing traffic violations and criminal charges. They can also be found financially liable for the damage that results from an accident.
The best way to protect yourself when operating a commercial vehicle is to know Missouri state laws and ensure that you’re operating within them.
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